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Information for StFX faculty and students on campus copyright policies, fair dealing, and copyright resources.


StFX is required to comply with Canadian copyright law. Simply stated, this means that the reproduction and sharing of copyright-protected works by faculty, staff, students, and other members of the StFX community is subject to certain limits and restrictions.

StFX has created a Copyright Policy and Fair Dealing policy to help assist you with figuring out what you can copy, share, show, etc. These policies are based on Canada’s Copyright Act. The Copyright Act outlines the rights of copyright owners regarding the works that they create. The Copyright Act applies to a variety of 'works' such as art, plays, books, journal articles, photographs, computer codes, movies, and musical works (including sound recordings, performances, and communication signals). The copyright holders' rights are balanced with a number of user rights (or exceptions). In this way, copyright benefits society as well as individual creators.

Furthermore, the library has entered into licensing agreements with content providers and publishers that provide for some types of copying and sharing of materials.

A lot of the material you may be using in the context of education and research is protected by copyright and/or licensing agreements. It is, therefore, important you are aware of some of the components of Copyright and Fair Dealings that is covered in this online guide.

How does Copyright Law Apply at a University in Canada

When Do You Need To Think About Copyright?

It's important to think about copyright when you go to use or share a work, even in the context of education and research

  • Do you need to scan portions of a book or upload a journal article to upload to Moodle?
  • Do you need to photocopy a work for handouts?
  • Do you want to show a movie in class? At an event?
  • Do you want to digitize physical newspapers?
  • Are you taking a screenshot of an article or using an image in a presentation?

For example, scanning is copying and may require permission from the copyright owner.  Playing music in the classroom, sharing a born-digital file, or uploading a file from the Internet into Moodle may also require permission.

It’s not always obvious how copyright is involved, so be sure to check out the next page called 'Getting Started' which walks through questions to ask yourself when considering if and how copyright may be involved with the works you want to use and share. 

How long does copyright last?

Since December 30, 2022, the term of copyright in Canada is life-plus-seventy, which was previously a term of life-plus-fifty. This means that copyright protection now lasts for the duration of the lifetime of the author, plus 70 years from the end of the calendar year of their death. 

This extension of the copyright term is not retroactive. Any works whose copyright expired before December 30, 2022 will not receive an additional 20 years of protection (Government of Canada, 2023). 

It should be noted that there are several exceptions to this general rule. As stated by Heer Law (2023), Crown or government works in Canada are protected until published and for an additional 70 years from the date of publication. Additionally, if there is joint authorship, copyright will last for the remainder of the calendar year which the last author dies and for 50 years after that. 

Other exceptions do exist. When in doubt, contact a copyright expert. Heer Law: Intellectual Property Law & Litigation. h


Government of Canada. (2023, January 10). What copyright is. Government of Canada.  property-office/en/what-intellectual-property/what-copyright

Heer Law. (2023, June 23). Copyright FAQ. Heer Law: Intellectual Property Law & Litigation. https://www.heerlaw.come/copyright-faq 

Statement from Canadian Federation of Library Associations. (August 10, 2021)

Please note: This module is offered for information only, and is not a substitute for legal advice.

Works Consulted in the Development of this Guide

Content used on this guide was copied or adapted from:
1)  Copyright Decision Map from Western University with permission.

2) “Copyright Open Educational Resources” by CARL (2020). 
  • All artwork © Giulia Forsythe, made available under a CC0 1.0 License.
  •  Material for the Openly Licensed Materials video has been adapted from: Year of Open Licenses, (CC-BY); Guelph Creative Commons Video: (CC-BY-NC-SA)
  • Scripted material and quizzes have been adapted from Copyright Literacy for Ontario College Employees, ©2014 Ontario Colleges, which is licensed under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 International License. Adapted material is shared here under a different license with permission. Scripts and quizzes have been modified to address an audience of instructors and staff at Canadian universities.
3)  Opening Up Copyright from the University of Alberta.CC-BY-SA 4.0