|Frequently Asked Questions|
1. Copyright Basics
What are the laws and rules relating to copyright at Lethbridge College?
Use of copyright materials at Lethbridge College is covered by both the Canadian Copyright Act, the College's Intellectual Property Policies (6.16 - Intellectual Property and Copyright Ownership -Administrative & 6.17 - Copyright Compliance -Administrative), and various agreements and licences entered into by the College with copyright owners and representative organizations. The Copyright Act is the legislation in Canada that sets out what you can and can't do with other people's copyright materials. Copyright represents the protection of the physical presentation of materials.
In order to determine whether what you want to do is permissible, you therefore need to check that you comply both with the Copyright Act and with any agreements or licences covering that the work in question. You should ask yourself:
What does copyright cover?
Copyright protection applies to all original, dramatic, musical, literary, artistic works, including sound recordings, performances and communication signals, databases, websites and of course the content of those websites.
How do I know if something is protected by copyright?
In Canada, copyright protection arises automatically when any one of the above types of works is created and generally continues for 50 calendar years after the author's death, though this can depend on the type of work and where you want to use it. When you want to use a particular work in Canada, the safest approach is to assume that the work is protected by copyright, unless there's a clear indication to the contrary.
What rights does a copyright owner have?
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 which balance the copyright owner's interests with the public interest in allowing use of works for purposes such as education and research.
What is fair dealing and how does it relate to copyright?
Fair dealing is an exception in the Copyright Act which allows you to use other people's copyright material for the purpose of research, private study, criticism or review, provided that what you do with the work is 'fair'. Whether something is 'fair' will depend on the circumstances. Courts will normally consider factors such as:
It is not necessary that your use meet every one of these factors in order to be fair and no one factor is determinative by itself. In assessing whether your use is fair, a court would look at the factors as a whole to determine if, on balance, your use is fair. For more guidance on how to apply the fair dealing factors to your particular circumstances, please contact the IP Office.
How is copyright different in Canada from the U.S.?
In general, the copyright laws in the Canada and the U.S. are different in some very significant ways. For example, the U.S. has a provision known as 'fair use' which is different from the Canadian equivalent ('fair dealing'). For example, the U.S. provision specifically refers to teaching, and making multiple copies for classroom use, whereas the Canadian provision refers to research, private study, criticism and review. Again, you are required to follow Canadian law
How long does copyright last?
How long copyright lasts depends on which country you are in. In Canada, copyright generally lasts for the life of the author, plus 50 years. By contrast, in the U.S. and Europe, copyright generally lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years, though it can differ depending on factors such as the type of work, the manner of publication and the date of creation. Generally, use of a work in Canada is governed by the Canadian rules for the duration of copyright protection.
What is meant by the term 'public domain'? How do I know if something is public domain?
For example, although the copyright in Shakespeare's plays expired long ago, many of the published editions of his plays contain added original materials (such as footnotes, prefaces etc.) which are copyright protected because the authors have used skill and judgment in creating the new material. This creates a new copyright in the added original material, but not in the underlying text of the original work in which the copyright had expired.
All materials in the Public Domain may be freely reproduced, distributed or modified for virtually any purpose without the usual legal requirement of obtaining the copyright owner's permission, or without providing any compensation to a copyright owner.
How do I get permission to use someone else's work?
If your use isn't permitted by a licence or one of the exceptions within the Copyright Act, then you will need to have the Intellectual Property Office request permission on your behalf. The permission must come from the copyright owner so 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 who can provide the permission (in the form of a licence) on behalf of the copyright owner to use their work. So, for example, if you want to use music and your use doesn't fall within any of the Copyright Act's exceptions, then the IP Office would contact a collective such as such as SOCAN, CMRRA or NRCC that administer copyright in music.
What are moral rights and what do they have to do with copyright?
Moral rights are broken down into two separate rights, the right of "association" and the right of "integrity."
The right of association is the right of the creator to the associated (or not) with their work.
The right of integrity is the right to have their work retain its original intent and expression, and not to be used in a way that is detrimental to the professional reputation of the creator. Harris (2001, p. 119) states that "…the author's right to the integrity of their work is violated if the work is, to the prejudice of the honour or reputation of the author, distorted, mutilated, or otherwise modified."
Moral rights are always retained by the creator of a work. They can be waived (in writing), but cannot be assigned to someone else.
What are the rules for photocopying on campus? Are there different rules for scanning?
Photocopying and scanning is sometimes permitted under fair dealing or another exception in the Copyright Act, but it is essential that you contact the Intellectual Property Office to help you determine this as the answers will depend on the specific situation.
Who owns the copyright in the works I create at Lethbridge College?
Ownership of works you create are governed by the College's Intellectual Property and Copyright Ownership Policy (6.16 - Intellectual Property and Copyright Ownership -Administrative). Please contact the IP Office for further information.
