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.
Whether in print or digital form, text is protected by copyright. Most formats are protected, such as books, articles, Web sites and their components, as well as most types of works, such as poems, plays, novels or essays.
One may make a copy of a portion of a work if it is fair dealing or if a special exception in the Copyright Act permits it. Otherwise a special agreement must exist between the copyright holder and the user, such as through a licence agreement.
The Copibec licence governs the creation of course packs, which are, technically, multiple copies of works. As well, this licence allows for making multiple copies of a work for free classroom distribution. The photocopies must not exceed the lesser of 25 pages or 10% of the total work. In addition, a full article can be copied, as well as a full chapter from a book, as long as it does not exceed 20% of a book. Note that not all publishers are represented by this licence. Verify the Copibec site for details. The publisher of the work must not be in the Copibec exclusion list (PDF).
It is important to understand that the Copibec licence does not apply to users' fair dealing rights.
How much or how little one can deliver electronically to one or many colleagues, students or staff depends upon the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright Act.
Proper citing of sources is essential in academic work. However, it is not part of copyright. For more information on citing and quoting material, consult the Academic Code of Conduct as well as A guide to academic integrity. Guides to citation styles (such as MLA, APA) are available on the Libraries' Web site.