What the new Copyright Act means to you

On November 7th, 2012 a series of amendments to copyright law came into force to allow educators, students and libraries to make greater use of copyrighted digital materials and better address the challenges and opportunities of the internet (1)

Here are a series of FAQ—frequently asked questions—that outline some of the changes.

1)      Can I forward an article to classmates or colleagues from a journal found at SMH?

You can forward articles to persons affiliated with SMH. The library and by extension the hospital is bound by a licensing agreement with publishers that forbid us to share materials with people not employed by, or studying at St Michael’s Hospital.

2)      If I request an article from another library, can that article be sent to me electronically?

Yes, but for your use only.  Copyright law demands that you print the article and delete it within 5 days. You may not forward this electronic copy, or save it on a computer.

3)      Can I print more than one copy of an article and distribute it to a class?

Fair Dealing allows recognized educational institutions to distribute paper copies of copyrighted material. Neither instructors nor students are allowed to forward electronic copies of published articles unless they are clearly marked as open access.

4)      I want to use a photograph which I got off the internet for a handout or pamphlet, is this allowed

Photographs are the property of the photographer and you will have to ask for his/her permission. Photographs are protected for 50 years after the death of the photographer, plus the remainder of the calendar year in which the photographer died. See (S 59(3) and [s6]) of the Copyright Act.

5)      Can I reproduce a graph or a photograph from an article for a presentation to a class or a conference?

As long as the presentation is for educational or research purposes, it is not an infringement of copyright to reproduce a graph or photograph from a published article.

(1)    Copyright Jean Dryden 2012

Written by Marina Simms, Library Technician

New copyright ruling may be good news for educators

On July 12, 2012 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on a number of copyright cases.  The ruling has positive implications for educators.  Education will now be included in fair dealing categories.  Fair dealing allows for limited and non-commercial copying for stated purposes.  While research or private study had been included under fair dealing, education had not been and thus it was previously forbidden for teachers to make copies of works for distribution to students.  This new ruling will allow educators to make copies for distribution to students.

Note that the previous limits regarding the amount that can be copied will still apply.  These limits are open to interpretation, with the Copyright Act stating they should be an “insubstantial or very small portion of the work”.  Often the following guidelines are used:

Up to 10% of a published work or the following, whichever is greater:

  • an entire newspaper article or page
  • an entire single short story, play, poem, essay or article from a book or periodical issue
  • an entire article from an encyclopedia, dictionary, bibliography, or similar reference book
  • an entire reproduction of an artistic work (including drawing, sculpture, painting, etc) from a book or periodical issue containing other works
  • an entire chapter which is 20% or less of a book

Please note that I am not a legal expert on copyright, and if in doubt I would advise you to seek legal counsel.

Sandy Iverson, MEd, MLIS
Manager, Library and Information Services
St. Michael’s Hospital