This FAQ serves as a centralized source of copyright information for the Brock University community and will be updated on an ongoing basis. It is intended for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
1. COPYRIGHT OVERVIEW
What are the copyright laws and rules that apply at Brock?
What does copyright cover?
How long does copyright last?
How does copyright work internationally?
How is copyright different in the United States?
What are the copyright owner's rights?
How do I get permission to copy someone else's work?
What is "fair dealing"?
What is the “public domain”?
What about scholarly work and copyright?
Who owns the copyright in the works I create at Brock?
2. COPYRIGHT AND COPYING ON CAMPUS
What can be copied?
How much copyrighted material can be copied?
What can I copy under the Access Copyright licence?
3. COPYRIGHT IN THE CLASSROOM
May I use images and materials in PowerPoint presentations?
May I distribute photocopied journal articles in class?
May I play copyrighted music in class?
May I show a film in class?
May I show a television program in class?
Is it permissible for students to use copyrighted materials in assignments and presentations?
Are there copyright-free educational materials I may use?
4. COPYRIGHT IN ISAAK/SAKAI/WEBSITES
What copyrighted material may I post to Isaak/Sakai?
May I copy a journal article and upload it to Isaak/Sakai?
May I post PowerPoint presentations on Isaak/Sakai?
Is it possible to email material to students?
May I use internet material for educational purposes?
Do I need to obtain permission to link to a website?
May I post a student’s work on Isaak/Sakai or a personal website?
5. COPYRIGHT IN THE LIBRARY (RESERVES AND INTERLIBRARY LOAN)
Is it possible to link full-text resources that the Library has paid for, such as e-journals and e-books?
What is a persistent link?
How long does it take to process online reserve materials?
What kind of print materials will the Library accept for reserve?
May I copy out-of-print materials for reserve?
May I place sound recordings on reserve?
Where can I learn more about reserves?
May I ask the Library to send me electronic copies of articles using the interlibrary loan service?
6. COPYRIGHT AND COURSE PACKS
How do I obtain permission to included copyrighted material in coursepacks?
What are the course pack fees for copyrighted material?
7. COPYRIGHT CONTACTS AND RESOURCES
Who do I talk to at Brock if I have a copyright question?
How can I get more information about copyright?
1. COPYRIGHT OVERVIEW
What are the copyright laws and rules that apply at Brock?
Use of copyrighted materials at Brock is covered by both the Canadian Copyright Act and various agreements and licences the University has with copyright owners and representative organizations, such as its subscriptions to electronic journals. In addition, Brock has adopted a Fair Dealing Policy which covers copying by Brock instructors and staff under the fair dealing exception, and in June 2012, Brock signed a licence with Access Copyright which will be in effect until December 31, 2015.
What does copyright cover?
Copyright protects literary, artistic, dramatic and musical works, as well as sound recordings, performances and communication signals. Copyright encompasses a wide range of things, including books, articles, posters, manuals and graphs, CDs, DVDs, software, databases and websites. Copyright exists as soon as a work is created. The work may still be copyright-protected even in the absence of the copyright symbol ©.
Generally, copyright lasts for the life of the author, plus 50 years. After that, works are considered to be in the public domain. However, there are certain situations where works for which the original copyright has expired still have some copyright protection. For example, new original content that has been incorporated in arrangements, adaptations or editions will attract copyright protection. Also, some works have different copyright terms. For example, government works are generally protected for 50 years from the date of first publication.
Copyright is recognized internationally as a result of international conventions. In general, your copyright will be protected in other countries. But it is protected under that country’s laws which may differ from the copyright protection in Canada.
U.S. and Canadian copyright laws differ in a number of ways. For example, the U.S. has a longer copyright term (in general, life of the author + 70 years) and a provision known as "fair use" which is different from Canadian "fair dealing." If you are from the U.S. or are collaborating with an American researcher, you should keep in mind that the rules that apply to the copyrighted material you intend to use or create may differ depending on where you want to use them.