What does an "original" mean?
Please see "What Does Copyright Cover".
How long does it take to get copyright permission?
It can vary widely from as little as 1 day or less to more than a year. It is wise to allow at least 4 – 6 weeks for obtaining copyright permission. Much depends on the type of work for which permission is being sought, who the copyright owner is, and the type of use being made of that material.
Previously we have been able to copy a certain percentage of a book under the ACCESS Copyright licence. Can I still copy this material?
With permission from the copyright owner, yes this can still be done. The Intellectual Property Office will apply for the permission to do this with the copyright owner. Please follow the permission process.
Can we reproduce materials, such as building or electrical codes?
The copyright to these types of materials are owned by organizations such as the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) even though the codes themselves originate in government legislation and/or regulations. To reproduce these types of material, permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. Please contact the Intellectual Property Office to initiate the permission request process.
2. Copyright in the Campus Classroom
PLEASE NOTE: This section only applies to uses of works in your physical classrooms – it does not apply to the online classroom or any internet use. Please refer to 'Copyright in the Digital Classroom' if you have questions about this area.
Will these changes impact the use of textbook resources in my class?
No, there will be no impact as a result of the discontinuation of the ACCESS Copyright licence. As long as the textbook is adopted, then usually the resources that accompany an adopted text can be used in a variety of ways (e.g. used in paper formats, upload to the LMS).
Will these changes impact the use of textbooks I have NOT adopted in my class?
Yes, the use of these materials will be impacted if that material was cleared for use under the ACCESS Copyright licence a new permission agreement with the copyright owner will need to be obtained. Please contact the Intellectual Property Office to initiate the permission request process.
Can I include other people's images and materials in my PowerPoint presentations? What if I want to provide copies of the presentation to my students? Or post something on my website or online classroom?
Generally, you may include other people's works in your classroom presentations without having to get permission or pay a fee provided there's no commercial version available. Under the educational exception in the Copyright Act, you may make copies of works to display in class on College premises for educational purposes provided there is no commercially available version of the work in a medium that is appropriate for the purpose.
Can I play music in class?
Yes! The Copyright Act allows you to play a sound recording or live radio broadcasts in class as long as it is for educational purposes, not for profit, on College premises, before an audience consisting primarily of students.
Can I show videos in class?
It depends. You can play videos in class in the following circumstances:
Can students include copyright materials in their assignments and presentations?
Generally yes. The fair dealing exception allows students to use works for research, private study, criticism or review. 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, bearing in mind the fair dealing factors outlined above, it will likely be covered by the fair dealing exception.
I want to display someone else's work in my classroom during one of my lectures. Isn't there some sort of exception for that?
There are some exceptions in the Copyright Act for educational institutions which allow copying and display of materials for educational purposes, but at present they are very limited. They cover displaying material in class on campus, reproducing material for exams, playing music and news or current events programs, and doing live performances of works. The fair dealing exception might also cover some such uses.
Are there any databases of copyright materials that I can use for free without worrying about copyright?
While not a database, there is a wealth of material out there which is either in the public domain or available under what is known as Creative Commons licensing, 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.
3. Copyright in the Digital Classroom
Is there any difference between posting something on my own website versus posting something on Angel? What about if I want to email something to my students?
Yes there is a significant difference. Posting something on your own website means your use of that material would not be covered by any of the College licences. By contrast, Angel is a password protected, secure website accessible only by students. In some cases, making material available on Angel will be covered by a licence obtain by the Intellectual Property Officer or by using a persistent link to materials in one of the library's electronic databases. There are also other options such as Public Domain materials, or some Creative Commons materials that can provide for this type of use as well.
May I upload a PDF of a journal article I obtained through the Buchanan Library's e-journals to Angel for my students to read?
The licences for many of the e-journals provided by the Library may allow instructors to upload articles into secure course management systems such as Angel. A persistent link is the best way to ensure access to the most recent version of an article. Linking to the article also allows the Library to track use and obtain data about the importance of a particular journal to the campus.
Can I include RSS feeds in my Angel course section?
Yes - the Library and EET are happy to work with you to put feeds to the most currently published material into your courses.
Can I deep (Direct) Link to Website Content?
Note though, that providing a ‘Persistent” link to content within one of the Buchanan Library’s periodical databases does not require you to go through the above steps. Those database subscriptions come with the necessary permission already in place for you to use a persistent link.
Can I link directly to a YouTube video?
You can now embed a YouTube video in your course content, provided you use YouTube's own ‘Embed’ option or ANGEL's equivalent YouTube 'Embed' option and follow the copyright guidelines below.
