UM Copyright Guidelines
Copyright is taken seriously at the university. All UM community members are legally and ethically obligated to comply with copyright law. Consult these UM Copyright Guidelines for information on a variety of topics relating to copyright.
All information from the UM Copyright Office is provided to the University of Manitoba community for informational and educational purposes and is not to be construed or relied upon as professional or legal opinion or advice.
What is copyright?
Copyright is a type of intellectual property. Copyright exists in every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, as well as in performers’ performances, sound recordings and broadcast signals.
Copyright protects the way an idea is expressed, but it does not protect the idea itself. In some cases, copyright does not apply at all. For example, copyright does not protect facts, statistics, data (except in limited circumstances), equations, news, simple drawings, methods, plots, characters, titles, names, short phrases or slogans, although trademark protection may be applicable in some of these examples.
Copyright in Canada
In Canada, copyright-protected material is governed by the Copyright Act. A work is automatically copyright protected in Canada as soon as it is created, whether or not a copyright statement or the © copyright symbol is used. The copyright owner is usually the creator of the work, but it may also be a publisher, an inheritor, an employer or another entity. In general, a work is protected by copyright for 50 years after the death of the creator.
All works are subject to Canadian copyright law when used in Canada, even works that were created outside of Canada. When works are used outside of Canada, they will be subject to other legal jurisdictions.
University of Manitoba community members are frequently creators of works that are subject to protections under the Copyright Act. Community members are also users of copyright protected materials as they study, research and teach at the university.
The Copyright Act aims to strike a balance between creator rights and user rights. In an educational environment, it is important to understand copyright limits and allowances.
Copyright not only protects other people’s works – it also protects your own original creations.
Copyright is automatic as soon as you create a work, and registration is not required. A copyright owner is usually the creator of a work, but it may also be a publisher, an inheritor, an employer or another entity. When publishing, creators often assign (give) copyright to a publisher as part of the publication agreement.
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine copyright ownership based on differing roles and types of creative works produced by UM community members. When in doubt, consult the UM Intellectual Property Policy for clarification on intellectual property ownership.
Students own copyright to their own papers, essays, theses, etc., although the rules around software can deviate. See the UM Intellectual Property Policy for details.
A student who is also a sessional instructor may retain the copyright in works produced as a student, while the university may own the copyright in works produced in the course of their sessional employment.
Under the UMFA Collective Agreement, UM faculty members own the copyright for their own works.
This includes works such as lecture slides, tests, manuscripts, etc.
For more information, visit Intellectual property in the UMFA Collective Agreement.
UM academic and administrative staff
The Copyright Act states the copyright in works created by an employee carrying out their normal work duties belongs to their employer unless there is an explicit agreement to the contrary.
For UM staff who are not UMFA members, the university owns the copyright for works created as part of their employment. See the UM Intellectual Property Policy for details.
Rights of the copyright owner
Knowing what you are allowed to do with other people’s copyrighted material will help you understand what others are allowed to do with yours. Copyright provides you with certain rights as a creator —including the right to sell or distribute the work, to licence the use of your work, to assign the copyright, or to bequeath it to someone in your Will. Copyright lasts for the duration of the author’s life plus an additional 50 years following their death.
As the copyright owner in the work you created, you can determine how you would like this work to be shared. For example, you may choose:
- to restrict all rights (meaning your explicit permission is required every time your work is reproduced unless a Copyright Act exemption applies)
- to make the work freely available (such as Open Access publishing), or
- to apply a licence with specific terms (such as Creative Commons)
See Public domain, Creative Commons and Open Access for more information about publishing options.
Writers often transfer copyright ownership to a publisher. However, it may be possible to retain some rights, such as the right to use and distribute the complete work for teaching purposes, by negotiating the agreement. Contact the Copyright Office for guidance.
Copyright vs. moral rights
Your copyright and moral rights are distinct. Unless you waived (gave up) your moral rights, you will continue to own moral rights to the work you created even if you no longer own the copyright to it.
Moral rights include the right of attribution (to be associated with the work as the author, to remain anonymous or to use a pseudonym). Moral rights also protect the integrity of the work by preventing others from distorting, modifying& or mutilating the work, and lets you control circumstances where the work may be used.
For example, a photographer for Dog Lovers magazine may only want their photographs to be associated with no-kill animal shelters and to limit association with any shelter that did not follow this policy because it could affect their reputation as a no-kill shelter advocate.
While moral rights may be waived or given to an heir, they cannot be transferred to someone else in the same way that copyright can.
UM Copyright Guidelines
Find a wide range of topics relating to Canadian copyright.
Attribution and citation
The Copyright Act requires users to credit the source when copying or communicating short excerpts from a copyright protected work for the purpose of news reporting, criticism or review. Beyond the requirements in the Copyright Act, academic integrity obligations require the user to provide proper attribution or citation when copying any work.
For information about correct citation and style guides, see Undergraduate help: Citing on the University of Manitoba Libraries website.
For information about academic integrity at UM, see Academic Integrity.
Modifying or adapting
Being inspired by an idea expressed by another individual and creating a new work as a result is acceptable without permission.