Copyright gives the copyright owner a number of legal rights, such as the right to copy and translate a work. These rights are qualified by certain exceptions in the Copyright Act
such as fair dealing, which balance the copyright owner’s interests with the public interest in allowing use of works for purposes such as education and research.
- Step 1: Identify the copyright owner: The first step is to identify who the copyright owner is and whether there is an organization that represents the owner. There are a number of copyright collectives that can give you permission (in the form of a licence) on behalf of the copyright owner, but if the copyright owner is easily identifiable and locatable, it may be easier to contact them directly. Sometimes, the owner of the work will not require payment for academic use. Usually you’ll be able to identify the owner somewhere on the work by looking for the copyright symbol ©, which should have the copyright owner’s name next to it. The WATCH File operated by the University of Texas at Austin is also a good source for locating copyright rights holders.
- Step 2: Request permission: Once you’ve located the owner, email or write, explaining how and why you wish to reproduce the work and requesting permission. See for example, this sample permission letter for use of material in a Brock course, these sample permission emails from Tufts University (for use in a course) or from Concordia University (for use in a thesis).
- Step 3: Keep records: The permission should be in writing. An email will suffice. It is not advisable to rely on verbal permission. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of who gave the permission and their contact information, what was permitted, and the date.
is an exception in the Copyright Act
that allows for the use of copyrighted material for the purpose of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, parody or satire, without permission from the copyright owner, provided that the use of the work is ‘fair’. Whether something is 'fair' will depend on the circumstances, including the amount used, the character and purpose of the use, the nature of the work, the effect of the use on the work and whether there were any appropriate alternatives.
Brock has adopted a Fair Dealing Policy
, prepared by legal counsel for the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), which covers what types of copying may reasonably be expected to fall under the fair dealing exception. Under this Policy, Brock instructors and staff may copy and share with students short excerpts of copyright materials, either in print handouts, on Isaak/Sakai, or in a coursepack. The policy defines short excerpts to include:
- One chapter from a book
- One article from a periodical
- Up to 10% of a copyright-protected work (including a literary work, musical score, sound recording, or audiovisual work)
- An entire artistic work (including a painting, print, photograph, diagram, drawing, map, chart, and plan) from a copyright-protected work containing other artistic works
- An entire newspaper article or page
- An entire single poem or musical score from a copyright-protected work containing other poems or musical scores
- An entire entry from an encyclopedia, annotated bibliography, dictionary, or similar reference work.
Copying beyond these limits may be referred to copyright @brocku.ca
for an evaluation as to whether the proposed copying could nonetheless be considered fair dealing, in light of the relevant circumstances and case law in this area.
Public domain refers to works in which copyright has expired or where the copyright owner has made a clear declaration that they will not assert copyright in the work.
Copyright for scholarly work, such as academic papers, is initially held by the author. However, authors are commonly asked to agree to a copyright transfer to the publisher when their work is accepted for publication. Each copyright transfer varies in the degree of rights given to the publisher, and what rights are retained by the author, and those rights may be negotiated.
Ownership can be affected by agreements with industry sponsors or joint authors, who may have an interest in the works which they have helped to create or fund. Ultimately, ownership will depend on the facts of your situation. You should contact the Office of Research Services
if you are unsure about the ownership of your work.
In general, you can make a copy of a work if:
- The work is public domain: in general, in Canada, if the author of the work has been deceased for more than 50 years, copyright will have expired and the work is free to use.
- The work’s licence permits copying: you may copy works which are covered by a licence that permits copying, such as the University’s e-journal or e-book licences, or a Creative Commons licence. Open Access works would fall into this category. Just make sure you stay within any limits imposed by the licence.
- The copying is fair dealing: you may use a work for the purposes of research, private study, criticism or review, education, parody or satire, provided that your use is "fair." Under Brock's Fair Dealing Policy, you may copy and share on Isaak/Sakai, as a print-handout or in a coursepack, short excerpts of copyrighted materials, such as one chapter per book, one article per journal issue, one artistic work from a work containing other artistic works, or up to 10% of a work. Further information about the Policy.
- The work belongs to the government of Canada or Ontario: you may copy material of the Canadian and Ontario governments for non-commercial purposes, unless there is a specific indication to the contrary attached to the work. You must credit the author organization and the title, and acknowledge the government's copyright.
- The copy is for display in the classroom: you may make a copy of a work to display it to students during a class on campus.
- The copy is for use in a test/examination: you may copy a work to use in a test or examination.
- The work is on the publicly available Internet, with no digital lock or clearly visible notice prohibiting your use: you may copy works available on the public web and share with your students (either in class or on Isaak/Sakai), provided:
- You properly attribute the source and author of the work;
- The work is not protected by a digital lock (e.g. password protection);
- There is no clearly visible notice, either on the website or the work itself, prohibiting what you want to do;
- The work appears to have been posted legitimately (i.e. by or with the consent of the copyright owner).
- The copying is covered by the Access Copyright licence: you may copy a work if it is within Access Copyright’s repertoire and the copying is within the limits of the licence. For more details, see ‘What can I copy under the Access Copyright Licence?’
For assistance in determining whether a particular work can be copied for a particular purpose, please follow up with the appropriate contact
How much material you can copy depends on what you are copying. For example, if the work is in the public domain, Open Access, covered by a University subscription, or a Government work, you may copy the entire work. You may also copy an entire work from the public web, subject to certain limitations
. However, if you are relying on the fair dealing exception or the Access Copyright licence
, please bear in mind the following limits:
Under the Access Copyright licence
, you can copy, both in print and digitally, published works like books, journal papers and newspaper articles, provided the work is within Access’ repertoire and the copying complies with the conditions of the licence. Here’s a step-by-step guide to determine if what you want to do is covered by the licence:
1. Check to see if the work is in Access’ repertoire
– to figure out whether a work is within Access' repertoire, use Access' look-up tool
. You'll need the publisher name and the ISBN/ISSN. If you get a green tick, you can copy the material. Your liaison librarian can help you with this if you have any difficulty.
2. Check that the amount you want to copy is within the licence limits: the licence limits are:
a. An entire newspaper or journal article;
b. An entire page of a newspaper or periodical;
c. A single short story, play, poem, essay or article from a Published Work that contains other works;
d. An entire entry from an encyclopaedia, annotated bibliography, dictionary or similar reference work;
e. An entire reproduction of an artistic work (including any drawing, painting, print, photograph or other reproduction of a work of sculpture, architectural work or work of artistic craftsmanship) from a Published Work that contains other works;
f. One chapter, provided it is no more than 20% of a book;
g. Up to 20% of a work if the copy is being emailed to a student, posted on Isaak/Sakai or included in a print coursepack
h. Up to 10% of a work for all other copies.
3. Attach the following notice to the copy, where reasonable
(e.g. it would not be considered reasonable to attach the notice to PDF copies of works): This work has been copied under a Brock University Library licence, an exception in the Copyright Act
or under licence from the copyright owner. If such exceptions or rights do not apply, the work shall be deemed to have been copied under the Access Copyright licence
. If so, the following applies: "Copied under Permission from Access Copyright. Further reproduction, distribution or transmission is prohibited, except as otherwise permitted by law.”
4. Make sure the way you use the copy is covered by the licence: The licence includes a number of other limits, including:
a. Only distribute works copied under the licence to Brock faculty, students and staff and students or staff of other institutions which have signed a licence with Access Copyright
b. Do not engage in any cumulative copying of the same work beyond the limits set out above for any one course of study (i.e. you cannot copy 10% from a work one week and then 20% the next week as a way to get around the copying limits);
c. Copies can only be made from materials that have been lawfully obtained (i.e. no pirated copies!); and
d. Digital copies can only be saved to Brock’s secure network (e.g. Isaak/Sakai, and not on any public website).
You may include copyrighted material in your classroom presentations without having to get permission. Under the educational exception in the Copyright Act
, you may make copies of works to display on the University's premises for educational purposes, provided there is no commercially available version of the work in a medium that is appropriate for the purpose. If you want to project copyrighted works in a PowerPoint presentation outside of the University or post the presentation online, this likely falls under the fair dealing exception (provided your use can be characterized as ‘fair’).
