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Copyright Information & Resources

Getting Started

The library helps to support the university community in working within the limits of the Canadian Copyright Act. While we facilitate copyright compliance at Lakehead University, it is the responsibility of all faculty, students and staff members to ensure that any distribution of copied materials follows the rules set out by the law.

The copying and distributing of published, copyrighted materials is permitted under certain circumstances.  The concepts of fair dealing and educational exceptions in the Canadian Copyright Act, or the licences for the Lakehead University Library’s electronic resources provide the legal framework for copying for educational uses.

The information obtained from or through this website is provided as guidelines for using works for educational purposes and is not intended to constitute legal advice. 

What is Copyright?

Copyright is the protection that is given to materials and their owners or creators.  Copyright protects a wide range of materials including all original literacy, dramatic, musical and artistic works as well as sound recordings and broadcast signals. 

As a general rule only the owner of copyright, very often the creator of the work, is allowed to reproduce the work in question or to permit anyone else to do so.  Copyright in Canada is governed by the Copyright Act and the Copyright Modernization Act which reformed the Copyright Act and was passed in June 2012. 

The Copyright Modernization Act, along with major decisions made by the Supreme Court of Canada have broadened the scope of fair dealing exceptions.


Important exceptions are included in the Copyright Act and may apply to your use.  Some of the most common exceptions include:

Fair Dealing (Section 29.1-29.2): this is the most commonly used exception and is outlined in detail in the Fair Dealing section of this guide.

Non Commercial User Generated Content (Section 29.21):  This exception allows for the use of copyright protected material in the creation of a new work (ie video mash-up, remixed music) as long as the new work is non-commercial.  

Educational Institutions: (Sections 29.4-30.4)  this exception provides educational institutions with additional permissions to copy and distribute within certain conditions.   

It is not an infringement of copyright for an educational institution or a person acting under its authority to:

  • copy a work for display;
  • reproduce, translate or perform it in public on the premises;
  • communicate it by telecommunication to the public if situated on the premises;
  • copy and play a news program for students,
  • publish short passages in collections and make available in an online course.

Ensure that your intended use is permitted by consulting the wording in the Act.

Libraries, Archives and Museums (Sections 30.1-30.4):  allows employees of libraries, archives and museums (LAM) to make copies for maintenance or management of a collection, including in an alternate format if the original format  is obsolete or soon to be obsolete; LAM employees can make a copy on behalf of the patron if the patron is informed of conditions, including a digital copy if only one copy is printed and the digital copy is destroyed.

Persons with Perceptual Disabilities (Section 32):   It is not an infringement of copyright for a person with a perceptual disability to make a copy or a sound recording , translate, adapt or reproduce in sign language of a literary, musical, artistic or dramatic work (not a cinematographic work) in a format that meets their needs.