Skip to main content

Copyright

Information about respecting Canadian copyright law in your work at Centennial.

Introduction

This section includes information about using copyright-protected images, from print and online sources, in your work at Centennial.

Canadian copyright laws protect artistic works, a term which “includes paintings, drawings, maps, charts, plans, photographs, engravings, sculptures, works of artistic craftmanship, architectural works, and compilations of artistic works” (Copyright Act, 2).

Images are artistic works, whether they come from print or online sources.

Look for images for your online or hybrid course in eCentennial? 

Find Free Images

 

Images & fair dealing

The fair dealing exemption in the Canadian Copyright Act states that you may reproduce or display images for the purposes of education or training, as long as the audience primarily consists of students at Centennial, without infringing copyright. The exemption also covers several other activities: research, private study, criticism and review, news reporting, parody, and satire.

However, copying substantial portions of works without permission is not permitted (Copyright Act, 3.1). The table below should help you evaluate whether you can use a copyright-protected image.

Always remember to cite the source.

See Fair Dealing Explained and the Centennial College Fair Dealing Policy for Copyright-Protected Work for further information. If you have further questions, please contact us.

Copying, distributing, & displaying images for educational purposes

Source Explanation
Library databases

The use of database content is governed by the licenses Centennial signs with database vendors. You should check CLEAR for usage restrictions before using images from our databases.

Where possible, we recommend creating stable links rather than copying images.

You can quickly access licensed images by clicking on Images under the "E-Resources & E-Books" section of the library website.

Print

The Centennial College Fair Dealing Policy for Copyright-Protected Work permits you to copy and share one image from a copyright-protected work with many images, such as a book or journal article. You should only make one copy per student.

Share images with your students by:

  • Uploading scanned versions to eCentennial
  • Handing out photocopies in class
  • Including them in slide presentations
  • Creating course reserves through the library

Check for clearly visible notices that prohibit educational use. Copying beyond the fair dealing limits requires permission from copyright holders—contact us to arrange clearance.

Online—most work

Most online works are copyright-protected, including artistic works such as photos, charts, and tables. The Centennial College Fair Dealing Policy for Copyright-Protected Work permits you to copy and share one image from a copyright-protected work with many images, such as a website. You should only make one copy per student.

Share images with your students by:

  • Uploading scanned versions to eCentennial
  • Handing out photocopies in class
  • Including them in slide presentations
  • Creating course reserves through the library

You should also ensure that any images you share are:

  • Posted by the copyright holder or with their consent
  • Freely accessible with no technological protection measures ("digital locks") (Copyright Act, 30.04 (3))

Where possible, we recommend linking to online images rather than copying them.

Check for clearly visible notices that prohibit educational use. Copying more than one image per work, even when the excerpts represent less than 10% of the work, may require permission from copyright holders—contact us to arrange clearance.

Online—open access

You can freely share many online images with your students, including works:

  • Licensed under Creative Commons
  • Published by the United States government
  • Within the public domain
  • Not eligible for copyright protection

You should always double-check image rights before use, especially when modifying them. You should only distribute one copy per student.

Share images with your students by:

  • Uploading scanned versions to eCentennial
  • Handing out photocopies in class
  • Including them in slide presentations
  • Creating course reserves through the library

Please consult Finding Free Images for more information about finding shareable images online.

Microsoft Office—clipart

You can share clipart from Microsoft Office with your students, but you must include the following citation: “Used with permission from Microsoft.”

 

Creating mash-ups

Canadian copyright laws allow you to create user-generated content (“mash-ups”) for your class using copyrighted materials, including images, without infringing copyright (Copyright Act, 29.21 (1)). Examples of instructional mash-ups include:

  • Slide presentations
  • Instructional videos
  • Tables and diagrams
You can create mash-ups for non-commercial purposes only, and you must include source attribution for all content used..

You must also ensure that each use meets the following criteria:

  • The content is legitimate
    • Online content: it was posted by the copyright holder or with their consent
    • Other content: you use a non-infringing copy (Copyright Act, 29.21 (1) (c))
  • There are no technological protection measures (“digital locks”) preventing access to the content—bypassing digital locks is not permitted, even for legal purposes (Copyright Act, 30.04 (3))
  • There are no clearly visible notices that expressly prohibit educational use—this includes any licenses or contracts (Copyright Act, 30.04 (4) (b))

Copyright terms & the public domain

Some images belong in the public domain, meaning that you can use, share, and adapt public them free of charge, without written permission from the author or copyright holder. Works may have entered the public domain for several reasons, including:

  • The copyright term has expired
  • The work was not eligible for copyright protection in the first place
  • The copyright holder has authorized the public to use the work without permission or payment

When a fixed amount of time has passed, images and other works automatically enter the public domain.

How long do copyright terms last?

In Canada

  • Most works: Until the the death of the creator or author, plus 50 years after the end of that calendar year (Copyright Act, 6).
  • Crown publications: Copyright “where any work is, or has been, prepared or published under the direction or control of Her Majesty or any government department” lasts for 50 years after the end of the calendar year in which it was published (Copyright Act, 12). However, this section also stands “without prejudice to any rights or privileges of the Crown”, and therefore copyright may persist indefinitely in some cases. Permissions for Crown materials may need to be arranged through departmental contact points; contact us to arrange these permissions.

In the United States

  • Published on or after January 1, 1978: Until the death of the creator or author, plus 70 years (Copyright Law of the United States of America, § 302).
  • Other works: Before the signing of the Copyright Act of 1976, copyright terms were much more complicated. Works created before 1923 have entered the public domain, but works published between 1923 and 1977 may or may not have copyright protection; works created but not published during this period are also governed by different rules (Copyright Law of the United States of America, § 304). If you are unsure whether a publication from the United States is protected by copyright, contact us.
chat loading...