For questions about copyright and your thesis, please visit our thesis frequently asked questions page.
Other student frequently asked questions
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 share a copy of your work with future students.
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 please ensure that you use copyright-protected materials appropriately and encourage others to do the same. The Copyright Office is available to answer any copyright-related questions that you many have.
You may copy materials under the following circumstances:
- Fair dealing allows you to make one copy of a work for yourself for the purposes of private study, research, review, criticism, news reporting, parody, satire or education. Sometimes only a portion of a work (and not the entire work) can be copied under fair dealing. For details, please consult the "Fair Dealing for Students" section of our Fair Dealing Guidelines.
- For your own educational purposes, you can use the electronic resources available through the University Library in accordance with the available licence information. When you click the button in the electronic library catalogue search results, the abbreviated licence information that appears will look something like this:
- For details about what the abbreviated licence information means, click the button beside the abbreviated licence information.
- For use of materials that does not fall within the fair dealing exception or existing licences, you can seek permission from the copyright owner to use the work in the way that you would like.
Yes, in most cases. Only the copyright owner (for example, the creator, the publisher) of a work has the right to post that work online. If you would like to post someone else’s work online, you are required to have permission to do so from the copyright owner of the work, unless:
- the work has a licence attached to it that allows for open sharing online (for example, some types of Creative Commons licences); or
- the work is in the public domain (see question #7 for information about what materials are in the Public Domain).
Copyright protection does not last forever. Regardless of where a work was created, the general rule in Canada is that copyright lasts for the life of the author, the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies and for 70 years following the end of that calendar year. This statutory rule is known as the "life plus 70" rule. Copyright protection will expire on December 31 of the 70th year after the author dies, at which time the work enters the public domain. For example, if a work was created on April 30, 1976 and the author dies on July 27, 1989, the copyright protection extends from April 30, 1976 to December 31, 2059, at which point it would enter the public domain. 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 70 additional years. Once a work has become part of the public domain, it is no longer protected by copyright and can be copied, modified and distributed without permission.
Publicly available works, such as those available on the internet, are not the same as public domain works. Most content on the internet or in journals and books, is not in the public domain. For any public domain work that has been republished with new content, the new version is copyrighted but the original work would remain in the public domain. For example, Shakespeare’s Hamlet in its original form remains in the public domain, but copyright for the version of Hamlet published by Penguin is held by that corporation. Numerous publishers may hold copyright for their versions of Hamlet, but no one holds copyright to Hamlet itself.
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 chosen to completely release the work from copyright protection. This can be done 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.
For more information, please see our public domain page.
Yes, 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 for the work to be protected by copyright. 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.
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 owner to do so, unless:
- the work has a licence attached to it that allows for wide sharing (for example, some types of Creative Commons licences); or
- the work is in the public domain (see question #7 above for information about what materials are in the public domain).
For information about copyright in university teaching, please visit our instructors home page. This home page includes links to all of the pages on our website with information that pertains to copyright in teaching at the University of Saskatchewan.