"YouTube hereby grants you permission to access and use the Service as set forth in these Terms of Service, provided that:
Discretion should be used making use of the embed feature, as you still need to be fairly confident that the video you wish to imbed has been uploaded to YouTube with the permission of the appropriate rightsholder. For example, the National Film Board (NFB) of Canada has their own channel on YouTube. If the NFB has provided YouTube's embeddable player link on a video that appears on their channel, then you can be assured that the video has been uploaded by the NFB itself, and you can go ahead and embed that video in your course content. If however, you find a NFB video on someone's else's YouTube channel, then you need to question whether or not that individual had the permission or right to upload that NFB video. While the individual may, or may not, have the NFB's permission, it can be extremely difficult to determine that in a short timeframe, so you would be advised to not use the embed link on that channel for that particular video.
Can I still provide links in Angel to public websites?
I gave a PowerPoint presentation in class which includes figures from a textbook. Can I post it on Angel? I'll be sure to cite where the figures came from.
It depends. In some cases, textbook publishers will allow you to include copies of figures in your PowerPoints and online classrooms, but usually only when the textbook is a required text for the course.
May I scan a print journal article or a book chapter into a PDF and post it on ANGEL?
Scanning material and posting it online is not permitted without having the permission of the copyright owner. The fact that ANGEL is password protected does not mean you may post anything you want on it. Even password protected websites may be considered public communication because the communication is not 'private', it's just to a specific segment of the public.
Is it okay to use images or other material from the internet for educational purposes?
Do I need to ask permission to link to a website?
May I post examples of my students' work on my Angel course or on my personal website?
Only if you have the student's permission. See Lethbridge College Intellectual Property policies (6.16 - Intellectual Property and Copyright Ownership -Administrative & 6.17 - Copyright Compliance -Administrative).
Can we put screenshots of software into a presentation?
As a general rule yes.
4. Copyright in the Buchanan Library (Reserves, Interlibrary Loan and Photocopying)
Can eReserves link to full-text resources that the Library has already paid for, such as e-journals and e-books?
Generally yes, though there are a few small exceptions. Contact the Library Reference Desk for more information.
Can I just link to the electronic journal article myself on Angel and skip using eReserves?
Yes, you are free to create a direct link yourself, although you might want to consider reasons to have the Library do it for you. As well as saving you time, there are two advantages to having the Library create the link. The first is that Library staff will ensure that authentication is taken care of. The second advantage is that Library staff will prepare a "persistent" URL that will ensure your students get to the right articles quickly and without frustration.
GREY AREAS: Some license agreements make express allowances for electronic reserves, course packs, multiple copies for classroom use and interlibrary lending. Other licenses may prohibit one or more of these activities. Please contact the Library's Reference Desk for further information and assistance.
Can I get the library to send me electronic copies of articles using the interlibrary loan service?
The Library has articles electronically transmitted to it from other libraries, and the current practice is that the Library then makes the articles available to the requestor in print.
Are there special rules for scanning?
If you want to scan something, you may only do so if the use falls within one of the exceptions in the Copyright Act such as Fair Dealing, or the permission of the copyright owner is obtained. Please contact the Intellectual Property Office for further information and assistance.
5. Copyright and Course Packs
Can I still provide course packs to the bookstore to sell to the students?
Yes. You can still provide course packs, but any third party materials will have to be cleared under alternate permissions as a result of the discontinuation of the ACCESS Copyright licence.
Do I need to obtain permission for third party materials that are included in the printing jobs that I do through Grenville (formerly Inplex)?
Aside from the standard legal obligation to abide by copyright law, Grenville staff is further obligated to adhere to their own company policies, which in this case sets out very specific criteria for Grenville staff. Any job submitted to Grenville is reviewed by their staff for third party materials. If your print order contains third party materials, you will need to provide proof to Grenville that the appropriate permission has been obtained. Please ensure that you contact the Intellectual Property Office to ensure you have the necessary permission in place.
If I have permission to put something on Angel, does this mean I can also include it in my course packs?
Not necessarily as much depends on the terms and conditions of the specific permission received from the copyright owner. Please contact the Intellectual Property Office to review the terms and conditions of the permission specific to the materials you are interested in using.
6. Copyright Contacts and Resources
Who do I talk to at Lethbridge College if I have a copyright question?
For most copyright questions, contact the Intellectual Property Office. If your question is related to the Library's databases, please contact Fiona Dyer in the Buchanan Library.
Is there somewhere we can find out which licenses we have?
This information will be included on the website at a later date. Please check back regularly.
To see if the library licenses a particular newspaper/periodical title
Enter the title here to see if there is a digital copy.
Check the library catalogue for a print copy:
Is there anyone available to help me obtain copyright permission?
Yes there definitely is. The Intellectual Property Office is responsible for obtaining all copyright permissions for third party materials used at the College. Please contact the Office at:
How can I get more information about copyright?
You can always contact the Intellectual Property Office and there are many websites with abundant information about copyright. Some useful resources include:
Canadian Association of Research Libraries – Copyright Project -