Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Copyright for Faculty & Staff

Copyright information for faculty & staff

General Guidelines

Copyright Guidelines

Ontario Tech University respects both the rights of creators and owners of copyright-protected materials and the rights of users to make certain uses of copyright-protected materials.

Faculty, staff, and students are subject to the protections and obligations outlined in the Copyright Act. Use of copyright-protected material is also subject to the provisions outlined in various agreements and licenses the university has with other copyright owners (for example, online databases or other electronic resources).

Generally, you must seek permission from the copyright owner before you make protected uses of their work unless:

  • the work is in the public domain, such as when the term of the copyright protection under the Copyright Act has expired (usually the life of the author plus 50 years);
  • the university already has permission under an existing licence or agreement;
  • the work is licensed for the applicable use by a Creative Commons licence or other form of public licence;
  • the use is not a substantial part of the work.
    • Under section 3(1) of the Copyright Act, copyright means the sole right to reproduce or perform the work “or a substantial part thereof”.
    • A “substantial part” is a matter of degree and context, decided not just by its quantity but its quality;
  • the use qualifies as fair dealing under sections 29, 29.1, and 29.2 of the Copyright Act; or
  • the use falls within a specific exception set out in the Copyright Act.

Members of the University community are responsible for informing themselves about the parameters of both Canada’s Copyright Act and the institution’s licenses and agreements. They must also ensure that any copying completed in connection with University activities complies with these guidelines.

The Library’s Copyright team is an important resource. We can help you determine whether the University already has an existing licence or agreement that covers your intended use. The Library’s Copyright experts can also work with you to secure appropriate permissions and answer any questions you may have about fair dealing and these guidelines: copyright@ontariotechu.ca.

What is Copyright?

Generally, copyright means the sole or exclusive right to produce or reproduce a work or a substantial part of it in any form, the right to perform the work or any substantial part of it, or if the work is unpublished, copyright includes the right to publish the work or any substantial part of it. In most cases the first owner of copyright is the creator.

In Canada, copyright applies to all original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works provided the conditions of the Copyright Act are met. Copyright also applies to performers' performances, sound recordings and communication signals. 

Copyright automatically applies at the time of creation for works, including:

  • Articles
  • Case Studies
  • Diagrams
  • Books
  • Photographs
  • Artworks
  • Computer Code
  • Maps
  • Live Performances
  • Sheet Music
  • Choreography
  • ...and more

What is not under copyright?

  • Trademarks and patents are different forms of intellectual property protected by law.
    • However, copyright and trademark protection can co-exist in some circumstances.
  • Ideas, themes, methods, processes, concepts
    • However, copyright can protect the expression of these
  • Facts
    • E.G. mailing address or the date of a historical event
  • Works that haven't been fixed in a material form
  • Works that are unoriginal, that did not require skill or judgement to create or that amount to a mere mechanical exercise
  • Works in the public domain, including works for which copyright has expired