What May I Copy or Use?

Under the Copyright Act, producing, reproducing, or publicly performing a “work or any substantial part thereof in any material form whatever” without the copyright owner’s permission may constitute copyright infringement. As a general rule, however, providing links to Web-accessible works is not copyright infringement because it does not constitute reproduction of the work. See the Library’s Persistent Links – FAQs for more information.

Before using (e.g., producing, reproducing, or publicly performing) a copyright work or a substantial part1, consider the questions in the Copyright Permissions Flow Chart to determine whether you have the right to do so. In general, the following are among the options that may be applicable to your particular need involving use of a substantial part of one or more works:

For assistance in pursuing any of the above options please contact the University Copyright Advisor.

Copying of works in Access Copyright's repertoire by University students and staff during the period January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2015 is covered by an Access Copyright blanket license. From January 1, 2016 forward, however, if you wish to re-use digital copies made under the blanket license expiring December 31, 2015, copyright owner permission must be obtained.

On July 12, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered an important affirmative decision that addressed "whether photocopies made by teachers to distribute to students as part of class instruction can qualify as fair dealing under the Copyright Act" (2012 SCC 37). The decision took into account the six fair dealing factors laid out in a previous Supreme Court of Canada decision (2004 SCC 13). For U of L instructors this means that copying short excerpts for distribution to students as class handouts may qualify as fair dealing if the copying, on balance, is fair according to the six factors. See the University of Lethbridge Guidelines for Copying under Fair Dealing. For assistance in assessing whether fair dealing applies to copies you wish to make, please contact the University Copyright Advisor.

1In Cinar Corporation v. Robinson (2013 SCC 73), the Supreme Court of Canada said the following about "a substantial part" (paras 26-28):

    A substantial part of a work is a flexible notion. It is a matter of fact and degree. 'Whether a part is substantial must be decided by its quality rather than its quantity' [citation omitted]. What constitutes a substantial part is determined in relation to the originality of the work that warrants the protection of the Copyright Act. As a general proposition, a substantial part of a work is a part of the work that represents a substantial portion of the author's skill and judgment expressed therein.
    A substantial part of a work is not limited to the words on the page or the brushstrokes on the canvas. The Act protects authors against both literal and non-literal copying, so long as the copied material forms a substantial part of the infringed work. . .
    The need to strike an appropriate balance between giving protection to the skill and judgment exercised by authors in the expression of their ideas, on the one hand, and leaving ideas and elements from the public domain free for all to draw upon, on the other, forms the background against which the arguments of the parties must be considered.