Copyright protects literary, artistic, dramatic and musical works, as well as sound recordings, performances, and communication signals, published in a variety of formats, ranging from books, articles, posters, manuals and graphs, to CDs, DVDs, software, databases and websites.
In Canada, copyright protection arises automatically when any one of the above types of works is created and generally continues for 50 years after the author’s death. Use of a work in Canada is governed by the Canadian law and generally covered by the Canadian Copyright Act.
To facilitate use of copyright-protected works for faculty and students, McGill University has entered into various agreements and licenses with copyright owners (publishers of subscription-based journals and databases) and copyright collectives representing copyright owners, including Copibec (see Copyrighted readings & myCourses).
|Type of work||Duration of copyright|
|Literary works||50 years after the death of the creator|
|Sound recordings||70 years after the release date|
|Photographs (taken before 1949)||In public domain|
|Photographs (taken between 1949 and 7 November 2012)||
50 years after the death of the creator
|Photographs (taken after 7 November 2012)||
Generally, 50 years after the death of the creator but may vary
Unpublished work (creator died before 1 January 1949)
|In public domain|
|Unpublished work (creator died between 1 January 1949 and 31 December 1998)||31 December 2049|
|Unpublished work (creator died after 31 December 1998)||50 years after the death of the creator|
|Work published posthumously before 1 January 1999||End of calendar year of publication + 50 years|
|Published Crown works||50 years after the date of publication|
|Unpublished Crown works||Perpetual copyright|
NB: It is important to distinguish "fair dealing" from "fair use." The fair use exception in U.S. copyright law is NOT the equivalent of fair dealing in Canadian law. Make sure that you consider the Canadian law and are not relying on U.S. information.
Fair dealing is a user’s right in copyright law permitting use, or "dealing" with, a copyright-protected work without permission or payment of copyright royalties. The fair dealing exception in the Copyright Act allows to use copyright material for the purpose of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire, or parody provided that the use is "fair." To determine whether the use is "fair" courts usually consider following factors:
It is not necessary that the use meets every one of these factors in order to be fair and no one factor is determinative by itself. In assessing whether your use is fair, a court would look at the factors as a whole to determine if, on balance, the use is fair.
An example of the interpretation of fair dealing is the Fair Dealing Guidelines from the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada.