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Copyright: Copyright Home



Copyright literally means the “right to copy” and generally refers to the exclusive right to produce or reproduce a work, or any substantial part of one. Copyright law seeks to strike a balance between creator and user rights. Your role is to ensure that when you use copyright material you do so legally and respectfully to the rights of creators.

What Does Copyright Protect?

Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Please note Canadian Government documents are subject to Crown Copyright. While it is possible to register a Copyright in Canada this is not required. Copyright protection is automatic under the law at the point a work exists in a fixed format typically on paper or in the form of a digital file. Copyright does not protect facts, titles, names, short phrases, works for which the copyright has expired (in Canada life of the author plus 50 years), or on works created by the US government.

Making Digital and Paper Copies of Material at Red River College

Three things govern the making of copies in any format at Red River College. Regardless if you are making a PDF or other digital format copy to put on Learn, distributing photocopies in class, or copying resources for you own use as a student or instructor, you are responsible to adhere to federal law and policies around Copyright at Red River College. You can link to the Canadian copyright act and Red River copyright policies below.

Summary of Fair Dealing Guidelines

Please review the Red River College Fair Dealing Policy for full guidelines this section is intended as a quick reference and is not the full policy.



For assistance in determining if your use meets our Fair Dealing Guidelines please use our Fair Dealing Tool for assistance.

  1. College Instructors and staff members may communicate and reproduce, in paper or electronic form, short excerpts from a copyright-protected work for the purposes of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire and parody.
  2. Copying inclusive of the use of images should mention the source (cite the source) and, if given in the source, the name of the author or creator of the work.
  3. Copying or communicating multiple short excerpts from the same copyright-protected work, with the intention of copying or communicating substantially the entire work, is prohibited.
  4. Under the Red River College Fair Dealing Policy you may for the purposes of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire and parody, with proper accreditation to the source (cite the source) use:
    1. up to 10% of a copyright-protected work (including a literary work, musical score, sound recording, and an audiovisual work);
    2. one chapter from a book;
    3. a single article from a periodical;
    4. an entire artistic work (including a painting, print, photograph, diagram, drawing, map, chart, and plan) from a copyright-protected work containing other artistic works;
    5. an entire newspaper article or page;
    6. an entire single poem or musical score from a copyright-protected work containing other poems or musical scores;
    7. an entire entry from an encyclopedia, annotated bibliography, dictionary or similar reference work.

Image Use

Using images differs from using text based resources, because you seldom want to use a portion of the image, the way you do when using short excerpts from text. Often the whole image, which is considered copying the whole work is shared. This usage requires permission from the copyright holder. We encourage those who wish to use images in for teaching and instruction to use Creative Commons images which still  in most cases require accreditation but are generally intended for educational and non-commercial use.

Links do not Infringe Copyright

Linking is always the preferable way of providing access to content. When you download a PDF you make a copy of that resource and are subject to copyright law, and policy. Linking to content does not constitute the making of a copy so you are free to link to publicly available online content like websites, online videos, etc. If you download an online worksheet or copy a blog post for your class you are subject to copyright law and policy.

Linking is rarely a copyright issue but attempt to avoid clearly infringing copies such as full motion pictures that have been uploaded by independent users. (For Example linking to an animated short uploaded by Disney on Youtube would be a legal copy, linking to a full length Disney movie uploaded by user "Sally123" would likely be linking to an infringing copy). Linking to most Youtube videos, especially ones that allow sharing and embedding, is acceptable for teaching and instruction.

Linking to content through the library is always the best option. All of the library’s licensed digital content will have "permalink", “persistent link” or DOIs, as linking options, all of which should work even for off-campus users. Downloading library content as a PDF is generating an unnecessary copy of that resource. This prevents the library from gaining valuable statistics on what resources are being used by students and instructors. Statistics help ensure the library can continue subscribing to resources used by staff and students. Usage statistics are vital to the Library, additionally when you make a PDF the copy of a library resource that copy is subject to the Red River College Fair Dealing Policy where linking to the library resource requires no additional consideration of copyright or citation of work.

Contact the Copyright Officer

Do you have concerns or questions about copyright? Red River College has a self directed Copyright Training program for Faculty and Staff that can help further answer your questions, the college also  has a Copyright Officer on staff with the Library team who is able to assist you with advice on following copyright policy, and is able to assess your course material for potential copyright concerns. If you need to use part of a resource above what is permitted by copyright policy the copyright officer can look into additional licensing options on your behalf, or assist with permission requests to publishers, authors and creators for use of material. The copyright officer can also assist you in sourcing open access, and creative commons resources for use in your teaching and instruction. If you need assistance with copyright as a student or employee of Red River College contact:

Ebony Novakowski
Copyright Officer
Notre Dame Campus CM43 (Library)
P: 204-632-2913