It depends, but often yes.
Whether you can distribute journal articles in class depends on the journal:
- If the journal is from the Library’s e-journal collection, you should check the journal’s term of use. You can do this by using Brock's licence database. Follow these instructions on how to use the licence database. If it expressly allows handouts or if it allows fair dealing or fair use type uses, you may be able to share photocopies with students. You can contact email@example.com if you have any questions about what is permitted.
- If the journal is not under a Brock library licence or you are copying from a print journal from the Library, you could copy and distribute the article either under fair dealing or under the Access Copyright licence, provided your use falls within the Fair Dealing Policy (i.e. you are copying no more than one article per journal issue or multiple articles which total no more than 10% of the issue) or Access Copyright licence limits.
The Copyright Act
allows you to play a recording or live radio broadcast in class as long as it is for educational purposes, not-for-profit, before an audience consisting primarily of students.
The Copyright Act
now includes the right for educational institutions to play films in class, on Brock premises, provided it is for educational purposes, not-for-profit, before an audience consisting primarily of students or instructors, and provided the work is not an infringing copy or the person responsible for the performance has no reasonable grounds to believe it is an infringing copy.
- copy a television news program at the time of its broadcast and then play that copy in class under the Copyright Act [previously, you could only play it within a year of the broadcast]. However, documentaries and films are not covered by this exception.
- play a DVD of a television program, provided the DVD is not an infringing copy or you have no reasonable grounds for believing it is an infringing copy;
- record and play excerpts from the program under the fair dealing exception. Please note that Brock’s Fair Dealing Policy limits fair dealing to 10% of audio-visual works, unless a person designated by the University has approved more extensive use. For further information, see here.
Under a new exception to the Copyright Act
, you have the right to play in class materials that you find on the Internet, subject to certain exceptions and limitations. So, if you find a television program online, you may play the program in class, provided the program appears to have been posted legitimately (i.e. with the consent of the copyright owner), there is no clearly visible notice on the program or the website prohibiting you from playing the program in class, there is no technological protection measure preventing you from accessing or copying the material (e.g. it's not on a password-protected website), and when you play it in class, you acknowledge the TV production company and the website.
Under the fair dealing exception, students may use works for the purpose of research, private study, criticism, review, or education. So, provided the student is including the work for one of these purposes, and acknowledges the author and source of the material, and the use could be characterized as fair, it will likely be covered by the fair dealing exception.
There is a wealth of material which is either in the public domain or available under Creative Commons licencing
, which generally means the work is available for free, subject to certain limited conditions, such as non-commercial use only and acknowledgment of the author. All Creative Commons licenced works can be used in teaching.
For public domain material, you can also search online by typing the phrase "public domain" and the kind of material you’re interested in. Or you can use Google’s “Advanced Image Search” – simply use the 'usage rights' filter and select ‘images labeled for reuse’. For more information about these types of materials, review this presentation by Brock's Copyright Coordinator
You can post on an Isaak/Sakai site:
- Your own copyright materials (e.g. notes, course outlines, publications for which you have retained the right to post copies online, including your presentation slides);
- Materials covered by Brock’s Fair Dealing Policy (e.g. one article per journal issue, one chapter per book, up to 10% of a work – see here for more details);
- Public domain materials (i.e. materials whose author(s) have been deceased for more than 50 years);
- Licenced materials (e.g. materials that are covered by a University e-journal or e-book license which allows posting, or materials covered by a Creative Commons, or Open Access licence – bear in mind that some Library journals will allow you to post their articles directly to Isaak/Sakai, while others will require that you link to the article);
- Government of Canada or Ontario materials (provided the material doesn’t specify otherwise and you do not revise the materials in any way);
- Links (there are no copyright concerns in linking to material, such as websites and library resources, so link away!);
- Scanned material (either under the fair dealing exception or under the Access Copyright licence - for more details, see, 'What can I copy under the Access Copyright Licence?');
- Insubstantial portions of a work (copyright infringement concerns are only triggered if you copy an entire work or a substantial portion of a work – you should consider both the quantity and quality of the excerpt in deciding whether it is substantial);
- Website materials (There is an exception to the Copyright Act allowing educational use of Internet materials, including reproducing those materials for your students, provided that the material appears to have been posted legitimately (i.e. with the consent of the copyright owner), there is no clearly visible notice or link to such a notice prohibiting you from using the material for educational purposes, there is no technological protection measure preventing you from accessing or copying the material (e.g. it’s not on a password protected website) and when you use it, you acknowledge the author and the website.
