FAQ

1. As a student of the University of Saskatchewan, what can I legally copy?
2. What are the rules about making handouts for other students in my class?
3. Are works created by students (such as assignments and research) protected by copyright?
4. Who owns copyright in a work?
5. Is the copyright holder the same as the author of a work?
6. How long does copyright last?
7. If a work does not have a copyright notice (or © symbol), is it protected by copyright?
8. What is “public domain” and can I copy works from the public domain freely?
9. Who in the university is responsible for ensuring that faculty, staff and students comply with copyright university policy?

1. As a student of the University of Saskatchewan, what can I legally copy?

You may copy materials for which the university (e.g. the Library) has negotiated licenses according to the terms of the agreement. Fair dealing allows you to make one copy of a work for yourself for the purposes of private study, research, review, criticism or news reporting. Please review the Copying Guidelines, Fair Dealing Guidelines and the Copyright Policy for more information.


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2. What are the rules about making handouts for other students in my class?

If you are making copies of your own work to distribute or share with other students in your class, that is permitted.  If you want to make a handout for the rest of your class that includes material that you have not created, you need to ensure you have permission from the copyright holder to do so.  Please review the Copying Guidelines, Fair Dealing Guidelines and the Copyright Policy for more information.


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3. Are works created by students (such as assignments and research) protected by copyright?

Yes. The Copyright Act specifies that “every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work” is protected by copyright, and this includes student work. This means that your permission is required in order for an instructor or school to keep a copy or to share it with future students.
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4. Who owns copyright in a work?

Often, the creator of a work (e.g., one who writes a book, magazine or newspaper article, play, poem, song lyrics or other writings, takes a photograph or makes a film, draws a map, or creates a painting, drawing, or sketch) is the first owner of the copyright in that work. However, ownership of copyright may be transferred, for example, to a publisher. Copyright also applies to other subject matter, including sound recordings, performances, and communication signals. Just because someone owns a copy of a work does not mean that they own copyright in that work.


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5. Is the copyright holder the same as the author of a work?

Sometimes, but not necessarily. The copyright holder may be the author of the work or possibly the publisher (e.g. if the author has signed over copyright). In most cases, copyright of a published work is held by the publisher unless the author has exercised the option to retain some rights through an author’s addendum or through other licensing arrangements such as Creative Commons.


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6. How long does copyright last?

Copyright does not last forever. The main purpose of copyright law is to allow for creators of works to be reasonably rewarded for their creative efforts. Statutory rules were put in place to determine when copyright protection of a work comes to an end, usually 50 years after the death of the creator (e.g. the "life plus 50" rule).

For example, if a work is published on April 30, 1999, and the author dies on July 27, 2035, then copyright protection extends from April 30, 1999 to December 31, 2085. 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 will exist for the same period of time.

Some types of works such as sound recordings and some photographs and films may have a different lengths of copyright. After copyright expires, a work becomes part of the public domain and may be freely copied and distributed. However, never assume that works are in the public domain.
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7. If a work does not have a copyright notice (or © symbol), is it protected by copyright?

In most cases, copyright protection exists as soon as a work is created. Under Canadian copyright law, the work does not need to be registered and the symbol © is not required to appear on the work. There may not even be any reference to copyright protection. It is possible for the work to be registered under a voluntary government registration system such as Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). Other countries have different laws and regulations which govern copyright protection but most countries offer similar protection in line with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties and conventions.

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8. What is “public domain” and can I copy works from the public domain freely?

Copyright does not last forever. The main purpose of copyright law is to allow for creators of works to be reasonably rewarded for their creative efforts. To that end, there are statutory rules to determine when copyright protection of a work comes to an end (e.g. the "life plus 50” rule). When the term of copyright expires, the work is said to come into the "public domain" and is then available for anyone to use and copy without seeking permission from the copyright owner (the author retains no rights to the work). This is the reason that Dickens' books, Shakespeare's plays, and Beethoven's symphonies no longer are protected by copyright.

Works can also be in public domain because the work was either not eligible for copyright protection in the first place or the copyright owner has given copyright to the work to the public. This can be done simply by stating on the work that it may be copied or reproduced without permission or payment of royalties. However, restrictions can be placed on the uses that can be made of works in this case and you must be sure to use the material accordingly.

Project Gutenberg is a good resource for finding literary works in the public domain.
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9. Who in the university is responsible for ensuring that faculty, staff and students comply with copyright university policy?

Everyone. Faculty, staff and students should always seek to comply with the Copyright Act as a best practice of academic professionalism. You are only permitted to make lawful copies of works and use works in lawful ways. Failure to comply with the Copyright Act could lead to personal liability, as well as liability for the University, so ensure that you use copyrighted materials appropriately. Advise your students and colleagues to use copyrighted materials appropriately. Contact the Copyright Office if you have questions.
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