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Copyright guide for Camosun College


What is Copyright?

Copyright is a legal framework that protects creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, as well as sound recordings, performances and communication signals. This encompasses a wide range of formats including books, articles, CDs, DVDs, software, and websites. 

Copyright protection exists as soon as a work is created.

The terms of copyright protection apply differently in various countries. In Canada, copyright protection generally applies to works for the life of the creator and for 70 years, the same as in the United States and Europe. After the copyright expires, a work enters the Public Domain, although copyright protection may still apply to more recent editions, arrangements or adaptations of the work. Also don't assume that everything you find on the Internet is in the public domain just because it is publicly available. 

For more information about duration of copyright protection in Canada see the Government of Canada's Guide to Copyright 

Use of a work in Canada is governed by the Canadian rules for the duration of the copyright protection.

Academic Integrity

Camosun College's mission is building a better future for our community with relevant, innovative and applied education. Our mission statement defines our purpose and outlines what we do, who we do it for, and how we accomplish this. As an institution, we value integrity, professionalism, and recognition of achievement.

Students are expected to pursue their educational activities responsibly.

Academic dishonesty includes:

  • Incorporating others' words or thoughts into your assignments without proper credit (plagiarism)
  • Using sources you know were illegally uploaded to the internet
  • Photocopying substantial amounts of a course text (see the College's fair dealing directives for acceptable limits)
  • Academic Integrity
  • Visit the Student Conduct and Judicial Affairs web page for more information on academic conduct, your rights and responsibilities as students, and other student services.

Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement

Plagiarism is the uncredited use of someone else's words or ideas.

As a student, you can incorporate copyright-protected works by experts in your field of study into your assignments. 

When you use others' works, you must acknowledge the original author by citing your source. This applies to:

  • Words or ideas published online or in a printed work
  • Information you gather through an interview or conversation with another person
  • Diagrams, illustrations, charts, pictures, or other visual materials you reprint
  • Digital media, including images, audio, and video you reuse or repost
  • Course materials, including your instructors' lecture notes and presentation slides

For more information on plagiarism and citing your sources, visit the helpful links below. 

Copied and adapted from Copyright for Students from Langara College under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Copyright Owners' right

Copyright owners have a number of legal rights, including the right to copy and translate a work and the right to communicate a work to the public by telecommunication. Certain exceptions apply to these rights that are meant to balance copyright holders' interests with broader public interests, primarily the use of works for purposes such as teaching and research.

For more detail, please check Your Copyright page.

Legitimate Open Access

The legality of open access materials is determined by the copyright holder. Some of the way holders can choose to disclose their material include a Creative Commons license, copyright free or Conditional Open Access. Unless the owner has set up the material as Open Access, it remains as copyrighted material in any circumstance until it comes to the public domain. 

Various Academic services claim themselves as Open Access and their resources are legal. However, many of these services allow their users to upload materials and share. During this process, there is no permission or consent involved from its copyright holders. As a result of this, these sites are essentially File-sharing for books and articles, and are likely to be breaking copyright. 

Camosun College supports legitimate Open Resources, but we do not support file-sharing sites which can break copyright.

Students should not share Camosun College school materials on Online services except Camosun College Online Learning Systems.

What is Fair Dealing?

The Fair Dealing provision in the Copyright Act permits use of a copyright-protected work without permission from the copyright owner or the payment of copyright royalties. To qualify for fair dealing, two tests must be passed:

1. The “dealing” must be for a purpose stated in the Copyright Act;

  • Research
  • Private study
  • Criticism
  • Review
  • News reporting
  • Education
  • Satire
  • Parody

2. The dealing must be “fair.” In landmark decisions in 2004 and in 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada provided guidance as to what this test means in schools and post-secondary educational institutions. This Fair Dealing Policy applies fair dealing in non-profit K-12 schools and post-secondary educational institutions and provides reasonable safeguards for the owners of copyright-protected works in accordance with the Copyright Act and the Supreme Court.

Fair Dealing and students

If you want to photocopy some library books? Do you want to use a news article for your class assignment? Do you want to share class handouts with friends?

Whenever you use or copy copyrighted works while studying at Camosun College, you need to follow Camosun College Fair Dealing Guideline. That means the purpose must be one of 8 purposes stated in the Copyright Act and the amount you want to use must be "fair". 

