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 involve making a copy 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 substantial use of one or more works:

As of June 25, 2012, the University is once again covered by an Access Copyright license. The Repertoire Look-Up Tool may be used to determine what is in the Access Copyright repertoire. For further assistance in exploring or pursuing any of the above options please contact the University Copyright Advisor.

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. For assistance in assessing whether fair dealing applies to the copies you wish to make, please contact the University Copyright Advisor.


1In Canadian Copyright Law Lesley Ellen Harris (2014) notes that “a substantial part” is not defined in the Copyright Act, but to interpret its meaning in specific circumstances, courts will examine the quality and quantity of the part in terms of how much of the original is used, and the importance of the part relative to the whole work.