This web page is currently being updated to reflect recent changes in Canadian copyright laws, specifically the adoption of the Copyright Modernization Act. For more information on the state of copyright in Canada, see the Government of Canada’s Balanced Copyright website.
Images of artistic and visual works covered by the Copyright Act include: paintings, drawings, maps, charts, plans, photographs, engravings, sculptures, works of artistic craftsmanship, architectural works, and compilations of artistic works. Copyright in general continues for 50 years following the year of the producer's death after which the work comes into the public domain.
Photographs have the following added conditions: commissioned photographs belong to the person or organization making the commission. Photographs are covered by copyright for 50 years after the photograph is taken.
Although many images are already available in digital format from various sources, there are numerous images which are available only in paper or slide format. Such images which are covered by copyright can be scanned if they fall under the exceptions outlined in the following sections.
According to Section 29.4 of the Copyright Act, educators can copy a work to project an image of that copy using an overhead projector or similar device. It is arguable that a "similar device" includes data projectors (PowerPoint presentations). However, this exemption does not apply if the image is commercially available on the Canadian market and can be acquired within a reasonable time and for a reasonable price.
Images from commercial databases (ARTstor) for which the library has a licenced agreement can be used in classroom presentations.
Generally, it is necessary to obtain permission to copy as well as distribute a copyright protected work on the Internet, unless it is from a licenced database. However, it is also arguable that images can be used under the following conditions:
You can reproduce copyrighted images for a test or examination given on the premises of an educational institution.
Fair dealing (Section 29.1) allows you to make copies of images that are copyright protected for the purposes of research, private study, criticism, and review.
The Copyright Act protects substantial parts of works which implies that insubstantial parts of copyrighted images can be used. However, there is no clear definition of what constitutes substantial or insubstantial. While some contemporary artists are proponents of using any images in the practice of appropriation art (see the Appropriation Art Web site), such derivative works do not clearly enjoy the benefit of fair dealing. See the viewpoint of CARFAC, the Canadian Artist Representation/le Front des artistes canadiens.
Images in ARTstor can be used for classroom instruction and related classroom activities, student assignments and research, research activities of faculty, public display or public performance as part of a noncommercial scholarly or education presentation, in research and dissertations. Uses of images not permitted by ARTstor include: commercial - such as scholarly publications available for purchase, public performances, as well as adaptation of images for derivative works.
Although there are Web sites that allow free downloading of images, mostly for personal use only, many Web sites include copyrighted images. Permission to use images must be obtained from the copyright owner.
The following Canadian Web site, prepared by the 2Learn.ca Education Society, provides an overview of how to determine the copyright status of images on the Internet: Digital Images and Copyright.
It covers such questions as: