University of Saskatchewan Guidelines for Using Materials Protected by Copyright

The Copyright Advisory Committee is responsible for the periodic updating of these guidelines to ensure that they continue to reflect current best practices and current federal legislation.  Any questions or concerns about the guidelines can be directed to the Copyright Coordinator (966-8817).

These Copyright Guidelines are available for download in PDF Format

General Information about Copyright 

The University of Saskatchewan and its faculty, staff and students are creators of works protected by copyright, as well as consumers of copyright material. As creators, we rely on the protections offered by the Copyright Act to ensure that our work product is protected from improper use. As consumers, we are legally (and morally) obligated to respect the rights of others, just as we expect others to respect our rights.

Copyright is the sole and exclusive right of a copyright owner to produce, reproduce, perform, publish, adapt, translate and telecommunicate a work, and to control the circumstances in which others may do any of these things. Copyright owners grant permission to others through licences.

Copyright law in Canada protects a wide range of works. If you wish to reproduce a substantial part of a copyrighted work, you may only copy the work if the Copyright Act specifically allows you to do so, or if you have express permission from the copyright owner. The Copyright Act provides these exceptions for users, like universities and persons acting under the authority of a university. These exceptions provide a balance between providing copyright owners with legal rights to control use of their works, and allowing users access in specific circumstances that are in the public interest.

Fair Dealing

Fair dealing is an exception to the Copyright Act, which permits the use of less than substantial passages and quotations from material protected by copyright for the purpose of private study, research, criticism, review, newspaper reporting, education, parody, or satire.

The six criteria below were proposed by the Supreme Court of Canada in a landmark case examining fair dealing, CCH Canadian Limited v. Law Society of Upper Canada, to help determine if a use is fair.

1.   The purpose of the dealing:  Is it for research, private study, criticism, review or news reporting? The court expresses that "these allowable purposes should not be given a restrictive interpretation where this could result in the undue restriction of users' rights."

2.   The character of the dealing: The court touches on two sub-criteria:  the number of copies made and the existing custom and practice.  Was a single copy made or were multiple copies made?  Were copies distributed widely or to a limited group of people?  Was the copy destroyed after its purpose was accomplished?  What are the normal practices of the industry?  "If multiple copies of works are being widely distributed, this will tend to be unfair. If, however, a single copy of a work is used for a specific legitimate purpose, then it may be easier to conclude that it was fair dealing."

3.   The amount of the dealing: How much of the work was used?  What was the importance of the infringed work?  Quoting trivial amounts may alone sufficiently establish fair dealing.  In some cases (for example, for private study) even using the entire work may be fair dealing if it is deemed necessary.

4.   Alternatives to the dealing:  Was a "non-copyrighted equivalent of the work" available to the user?  For example, it is unfair to use a work if an equivalent non- copyrighted work would suffice.  Could the work have been properly criticized without being copied?  Was the dealing reasonably necessary to achieve the ultimate purpose?

5.   The Nature of the work:  How amenable is the work to fair dealing?  If it was created and published with little or no motive of gain, like an academic journal, there is more likelihood that the use will be considered fair.  It might, alternatively, be more difficult to argue fair dealing if one distributes a previously unpublished work or a work designated for a particular group, like a newsletter for a fee-paying clientele or group.

6.   Impact of the dealing on the work:  Is it likely to affect the market for the original work?  The work used must not compete with the original copyrighted work.  For example, it will tend to be unfair to use a work if its market value will be adversely affected.

The University has also established a set of fair dealing guidelines to help staff and faculty determine if their use and the amount they intend to copy will be considered fair.  Please refer to the fair dealing guidelines for more information about fair dealing.

If you have additional questions or concerns about fair dealing, the guidelines, or whether your use is considered fair, please contact the Copyright Office (8817).

Public Domain

Copyright protection does not last forever. Regardless of where a work was created, it is protected by copyright in Canada for the life of the creator plus 50 years after the creator’s death.  After this period, the work enters the public domain and permission is not required to copy, modify, or distribute it.

Although the “life plus 50” rule may seem straightforward, confusion results when a work is re-published. For example, Shakespeare’s Hamlet in its original form remains in the public domain, but copyright to the version of Hamlet published by Penguin is held by that corporation.  Numerous publishers may hold copyright for their versions of Hamlet, but none holds copyright to Hamlet itself.

