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Yukon College Home Library Copyright and the Library

Copyright and the Library

Canadian Copyright Law

The Canadian Copyright Act is a law that protects the original literary, artistic, musical, or dramatic creation of works.  The owner of the copyright retains the right to control the copying of his/her work and can prohibit the copying of his/her work.  Control over copyright lasts from the original creation of the work until 50 years after the death of the creator.  Federal law states that copyright is automatic and there is no legal requirement to file one’s work with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) or use the copyright symbol (©).

Fair Dealing

A fair dealing provision in the Copyright Act permits the copying and communication of short excerpts from a copyright-protected work, without permission or the payment of copyright royalties.

Conditions for fair dealing:

The Copyright Act provides that it is not an infringement of copyright to deal with a work for the purposes of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire, and parody, provided the dealing is “fair.”

The guidelines below describe the activities that are permitted under fair dealing in educational institutions and provide reasonable safeguards for the owners of copyright-protected works in accordance with the Copyright Act and decisions of the Supreme Court.


Teachers, instructors, professors, and staff members in non-profit educational institutions may communicate and reproduce, in paper or electronic form, short excerpts from a copyright-protected work for the purposes of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education,satire, and parody.

Copying or communicating short excerpts from a copyrightprotected work under these Fair Dealing Guidelines for the purpose of news reporting, criticism, or review should mention the source and, if given in the source, the name of the author or creator of the work.

A single copy of a short excerpt from a copyright-protected work may be provided or communicated to each student enrolled in a class or course:

a. as a class handout;
b. as a posting to a learning or course-management system that is password protected or otherwise restricted to students of a school or postsecondary educational institution;
c. as part of a course pack.

A short excerpt means:

a. up to 10 per cent of a copyright-protected work (including a literary work, musical score, sound recording, and an audiovisual work);
b. one chapter from a book;
c. a single article from a periodical;
d. an entire artistic work (including a painting, print, photograph, diagram, drawing, map, chart, and plan) from a copyright-protected work containing other artistic works;
e. an entire newspaper article or page;
f. an entire single poem or musical score from a copyright protected work containing other poems or musical scores;
g. an entire entry from an encyclopedia, annotated bibliography, dictionary, or similar reference work.


Copying or communicating multiple short excerpts from the same copyright-protected work with the intention of copying or communicating substantially the entire work is prohibited.

Copying or communicating that exceeds the limits in these Fair Dealing Guidelines may be referred to a supervisor or other person designated by the educational institution for evaluation. An evaluation of whether the proposed copying or communication is permitted under fair dealing will be made based on all relevant circumstances.

Any fee charged by the educational institution for communicating or copying a short excerpt from a copyright protected
work must be intended to cover only the costs of the institution, including overhead costs.

What about showing videos in the classroom?

The Copyright Act permits showing an audiovisual work such as a DVD or video as long as the work is not an infringing copy or the person responsible for the showing has no reasonable grounds to believe it is an infringing copy.

Teachers can show audiovisual works purchased or rented from a retail store, a copy borrowed from the library, a copy borrowed from a friend, and a YouTube video.

Showing movies from subscription services in the classroom is governed by the terms of the agreement between the subscriber and the subscription service. If the agreement provides that use is limited to “personal” or “household” use, for example, then classroom use is not permitted under the agreement. 

The Copyright Act does not permit screening a video without a licence if there is no intent to use the video for study or research.