However, modifying or adapting a copy of a work may require permission. If in doubt, obtain permission. As in all cases, ensure that copying the work is permitted by a Copyright Act provision or with permission of the copyright owner before modifying or adapting.
Creating a derivative work, such as a revision, translation, condensation, elaboration, fictionalization, dramatization, art reproduction, musical arrangement or any new version of a work, will likely require permission.
Whether modifying, adapting, creating a derivative work or using a work as inspiration, attribution or proper citation is required.
Copyright infringement is using a work in a way that only the copyright owner is entitled to use it. It is an infringement to copy or communicate more than an insubstantial portion of a copyright protected work, either physically or digitally, without the permission of the copyright owner, unless an exemption in the Copyright Act applies.
The definition of insubstantial will vary depending on the length of the work. For example, an insubstantial portion from a book might equal a few paragraphs.
Copyright Act exemptions that allow a university community member to copy more than an insubstantial amount are described in the Guidelines.
Copyright infringement can carry serious consequences, including civil or criminal proceedings. It can also be subject to consequences under the university's Use of Copyright Protected Materials Policy. Whether copies are made for commercial or non-commercial purposes, the copyright infringer can be liable for damages in the thousands of dollars.
You may be liable for copyright infringement even if you made an infringing copy on someone else’s behalf. Likewise, if a university employee made an infringing copy during the course of their normal duties of employment, the university itself could also be liable for the infringement.
It is important to take responsibility and ensure the legality of what you are copying and consider how it can impact the wider university community. Copyright compliance is a legal, academic and professional responsibility.
Notices of claimed copyright infringement (Notice-and-Notice)
Notice-and-notice is the name of the rules put into place by Sections 41.25 and 41.26 of the Copyright Act. The notice-and-notice provision requires the university, as an internet service provider, to forward notices sent by copyright owners regarding possible copyright infringement by users. The university takes no position on the validity of notices received, and simply complies with its obligation to forward the notices.
University of Manitoba internet users are generally not identifiable by copyright owners. Copyright owners can identify IP addresses provided by the University of Manitoba, and the university cross checks its records for the specific student or staff member who has been assigned to a specific IP address. The notice sent to the university by the copyright owner is then forwarded to the identified user.
Torrent clients, applications and programs installed on a device may continue running in the background even after they have been shut down. Deleting or disabling torrent programs can help ensure you are not engaging in practices that infringe copyright.
University of Manitoba internet users should protect their passwords and must not share their UM account information with others. If you receive notices when you are certain you have not engaged in any copyright infringing activities, consider changing your password and securing your Internet access
Library licences and other licences
A licence is a binding contract between parties, and thus supersedes other considerations including the Copyright Act’s exemptions (such as fair dealing).
The university has entered into numerous licence agreements with publishers and suppliers to obtain access to published works in electronic form. Digital licence information, including copying allowances, is included with the library record. This information should be verified every time an e-resource is used because licence terms may change from time to time. Note that specific library titles may be offered by more than one supplier and that holdings or dates may vary from one supplier to another. Select the supplier which has copying allowances and holdings best suited to your needs.
A licence may prohibit the use of excerpts in a learning management system (such as UM Learn) or in a course pack. Licences will generally limit the amount of a journal or book that can be copied, who the material can be shared with, or how the licenced material can be used (for example, only for non-commercial purposes).
Using permalinks to library-licenced resources is generally preferred under licence terms and by the Libraries because linking helps monitor resource use. However, some library licences prohibit linking, so library licences must always be consulted prior to resource use.
Both the licence terms and conditions, as well as UM Copyright Guidelines, must be considered. In the case of conflict, the terms and conditions of the licence take precedence over UM Copyright Guidelines. In most cases, library licences will permit linking to the library record even when the licence otherwise prohibits copying.
It is important to be familiar with and to follow the terms of licences for UM resources. Failure to do so can result in the suspension of these resources for the entire university community.
For information about restrictions imposed on licenced electronic library resources, see the University of Manitoba Libraries Conditions of Access.
Some resources have other types of licences, such as Creative Commons works. All resources with a Creative Commons licence may be shared freely for non-commercial purposes without permission, provided attribution is given. Some Creative Commons resources have licence restrictions regarding adapting, cropping, commercial use, etc. See the Creative Commons website for more details.
Other library resources and equipment
Document delivery / interlibrary loan
UM Copyright Guidelines apply to copying and communicating a short excerpt of a copyright protected work made available from library services such as document delivery and interlibrary loan. With certain safeguards in place, University Libraries may apply fair dealing or other Copyright Act exemptions in distributing material to clients.
Do not redistribute material received through Document Delivery that originated from another library’s electronic resource because their licence likely prohibits sharing a document delivery copy. However, a chapter from a paper-based book or an article from a paper-based journal that was scanned and sent via Document Delivery can be shared if it qualifies as a fair dealing copy.
Library copiers, scanners and other equipment
Library clients are responsible for their own use of library photocopiers, scanners and other equipment. The university has posted a notice near photocopiers or scanners in the Libraries advising that copyright law governs the copying and distribution (in any format) of copyright protected works, and that the university is not responsible for infringing copies made by clients.