If the work was created by more than one person, copyright protection exists for the life of the creator who dies last, the remainder of the calendar year in which that person dies, plus 50 additional years. Both economic rights and moral rights also continue to exist for the same period of time.

The vast majority of works published in print and on the Web are not in the public domain. A work that is publicly available is not necessarily in the public domain. If in doubt, it is wise to assume the material is protected by copyright and, as such, the use of the material must comply with the fair dealing limits.

Some types of works (e.g. sound recordings, some photographs and films) may have a different term of copyright protection. It is recommended not to assume that a work is in the public domain (e.g. artwork) and also note that the term of copyright protection varies by country. (For example, in the United States, a work will enter the public domain 70 years after the creator’s death).

You can contact the Copyright Office (8817) for more information on public domain or the Copyright Act.

Making Copies

General Information

When making copies from copyrighted works (either a print copy or an electronic copy) without the express permission of the copyright owner, the university relies on uses permitted under the Copyright Act.  It is important that U of S faculty, staff and students abide by the provisions of the Copyright Act, as well as the university policy Copyright: Use of Materials Protected by Copyright, the fair dealing guidelines, and these guidelines.

Keep in mind that everything on the Internet is considered published and is, therefore, protected by copyright.  Before using material from the Internet, remember that the same Copyright Act protection applies to electronic works as it does to print works, as do the fair dealing and educational institutions exceptions. Notably, an exception has been added to the Copyright Act, permitting the use of material that is freely available on the Internet for the purposes education, provided the source is identified.

In general, one is allowed to make a copy if:

  • the work being copied is in the public domain
  • the copyright owner has explicitly indicated permission
  • the work to be copied is covered by a license that permits copying such as:
    •  Creative Commons licenses
    • Open Access works
    • licenses that the U of S has with the publisher of an electronic journal or book
  • the copying is permitted by one of the exceptions in the Copyright Act, such as:
    • the educational exception permitting copies to be made to display to students for educational and training purposes during a class on the U of S premises, provided the work is not already commercially available in that format
    • the educational exception permitting copies to be made for students as required for a test or an examination on the U of S premises (provided the work is not already commercially available in that format)
    • the educational exception permitting the use of material that is freely available on the Internet for the purposes education, provided the source is identified
    • the fair dealing exception, which permits limited copying for the purpose of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, parody, or satire.

Options for providing copyrighted material to students

Exceptions to the Copyright Act allow instructors to produce lecture materials, such as PowerPoint presentations, for displaying in the classroom.

Instructors may upload material to password-protected sites, like PAWS or Blackboard to share with the students enrolled in a course as long as long as the limits for reproducing and distributing material as outlined in the Fair Dealing Guidelines are respected. The source of the material should be provided on the slides, if possible. If the material exceeds the limitations outlined in the Fair Dealing Guidelines, express permission to distribute the material electronically must be sought from the author or publisher.

The following guidelines should help you determine how to provide material to your students, either electronically or in print.

Posting PDFs or other content on U of S learning management systems (i.e. Blackboard):

Instructors may post PowerPoint presentations containing copyrighted content online, as long as the limits for reproducing and distributing material as outlined in the Fair Dealing Guidelines are respected.  If the source is available, please provide a citation in the slide presentation.

Instructors may upload material to password-protected sites, like PAWS or Blackboard to share with the students enrolled in a course as long as the material uploaded complies with the fair dealing limits.  If the material exceeds the limitations outlined in the Fair Dealing Guidelines, express permission to distribute the material electronically must be sought from the author or publisher.

Some of the University Library’s e-journal content may be posted in PDF form to the learning management systems, according to the licenses the Library has negotiated with the vendors. This information is available through the usage rights search tool, accessible when searching journals using the Library’s catalogue.

Alternatively, you may link directly to e-journal content rather than downloading and posting the PDF. The University Library has created a guide on how to create persistent links to e-journal articles.

Coursepacks

If you must make printed copies of works to be included in a coursepack for sale to students, you will need to work with the University Bookstore, where staff will take care of producing coursepacks. The Bookstore will negotiate with the publishers or copyright holders for the material you wish to use. The cost of coursepacks can vary depending on copyright fees, the number of pages and documents, and the volume of course packs being produced. Those costs are generally reflected in the selling price of the coursepack.

Note: Ensure your materials are submitted early to allow time for submitting and receiving appropriate permissions (approximately 6-8 weeks, in most cases). You will need to comply with any deadlines and requirements as set out by the Bookstore staff.

Classroom Handouts

Making multiple copies for the purpose of instruction or teaching falls under the fair dealing exception in the Copyright Act allowing for distribution to students enrolled in the course.  If the handout exceeds the limitations outlined in the Fair Dealing Guidelines, you must seek express permission from the author or publisher to make the number of copies you need.

There are additional options for making copies available to students, such as:

  • Providing students with a link to licensed e-journal or e-book content through a course website or one of the university’s learning management systems (such as Blackboard)
  • Placing the original book/resource on Course Reserve (or e-reserve) with the University Library for students to borrow and make their own personal copy
  • Making copies from works in the public domain, open access material, or Creative Commons licensed materials
  • Using works that you have created yourself (if you have not assigned your copyright to another entity, such as a publisher)
  • Seeking a transactional license with the publisher or copyright holder for permission to make the material available to your students

When it is necessary to request permission, always ensure you allow plenty of time to acquire the appropriate permissions to use the materials (the average time to clear material is 6-8 weeks or more). Please keep a copy of any permissions you receive.

Using content from the Internet (including videos):

If you find something on an open (not password protected) website that you want to share with your students, you can simply provide a link to the site and students can go there to access the material themselves. 

There is an exception in the Copyright Act that specifically allows for the reproduction of any legitimately posted works that are available through the Internet, provided that the source and author are attributed, unless the works are protected by TPMs (“digital locks”) or a clearly visible notice is posted on the website or the work (not simply the copyright symbol itself), which prohibits the activity. Do not reproduce any content that you know, or suspect, has been illegally posted.

Look under the “Terms of Use” or “Legal Notices” of the webpage for information on permissible uses and contact information for permissions. If you are required to seek permission to use the content, please keep a copy of any permissions you receive.

Please refer to the Copyright Contacts page to locate people and resources to help you with your copyright needs.

User-Generated Content (i.e “mash-ups”)

Existing works or other subject matter that has been made publicly available may be used in the creation of a new work. It must be solely for non-commercial purposes, the original source must be properly cited, the original work must not have been made available by infringing the copyright owner’s rights, and use of the work will not adversely exploit or affect the original work.

If in doubt, or if you have questions about a particular resource, contact the Copyright Office (8817) for more information.

Textbooks

In most cases, textbook publishers may allow you to include copies of text, in addition to figures, images, charts, etc. in your PowerPoint slides and online resources, but usually only if the textbook is a required text for the course. Please review the copyright notice provided with the materials or talk to your publisher representative to determine permitted uses and comply with any conditions that may be attached to your use of the work. Please keep a record of any permissions you receive.

Lessons by Telecommunications

Material for telecommunication and distance learning courses may be communicated to students and/or recorded for later viewing or listening. The university must take measures (such as use of passwords and/or digital locks) to limit the audience only to students enrolled in the course. Also the students and the university must destroy any recordings made within 30 days after the final course evaluations have been received.

Creative Commons licensed material

Creative Commons (CC) licenses and tools provide a flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors, artists, and educators and a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” setting that copyright law creates. Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that fosters sharing and use of creativity and knowledge by working with the rules of copyright in whichever terms best suit your needs. It gives creators a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work and they provide users with clear, understandable instructions on how materials can be used.  Even the most restrictive Creative Commons licenses allow for redistribution of the material, which means that you can copy and post the material online for your students.  All online material that carries a Creative Commons license will be clearly marked “Some Rights Reserved”.  Look for the license, and when sharing the material with your students, be sure to acknowledge the creator as specified in the license. No registration is required in order to use CC licenses; you may simply answer a few questions by clicking "yes" or "no" and enter your jurisdiction (which should be "Canada," as long as your teaching, studying, or researching activities take place in Canada) and the CC license tool will select the appropriate license that meets your criteria.

Open Access journals

Open Access (OA) is a movement in the distribution of scholarly material that requires works to be shared freely.  “Free” means free of most copyright and licensing restriction, yet are fully compatible with peer-review, copyright, profit and preservation.  It is mandatory that users be able to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of OA material. OA literature can be accessed online, free of charge, by anyone.

OA journals make their articles available for free through charging for the publication services before publication, rather than after publication through subscriptions. The journal must exercise peer-review or editorial quality control.