Then what is "fair"? Determining if a use is fair is done on a case-by-case basis. The Supreme Court of Canada outlined six factors to help determine if a particular use (or "dealing") of a copyright-protected work is fair:

  1. Purpose
    • Is the use one of the eight purposes permitted under fair dealing (education, research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, parody, or satire)? If so, it is more likely to be considered fair. 
  2. Character
    • How is the work being used? Is the work being widely distributed? 
    • If a single copy is used for a permitted purpose, it is more likely to be considered fair. 
  3. Amount
    • How much of the work is being copied?
    • If the amount copied is trivial, the use is more likely to be considered fair. However, it may be possible to deal fairly with an entire work. For example, there may be no other way to criticize or review a photograph or research journal article, unless the whole work is copied. 
  4. Nature of the work
    • Was the work previously published? 
    • If the work is unpublished or confidential, the use is less likely to be considered fair. However, a court of law may also consider whether the copy serves a public interest. 
  5. Available alternative
    • Is there a suitable alternative to the work that is not protected by copyright? If so, the use is less likely to be considered fair. 
  6. Effect
    • Is the copy likely to compete with the market of the original? If so, the use is less likely to be considered fair.

Note: A use does not need to satisfy all of these factors do be considered fair.

Copied and adapted from Copyright for Students from Langara College under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Every photocopiers at Camosun in both campuses has Student Guidelines for posting, scanning or copying sticker which shows Fair Dealing Guideline to you.

Please remember you are solely responsible for knowing your rights and responsibilities under the Copyright Act. 

If you have any questions or need clarification please contact Copyright Advisor.

Camosun College Fair Dealing Guidelines

1. Teachers, instructors, professors and staff members in nonprofit 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.

2. Copying or communicating short excerpts from a copyright-protected work under this Fair Dealing Policy 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.

3. 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:

  • as a class handout
  • as a posting to a learning or course management system that is password protected or otherwise restricted to students of a school or post-secondary educational institution
  • as part of a course pack

4. A short excerpt means:

  • up to 10% of a copyright-protected work (including a literary work, musical score, sound recording, and an audiovisual work)
  • one chapter from a book (should be fair amount)
  • a single article from a periodical
  • an entire artistic work (including a painting, print, photograph, diagram, drawing, map, chart, and plan) from a copyright-protected work containing other artistic works
  • an entire newspaper article or page
  • an entire single poem, short story or musical score from a copyright protected work containing other poems or musical scores
  • an entire entry from an encyclopedia, annotated bibliography, dictionary or similar reference work

5. 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.

6. Copying or communicating that exceeds the limits in this Fair Dealing Policy 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.

7. 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.

Fair Dealing Decision Tool

What kinds of exceptions are there in Canadian Copyright Law?

Copyright protects not only the creators' rights but also the users' rights. If copyright law is written too favorably to copyright holders, it will restrict users' rights and limit the goal of sharing knowledge across society. Therefore, there are always exceptions in copyright. For example, Canadian Copyright Law includes Fair dealing provision to protect users right. There are various exceptions more than Fair Dealing. 

Non-commercial user generated content (mash-ups)

A person may use an existing work which has been published or otherwise made available to the public in the creation of a new work, provided:

  • The source of the existing work is given where reasonable
  • The existing work was legally acquired
  • The new work is for non-commercial purposes
  • The new work does not have a substantial adverse effect (financial or otherwise) on a current or potential market for the existing work

Copyright Act, Section 29.21

Back-up copies

A person may reproduce the source copy of a work they own or have licensed, provided: 

  • The source copy was legally acquired
  • The person does so solely for back-up purposes in case the source copy is lost, damaged or otherwise rendered unusable
  • The person does not share the reproduction
  • The person, while making the production, does not break a technological protection measure, such as a digital lock

Copyright Act, Section 29.24

Reproduction of a broadcast for later listening or viewing

A person may record a program for the purpose of listening to or viewing it later, provided the person:

  • Receives the program legally
  • Does not break a digital lock in order to record the program
  • Makes no more than one recording of the program
  • Keeps the recording no longer than is reasonably necessary in order to listen to or view the program at a more convenient time
  • Does not give the recording away and uses it only for private purposes

Copyright Act, Section 29.23

Reproduction for private purposes

A person may reproduce a work, for a private purpose, provided:

