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A guide to copyright for Royal Roads University faculty, students, and staff.

Additional Resources

Copyright laws try to balance the rights of creators to be paid for, and to control the use of, their works, with the needs of users who want access to material protected by copyright.  This balance is created by providing "legal rights" for creators and "exceptions" to benefit certain users (e.g., educational institutions, libraries, museums, and archives).

In Canada, we follow Canadian legislation, the Copyright Act, even though we may be using materials produced outside of Canada.  And, copyright owners enforce their rights in the countries where the alleged violation of copyright takes place.

The Copyright Act, originally enacted in 1924, was based on the United Kingdom Copyright Act, 1911.  The Canadian Act is administered by Industry Canada; both Industry Canada and Canadian Heritage are responsible for developing policy, and revision of the Act.

There have been major amendments to the Copyright Act over the years. On November 7, 2012, sweeping and significant changes were enacted by Parliament when the majority of Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act, was brought into force.

Théberge v. Galerie d'Art du Petit Champlain Inc., [2002] 2 S.C.R 336, 2002 SCC 34.

CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada, 2004 SCC 13, [2004] 1 SCR 339

Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada v. Bell Canada, 2012 SCC 36, [2012] 2 SCR 326

Re:Sound v. Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada, 2012 SCC 38, [2012] 2 SCR 376

Alberta (Education) v. Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright), 2012 SCC 37, [2012] 2 SCR 345

Rogers Communications Inc. v. Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, 2012 SCC 35, [2012] 2 SCR 283

Entertainment Software Association v. Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, 2012 SCC 34, [2012] 2 SCR 231


Geist, Michael (Ed.). (2013).The Copyright Pentalogy: How the Supreme Court of Canada Shook the Foundations of Canadian Copyright Law. Ottawa, ON: University of Ottawa Press.

Farrow, Ben. (2012, July 24). The Pentalogy: The Supreme Court clarifies Canada's copyright law in five major decision [sic]. IP Osgoode blog entry.

Wikipedia - Alberta (Education) v. Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright)

Wikipedia - CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada

Wikipedia - Entertainment Software Association v. Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada

Wikipedia - Re:Sound v. Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada

Wikipedia - SOCAN v. Bell Canada

Wikipedia - Théberge v. Galerie d'Art du Petit Champlain Inc.

The Copyright Board of Canada - provides links to decisions, legislation, tariffs, unlocatable copyright owners, and FAQs.

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office - explains how to register a copyright and provides basic information through A Guide to Copyrights

Canadian Heritage: Copyright - includes an introduction to copyright, the historical and international context, legislative reform, and links.

World Intellectual Property Organization

Other helpful links

Creative Commons - Provides licenses that allow you to make and use created works with varying degrees of openness.

Open Content Licensing for Educators - A free WikiEducator course (micro Open Online Course or 'mOOC') designed for educators who want to learn more about open education resources, copyright, and creative commons licenses.

CARL / ABRC Fair Dealing in Canada Myths & Facts Guide 

Copyright Blogs

Ariel Katz on intellectual property, competition, innovation and other issues. Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto.  - Lesley Ellen Harris's blog

Deeplinks - The Electronic Frontier Foundation blog

Digital Copyright Canada - Forum coordinated by Russell McOrmond. While the forum focuses on digital copyright, related issues of patents, copyright, trademarks and other sui generis protections are discussed.

Excess Copyright - Blog by Howard Knopf, intellectual property lawyer with Macera & Jarzyna, LLP in Ottawa.

Fair Dealing in Education - Blog by Lisa Di Valentino, dedicated to discussion of copyright and post-secondary institutions in Canada.

IPOsgoode - The Intellectual Property and Technology Program, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University.

Lessig - Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.

Michael Geist -  Law professor at the University of Ottawa and an internationally syndicated columnist on technology law issues with his regular column appearing in the Toronto Star and the Ottawa Citizen.

Sam Trosow - An associate professor at the University of Western Ontario working at the intersection of information policy, librarianship and digital media.

Meera Nair - A collection of writings explaining the law and touching on subjects allied to writing, reading, creativity, innovation, access, domestic politics and international copyright-related activities. 

CanLII Connects - Legal commentary on Canadian court decisions