There are a growing number of Open Access Journals, with a journal available in most disciplines. The Directory of Open Access Journals (www.doaj.org) provides a list of the ones currently available.  Simply search the directory for journals and articles and you are free to share what you have accessed with your students.

Using Open Access Repositories

Open Access (OA) repositories can hold electronic duplicates of published articles and make them freely available. Authors can deposit copies of their finished articles in repositories alongside their publication in normal journals.

OA repositories work by having electronic versions of articles, or e-prints, deposited into a database, or repository. These repositories are mainly administered by research institutions. Such institutional repositories share records about their content with service providers, who then offer search services to users across every record that they hold. This means that a researcher using a search service is searching across all OA repositories, not just individual ones. Once the researcher finds a record, they can view the full-text direct from the institutional repository. As well as services, which are just search repositories, the full-text is also searched by Google, Yahoo and other search engines.  You can search open access repositories through the site OpenDOAR (www.opendoar.org).

Images/Photographs/Tables/Maps/Charts/Diagrams/Figures

Using figures and illustrations in online course material:

Figures, illustrations, photographs and excerpts taken from textbooks, web sites, journals, or other published works, can be included in lecture notes for students in a classroom setting on U of S premises. This material may be posted online for distribution to students enrolled in the course, provided the limitations outlined in the Fair Dealing Guidelines have not been exceeded. If you must copy more than fair dealing allows, you must seek express permission from the author or publisher in order to provide the number of copies you need.

There are additional options for making copies of electronic works available to students, such as :

  • Providing students with a link to licensed e-journal or e-book content through a course website or one of the university’s learning management systems (such as Blackboard)
  • Placing the original book/resource on Course Reserve (or e-reserve) with the University Library for students to borrow and make their own personal copy
  • Making copies from works in the public domain, open access material, or Creative Commons licensed materials
  • Using works that you have created yourself (if you have not assigned your copyright to another entity, such as a publisher)
  • Seeking a transactional license with the publisher or copyright holder for permission to make the material available to your students

When it is necessary to request permission, always ensure you allow plenty of time to acquire the appropriate permissions to use the materials, which can take 6-8 weeks or more. Please keep copies of any permissions you receive.

Works of Art

Before using a work of art, it is important to determine who owns the copyright and who owns the physical property.  For example, an art gallery may own a painting, but unless the artist has assigned the copyright to the art gallery, the artist holds the copyright to that work. In this case, the art gallery controls the access rights only.  As with any material, permission must be obtained from all copyright owners before using a work of art.

A copy a work of art (such as a painting) can be made to display to students for educational purposes only if it is not commercially available in that format.  Commercially produced slides and transparencies can be freely used in the classroom, but cannot be duplicated or transferred to another format without obtaining permission.

The Copyright Office (8817) can be contacted with questions or concerns about using images or works of art.

Audio Recordings

Sound recordings such as cassettes, CDs or electronic audio can be played in an educational institution without an additional public performance license as long as the recording is played for the purpose of education, the audience is primarily students, and no profit is gained.  The sound recording must be a legal, commercial copy.  Live music may be performed without permission under these conditions as well.

Non-educational uses of music such as for concerts, dances, entertainment, sporting events, ambience, music on hold for telephones, etc. require public performance licenses through the Society of Composers Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN).

Permission must be obtained to reproduce a song that you do not own/did not create.  The Canadian Musical Reproductions Rights Agency (CMRRA) can grant a mechanical license that authorizes the reproduction of music on CDs.  For reproductions of the musical work in audio-visual productions – films and video, they can grant a synchronization license. 

CCDE (4261) can provide help and advice concerning the use of music and other audio recordings.

DVDs/Videos/Films/Plays

Audio-visual works may be shown to students on the premise of an educational institution as long as the recording is a legal, commercial copy played for the purpose of education, the audience is primarily students, and no profit is gained. There is no longer the need to ensure a public performance license is in place.  Works may be performed live (such as a play) without permission under these conditions as well.

Non-educational uses of video such as for events, entertainment, ambience, etc. require public performance licenses from Audio-Cine Films or Criterion Video. Licenses for these types of events may be arranged through the above companies for an additional fee.  Please keep copies of any permissions you receive.

To help determine whether your desired use falls within the permitted uses, or for assistance in obtaining the necessary Public Performance License, please contact CCDE (4261).

