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Copyright for Students

Information for students at Centennial College about respecting copyright, library licenses, navigating eReserves and protecting their intellectual property.

What's in this guide?

It is important that faculty, staff, and students of Centennial College respect Canadian copyright law. This guide will help you understand the basics of copyright and point you to further resources about the use of copyright-protected works. 

There are many resources available to help you meet your learning and research goals at Centennial while respecting copyright. Explore the tabs to the left to discover how you can use copyright-protected works in your work at the College and to learn more about Canadian copyright law.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us using the sidebar on the left.


Note: The information obtained from or through this website is provided as guidelines for using works for educational purposes and is not intended to constitute legal advice.  The Copyright Services Librarian is not a lawyer or legal expert in copyright law and is able to provide a professional and not a legal opinion. A professional opinion is offered for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice.  

What is copyright?

Despite its importance, copyright is often a misunderstood concept. What exactly is copyright?

Copyright is a legal concept that protects a person's economic and moral rights to any literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic works they create. Only copyright holders can reproduce, distribute, and share these works with others, or permit others to do so.

In other words, copyright is the right to copy.

Economic & moral rights

Copyright assigns two separate rights to copyright holders:

Economic and moral rights sometimes come into conflict. For example, during the Christmas season of 1981, the Toronto Eaton Centre placed red bows around the necks of Michael Snow’s sculpture of Canada Geese in flight. Snow argued ”that his naturalistic composition has been made to look ridiculous by the addition of ribbons and [suggested] it is not unlike dangling earrings from the Venus de Milo”. The judge agreed, and ordered the ribbons removed as they were “prejudicial to [Snow’s] honour or reputation”.

Although Snow had no economic rights to the sculpture, he was able to control how the work was used by exercising his moral rights. In other words, moral rights trump economic rights.

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