Some journals licenced by Brock will allow you to post a copy on Isaak/Sakai, however, providing a persistent link to journal articles is the best practice. For more information on how to prepare a persistent link, visit http://brocku.ca/node/11627
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
for assistance. To see what a journal licence allows, go the Library's A-Z list of e-journals
, find the journal you are interested in reproducing, click on the little ‘S’ looking icon on the far right and see whether it says 'yes' to posting on a course management system (CMS) or 'yes' to linking. If it says 'yes' to CMS, you can post the PDF directly to your Isaak/Sakai site.
If the journal is not licenced by Brock or you are working from a print journal, you may be able to scan and upload it to Isaak/Sakai under Brock’s Fair Dealing Policy
. This Policy allows you to copy and post one article per journal issue or multiple articles, provided they total no more than 10% of the journal issue. For further information, see here
. You are also able to post up to 20% of a journal issue under the Access Copyright licence
, provided the journal is not excluded from Access’ repertoire. For more details, see ‘What can I copy under the Access Copyright licence?’
If you are the author of the article and retained ownership of the copyright, or the right to post copies online, then you are welcome to do so.
If you created your slides and included short excerpts of copyright materials from other sources, posting these slides on Isaak/Sakai is likely covered by the fair dealing exception, and the ‘educational use of Internet materials’ exception may also cover your use of copyright from other sources in this way.
It depends, but often yes!
Emailing copyrighted materials to your students may be covered by fair dealing or a University licence. Emailing materials to students is also covered by the Access Copyright licence
, provided the material is within Access’ repertoire and complies with the limits and conditions of that licence.
There is a new exception to the Copyright Act
allowing educational use of internet materials, including reproducing those materials for your students, provided that the material appears to have been posted legitimately (i.e. with the consent of the copyright owner), there is no clearly visible notice or link to such a notice prohibiting you from using the material for educational purposes, there is no technological protection measure preventing you from accessing or copying the material (e.g. it’s not on a password protected website) and when you use it, you acknowledge the author and the website.
You may also copy and share internet materials with students under the fair dealing exception. Brock’s Fair Dealing Policy
limits fair dealing uses to “short excerpts” and provides guidance as to what may reasonably be considered a short excerpt. For further information, visit here
Canadian courts have held that linking to websites is not a reproduction of copyright materials. Links just direct users to material that is being reproduced and communicated on another website. Therefore, there are no copyright concerns with linking to websites. As a matter of best practice, it is generally not advisable to link to material that appears to be infringing (e.g. material which has been posted online without the consent of the copyright owner).
If you have the student’s permission.
You may only post students works online if you have obtained the student’s permission Under Brock’s Ownership of Student-Created Intellectual Property Policy
, students own the copyright in works they create as part of course requirements. The University does have the right to make copies of the work for internal use and to circulate the work as part of the Library’s collection but this right does not extend to making it available online on Isaak/Sakai or an instructor’s website. Accordingly, you should ask students in advance whether they consent to have their work posted online and keep written records of the permissions given.
Yes. Linking to full-text resources is the best practice.
Because a publisher's link to a resource can change from day-to-day, a persistent link will ensure that students get to the right electronic source quickly, from both on and off campus.
Many publishers create a persistent link to content. For those that don't, you are free to create a direct link yourself, although there are good reasons to have the Library do it for you. It will save you time. Library staff will send you the persistent link, which you may incorporate into Isaak/Sakai. They will also ensure that authentication is taken care of so that your students can access the resources through the reserve readings list for the class in the Library's catalogue.