  • The copy of the work from which the reproduction is made is not an infringing copy
  • The person legally acquired the copy of the work (other than by borrowing it or renting it) and owns or is authorized to use the medium or device on which it is reproduced
  • The person did not break a digital lock in order to make the reproduction
  • The´╗┐ person does not give the reproduction away

Copyright Act, Section 29.22

Additional exceptions (selected)

The following sections of the Copyright Act list other user's rights:



Persons with perceptual disabilities Section 32
News reporting of a public lecture Section 32.2(1)(c)
Public reading of an excerpt from a copyright-protected work Section 32.2(1)(d)
Use of a commissioned photograph Section 32.2(1)(f)
Religious, educational, or charitable performance  Section 32.2(3)
Private music copying  Section 80

For a concise overview of exceptions to owners' rights for individuals, see pages 84-86 of Canadian Copyright: A Citizen's Guide (2nd ed.) (Murray & Trosow, 2013)

Adapted from Exceptions in Copyright Acts from Langara College under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Multimedia in Class

You have variety choice of using media materials during your study at Camosun for online and offline. 

  • Video (DVD, Online etc.)
  • Audio (CD, Online etc.)
  • Broadcasting (TV, Radio, Streaming etc.)
  • Images

If you have any question regarding using multimedia materials in class, please contact Patsy Scott (Media Librarian).

College Events

Are you planning a college event? Do you want to play Movies or Music during the event? 

The Copyright Act allows you to play a sound recording or live radio broadcasts in Campus as long as it is for educational or training purposes, not for profit, on Camosun College premises and before an audience consisting primarily of students, faculty or any person who is directly responsible for setting a curriculum for Camosun College.

However, if you want to use music or movies for non-educational purposes, for example, for background music at a club event or a film festival, a license must be obtained. 

If you are planning but not sure about copyright and license, looking for help, please check Music for Events and Facilities or contact Copyright & Institutional Repository Technician.

Using Images

Most of images on the Internet are copyrighted that means you have to follow the same rules as other copyrighted materials when you use images on your assignments or D2L posting. 

Here's little more details when you use images from the Internet. 

  • For your assignment, please provide a permanent address of each images on the citation page. Google search results are NOT a permanent address. 
  • Please add a Photo Credit Line under the every images on your assignment or D2L posting, as part of the caption or elsewhere in the page. For example, 
    • © Corel Draw
    • Photo by John Doe
    • Image courtesy of the Library of Congress
  • List the permanent addresses on your citation page. 

If you have any questions or need clarification please contact Copyright & Institutional Repository Technician.

Find Copyright Free Images

These websites provide copyright-friendly images you can use freely as long as you abide by any terms of use provided by the owner of the content. 

Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) is a nonprofit organization that helps overcome legal obstacles to the sharing of knowledge and creativity to address the world’s pressing challenges.

CC provides Creative Commons licenses and public domain tools that give every person and organization in the world a free, simple, and standardized way to grant copyright permissions for creative and academic works; ensure proper attribution; and allow others to copy, distribute, and make use of those works. 

License Elements
Image Condition Description



Credit must be given to the creator


(Share Alike)

Adaptations must be shared under the same terms


(Non Commercial)

Only noncommercial uses of the work are permitted


(No Derivatives)

No derivatives or adaptations of the work are permitted

Some content in this guide has been copied and adapted from licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0)

Types of Creative Commons Licenses

From: How To Attribute Creative Commons Photos by Foter, licensed under CC BY SA 3.0

How to attribute?

For example:

                How To Attribute Creative Commons Photos by Foter, licensed under CC BY SA 3.0

                Table by Foter / CC BY-SA

  • Title (or keyword for hyperlink)
  • Author
  • Source
  • License

What are Alternate Formats?

Alternate Formats are different formats (either printed or electric) of primary documents. The goal of Alternate formats is to guarantees an equal access and opportunity to the information for everyone. Providing alternative formats makes content more accessible for everybody, including individuals with a disability. 

Some common alternate formats are:

  • Electronic Text (Word, PDF, PowerPoint, etc.)
  • Large Print
  • Closed Captioning
  • Digital Audio (e.g. MP3)
  • Braille

Where should I contact?

You may ask your instructors for alternate formats or contact Centre for Accessible Learning

For Students, the Centre for Accessible Learning provides a wide range of services and educational accommodations for students with a documented disability, including general anxiety disorder and depression.



  • Lansdowne: 250-370-3312

  • Interurban: 250-370-4049


Further detail: Centre for Accessible Learning