Television or Radio Programs

The Copyright Act stipulates that a television or radio program may be recorded off-air for preview purposes, except for documentaries, provided the copy is kept no longer than 30 days.  After 30 days, the copy must be destroyed.  If the program is to be used in an educational setting or kept beyond the 30-day preview period, royalties must be paid. Any recording is subject to record keeping provisions.

A radio or television news program or news commentary may be recorded off air and used in an educational setting. There is no limit on the length of time the recording may be kept and payment of royalties is not required.

Format Shifting

Under the Copyright Act, format shifting is permitted under certain conditions:

1. Back-up copies
An individual may copy any work from a legally-obtained source. For example, you may copy a song purchased from iTunes from your iPod to your computer

2. Libraries, Archives, and Museums

Libraries, archives and museums may distribute materials in electronic formats, provided that they ensure the patron only prints one copy and does not communicate the copy to another person. The electronic copy must “expire” after 5 business days. Copies of works in a permanent collection may be made by a library, archive, or museum to maintain or preserve it, provided that:
-  The original is rare or unpublished and is at risk of deterioration, damage, or loss
-  The original format is obsolete or the technology required to use it is obsolete (or becoming obsolete)

3. For Individuals with Perceptual Disabilities
Adaption of a work for someone with a perceptual disability is allowed without permission unless the work is available commercially in an appropriate format.  This exception to the Copyright Act does not apply to a cinematographic work, such as a movie. For more information and assistance with these resources, contact Disability Services for Students.

4. Because of Obsolete Technology
If the means to play a video or audio format no longer exists and there is no commercial copy available, a copy may be made in a different format to protect the original for preservation purposes.  This means that as long as you can purchase VHS players, VHS is a valid format and you are not permitted to copy material from VHS to DVD without permission from the producer or distributor.

Assuming that the program has public performance rights associated with it, those rights would be format-specific, meaning that you would need to purchase public performance rights again if you shift the format of the material. 

The Copyright Office (8817) can provide advice regarding format shifting.

Getting Permission

With any of the uses listed above, you always have the option of seeking permission directly from the copyright holder.  Such permission may come in the form of a letter or e-mail from the publisher and/or copyright holder, or it may be in the form of a license agreement.  Whatever the arrangement is, it is important to keep a copy of the permission granted.

When seeking clearance for using electronic material, the best place to start is on the publisher’s website.  Publishers are often the copyright holders and many publishers have an online form that can be filled out in order to request and receive permission quickly and efficiently.

If the publisher has an online form, it will most likely appear on one of the following pages on the publisher’s site:

  • Terms of Use
  • Notices
  • Copyright
  • Contact Us

Note that the permission process can be a long one (6-8 weeks, on average); please apply well before the material is needed.

If there is no online form, you will need to e-mail the publisher, outlining how you would like to use the material.  Including the following information in your e-mail request may make the process of obtaining permission more simple, straightforward, and possibly quicker:

  • Title of Book (including the edition, if applicable)
  • Author
  • Editor (if applicable)         
  • ISBN/ISSN number
  • Title of article, excerpt, image, figure, diagram, table, etc.
  • Author of article (if different from book)
  • Page numbers of material requested
  • Purpose of use (education, publication, etc.)
  • Nature of the use (example: pdf posted on a password protected course website)
  • Course name and number
  • Length of request
  • Estimated enrolment number

Some publishers are willing to share their material for educational purposes free-of-charge, but many are not.  Once the publisher has received your information they will usually reply in writing with a proposed license agreement, which should include the following information:

  • cost of use (this can range from $0 to hundreds of dollars, depending on the type and quantity of the material requested, as well as the desired number of copies to be made)
  • type of payment being proposed (one-time payment, pay-per-use, no charge, etc.)
  • time limitation on use
  • how the copyright holder should be credited when the material is posted

If the publisher/copyright holder has proposed a license that will be useful to you and if you are willing to pay the fee that is requested, you are able to post the material online in the manner stipulated in the license agreement.  Keep a copy of the license agreement for your records and ensure that your use of the material is compliant with the agreement. 

Publishers/Copyright holders are under no obligation to provide you with permission to use their material.  If they do provide you with permission, you are required to abide by the terms they set out. Please keep copies of any permissions you receive.

 

More information on seeking permission or about copyright in general is available from the Copyright Office (8817).


Note: The information obtained from or through this site does not constitute legal advice, but is provided as guidelines for using works for educational purposes.

Creative Commons License
All information found on the University of Saskatchewan Copyright website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada License unless otherwise noted.