Course pack and custom courseware
A course pack, or custom courseware, is a compilation of excerpts of different works to be used either as required or supplementary readings by students enrolled in a course of study.
All course packs must be processed and sold by the University Bookstore directly to students. Cost recovery is a guiding principle behind the production and sale of course packs to ensure that no profit is made.
Material for a course pack is carefully reviewed for copyright compliance by a university copyright expert. Fair dealing is sometimes applied to material in a course pack to help facilitate students’ access to copyright protected materials, but it does not substitute for the purchase of the work copied. Transactional copyright permission is sought when fair dealing or other exemptions do not apply.
To give students the choice of how to access course materials, the same short excerpt may be made available to students in a course pack, an email, a class handout, or through UM Learn. However, no more than a short excerpt from a work from across all editions and formats of a copyright protected work may be copied and made available to students during a specific course of study.
For more information about course packs, visit the University Bookstore.
Some copyright owners use a digital lock (also known as a technological protection measure) to restrict access to a copyright protected work and/or to limit the use of such a work. In most cases, the Copyright Act prohibits users from circumventing digital locks. However, if circumvention is required to accommodate a disability, an Exemption for Persons with Perceptual Disabilities may apply.
If copying or communicating a copyright protected work falls outside UM Copyright Guidelines or Copyright Act exemptions, permission from the copyright owner must be secured. In some cases, there may be multiple copyright owners for one work. Obtaining permission via a fillable form, email or other written method is strongly recommended. The Copyright Office can provide advice or assistance in obtaining permission.
Once permission has been obtained, it is advisable to note on the copy that permission was secured (for example, “Copied with permission”) and to retain a copy of the permission in the event that copying or communicating the work is ever challenged. If permission cannot be secured, consider using an alternative work. See Public domain, Creative Commons and Open Access.
Public domain, Creative Commons and Open Access
In general, the term of copyright lasts for 50 years after the death of the creator. The copyright term varies for some types of works, such as anonymous works, photographs, movies and sound recordings. In some cases, the copyright term is 70 years after the date of release.
When the copyright term expires, the work enters the public domain. A work in the public domain is no longer protected by copyright and can be copied, distributed, communicated, adapted, modified, translated, etc. without permission. See the University of Alberta’s public domain flowchart to help determine when copyright expires.
Examples of online resources that list public domain works include Internet Archive,Gutenberg Canada,Project Gutenberg and Wikipedia.The British Library and the New York Public Library both host extensive public domain photo collections.
Creative Commons is an organization offering standard licences that creators can choose to adopt, enabling them to share their works freely with clear licence terms for future users.
UM Libraries has a variety of images in its UM Digital Collections licensed under Creative Commons.
Open Access (OA) is a model of scholarly communication that improves access to research. Open Access research is made available online without access restrictions and with limited usage restrictions. Visit the SPARC website for more details about OA, the Directory of Open Access Journals to determine which journals are available in this format, and OpenDOAR for a directory of academic open access directories.
Also see the UM Libraries guide Open Access & Scholarly Communications – What you Need to Know for more information about OA publishing.
Canadian federal works may be used for non-commercial purposes without permission unless otherwise noted. In most cases, any amount may be used freely. Though most federal works can be used, an exception to this rule is consultant reports, which are copyrighted by the consultant.
For provincial or municipal works, apply the fair dealing exemption or other exemptions in the Copyright Act. To copy more than a Copyright Act exemption allows, seek permission from the provincial or municipal government.
An out-of-print work might still be protected by copyright. Fair dealing and other copyright considerations apply to all copyright protected works whether in or out-of-print.
Permission is required to copy or communicate an excerpt of a copyright protected out-of-print work that falls outside UM Copyright Guidelines and Copyright Act exemptions.
Your thesis or dissertation
If you are a graduate student working on a thesis, you must consider copyright when using someone else’s copyrighted material as part of the research process or copying material directly into your thesis.
For information specific to graduate students, see the Copyright in thesis or practicum section on Support for students page.
UM Copyright Guidelines may be applied to conferences taking place on University of Manitoba premises with an audience consisting primarily of UM students and faculty. Copyright exemptions referred to in these guidelines may not be available for conference presentations before the public or for commercial purposes.
If your conference presentation contains third-party copyright protected materials, you may only distribute recordings of your presentation or copies of your slides digitally or in print if fair dealing applies, or if a licence or permission from the third-party copyright owner has been obtained.
For conferences taking place at the university, remember that presenters retain the copyright in their presentation as well as any materials they created related to the presentation. Copyright permission and consent to record must be obtained from the presenter prior to broadcasting or recording the presentation or sharing the recording and any presentation materials.
If the conference is not affiliated with the University of Manitoba, UM Copyright Guidelines cannot be used as a guide. However, there may be Copyright Act exemptions (such as fair dealing) that apply to your use.
If you are presenting at a conference taking place outside of Canada, apply the law of that nation. Laws can differ significantly between countries and you should not assume UM Copyright Guidelines will apply.