Welcome to the Copyright Information Page for Students!
This page is currently being updated.
What do students need to know about the Canadian Copyright Act?
The most important concept you should know about is the fair dealing exception to infringement, which covers many ways you might use copyright-protected works, both at Centennial and at home. You may have heard of fair use in the United States: the two concepts are related, but Canadian fair dealing differs from fair use in the United States.
Section 29 of the Copyright Act defines fair dealing and lists the exempted activities for which it applies:
29 Fair dealing for the purpose of research, private study, education, parody or satire does not infringe copyright.
You can use short excerpts of copyright-protected works without permission or payment for any of the exempted purposes. Criticism, review, and news reporting are also exempted activities, but they have special requirements. Examples of other actions you might take under the exemption include:
The exemptions for research, private study, and education mean that your work at Centennial is covered by fair dealing. Please consult Fair Dealing Explained for more details on the exemption.
Some of the exempted purposes also require citing the source and author of the work, but in order to avoid plagiarism, you should always cite the source in your work at Centennial:
29.1 Fair dealing for the purpose of criticism or review does not infringe copyright if the following are mentioned:
(a) the source; and
(b) if given in the source, the name of the
(i) author, in the case of a work,
(ii) performer, in the case of a performer’s performance,
(iii) maker, in the case of a sound recording, or
(iv) broadcaster, in the case of a communication signal.
Please consult the Copyright vs. Plagiarism section in for more details.
You can also use copyright-protected works to create new works, such as research papers, presentations, and videos, but there are some exceptions:
29.21 (1) It is not an infringement of copyright for an individual to use an existing work or other subject-matter or copy of one, which has been published or otherwise made available to the public, in the creation of a new work or other subject-matter in which copyright subsists and for the individual — or, with the individual’s authorization, a member of their household — to use the new work or other subject-matter or to authorize an intermediary to disseminate it, if
(a) the use of, or the authorization to disseminate, the new work or other subject-matter is done solely for non-commercial purposes;
(b) the source — and, if given in the source, the name of the author, performer, maker or broadcaster — of the existing work or other subject-matter or copy of it are mentioned, if it is reasonable in the circumstances to do so;
(c) the individual had reasonable grounds to believe that the existing work or other subject-matter or copy of it, as the case may be, was not infringing copyright; and
(d) the use of, or the authorization to disseminate, the new work or other subject-matter does not have a substantial adverse effect, financial or otherwise, on the exploitation or potential exploitation of the existing work or other subject-matter — or copy of it — or on an existing or potential market for it, including that the new work or other subject-matter is not a substitute for the existing one.
In other words, make sure that you are using legal copies of copyright-protected works, do not benefit commercially from your project or prevent other copyright holders from benefiting from theirs, and always cite the source.
Copyright infringement and plagiarism are related, but they are very different concepts. What is the difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism?
Copyright infringement happens when we copy another person's work without permission or payment. The driving force behind copyright protection is revenue: when we infringe copyright, we steal compensation from copyright holders.
Plagiarism happens when we claim another person's ideas as our own, which is an academic offense and unrelated to copyright. Whenever you do not mention using another person's ideas in your work, you commit plagiarism—always.
Creating proper citations for your work can seem daunting, but the library has resources to answer your questions!