This process generally takes about two weeks at the beginning of terms.
Print reserves may include multiple copies of articles provided that:
- The articles are covered by Brock’s Fair Dealing Policy – i.e. one article per journal issue or multiple articles which total no more than 10% of the journal issue.
- the publication is covered by the Access Copyright licence.
Excerpts or book chapters
Reserves may also include multiple copies of excerpts provided that:
- the excerpts / book chapters are covered by Brock’s Fair Dealing Policy – i.e. one chapter per book (regardless of length) or multiple chapters or excerpts which total no more than 10% of the book.
- the publication is covered by the Access Copyright licence - i.e the excerpt does not exceed 10% of the book, multiple excerpts, when combined, do not exceed 10%. In the case of an entire chapter, it does not exceed 20% of the entire book. In the case of multiple chapters, they do not exceed 10% of the entire book.
You can always put original materials, such as the book or the original print journal edition on reserve as this does not involve copying and therefore doesn’t raise any copyright concerns.
If the use does not fall under the Access Copyright Licence
, or the Fair Dealing Policy
, you will need to obtain permission. For instruction on how to obtain permission, see here
. Library Reserves staff do not obtain permissions for paper materials. Instructors must be able to show Reserves staff that permission has been obtained in these cases before these materials may be placed on reserve.
Please note that the full citation of the work, i.e. author/s, title, and publication information must be included when submitting material for reserve.
Paper reserves generally take about two weeks to process if submitted at the beginning of a term.
For a small royalty, the Access Copyright licence
allows an entire photocopied book to be placed on reserve provided that Access Copyright has confirmed that the work is out-of-print. Contact Access Copyright or the copyright owner.
If you only want to copy a portion of an out-of-print work, then your use may be covered by the fair dealing exception
. Brock’s Fair Dealing Policy provides that you can copy one chapter of a book or up to 10% of a book, although there is the ability to request an override to copy beyond these limits where you believe that the copying is nonetheless fair dealing. For further information about this Policy and the ability to request an override, see here
Yes, as long as the sound recording is in the form in which it was purchased. Copying is allowed only by permission of the copyright owner, or, in some cases, under fair dealing
. Please note the University Library subscribes to databases
to thousands of recordings that can be listened to over the Internet. For example, for classical music, visit Naxos Music Library
or Classical Music Library.
You don't have to!
The Campus Store is responsible for obtaining copyright permissions for course packs. If the work you want to include is covered by the Fair Dealing Policy
or the Access Copyright licence
, it can be included in a coursepack without requiring further permission or payment. In some cases the copying may exceed the Fair Dealing Policy or the material will not be included in Access Copyright’s repertoire, in which case the Campus Store will obtain permission for you.
In addition, some articles from the Library's electronic journal subscriptions may be included in course packs under the terms of Library licenses, though to avoid additional costs to you and your students, these articles can generally be made available through Isaak/Sakai, either as a PDF or a link.
For more information, click here
or contact the campus store.
Under the new Access Copyright licence
, course packs will no longer include a 10¢ per page copyright fee. Course packs will still however have printing and overhead fees to cover their production.
The University has a range of contacts that can help you depending on what your question is.
Chabriol Colebatch, Copyright Co-ordinator / Legal Advisor [on maternity leave Feb. 4, 2013]
Tel: 905-688-5550, x3232
Elaine Jaeger, Reserve Supervisor
Tel. 905-688-5550, x 3963
Films and Music
Anne Adams, Music, Audio-Visual Specialist
Tel: 905-688-5550, x 4152
Course Packs: Campus Store
905-688-5550 ext. 5583
There are many websites with abundant information about copyright. Some useful resources include:
Canadian Intellectual Property Office –
Canadian Association of Research Libraries – Copyright Project -
Canadian Copyright Board’s list of copyright collective societies -
This webpage is adapted from The University of Waterloo's Copyright FAQ with permission.