Writing a book?  Preparing course materials?  Preparing a thesis? It is important to seek permission from the copyright owner of any material you are going to use. Written permission is required to reproduce the work of another person that is under copyright according to Canadian law. Simply acknowledging that that work belongs to another and providing a credit line does not constitute permission to reproduce it.

Authors are responsible for determining the copyright status of all material that is not their own and for obtaining permission to reproduce material that is not in the public domain.

If your use of a copyright-protected work isn’t permitted by a TRU Library licensed database or by one of the exceptions in the Copyright Act, you will need to ask for permission. Ideally, you would contact TRU’s Intellectual Property Office for assistance.

Obtaining permission to use copyrighted material

You must identify the copyright owner. Check for a copyright notice on the work.  This information is found at the posted or published “Terms of Use” or “Legal Notices”. You may find that the copyright owner is represented by a collective agency (for example: Access Copyright, Canadian Artists Represenation Copyright Collective, Educational Rights Collective of Canada, Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, and Re:Sound) in which case you should deal with the collective directly.

NOTE: If you are unable to determine the copyright owner, contact TRU Intellectual Properties Office at copyright@tru.ca

Information required when asking for permission

When contacting a copyright owner or collective agency to seek copyright permission, you will need to provide this type of information:

An exact description of the item:

  • For a book, include full publication information, including ISBN, edition, year of publication, page numbers, etc.
  • For a website, include the URL which links directly to the item.

A description of the proposed use, including duration and form of distribution:

  • Example: “I wish to use this image in a PowerPoint presentation in a workshop I am giving at [insert name of place] for [insert name of organization] on September 10, 2012. Also, the image will appear on handouts, which will be distributed to 30 participants.”
  • If the proposed use is to post the item on a website, is the website password protected? How many students will have access to the site?

A statement on profit:

  • You must state if you are expecting to gain profit from the use of the copyright material.  For example: “The handouts will not be sold, and no profit will be derived from the use of this image” or “The materials will be used and attributed appropriately in the production and sale of a book.”

Detailed information about you, including contact information:

  • For students, state your name and full contact information (address, phone, email). You may wish to include your program of study.
  • For faculty and staff, state your name, position, and full contact information (address, phone, email).

The permission should be in writing either posted through Canada Post or delivered by an email. Do not rely on a verbal permission. Keep a file record of who gave the permission, what was permitted, the date, and how to contact the person who gave permission.

Obtain permissions to include copyrighted print materials in a course pack

When creating a course package, submit a bibliography of any copyrighted materials to the TRU Intellectual Property Office. This is the latest posting from the IPO’s News webpage:

“Clearing Copyright for the Winter Semester

November 14, 2012

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) would like to gently remind Faculty Members that as the Fall term draws to a close, the Winter term quickly approaches. Please bring your course pack requests for courses starting in January to the Printshop as soon as you can, so that we can ensure copyright is cleared and your materials are ready to use in your courses.

As our offices will be closed from December 25th to January 1st, we would recommend that you have your material requests to the Printshop by December 7th. As always, your materials will be cleared and printed in the order they are received.

If you have any copyright related questions, please contact us any time at copyright@tru.ca.”

To maintain your professional academic integrity and that of TRU, it is advisable to contact the TRU IPO whenever you have questions about what you can and cannot use for your work.

Content in this blog posting has been copied and adapted from a Copyright FAQ from the University of Waterloo under a Creative Commons Attribution -Noncommercial 2.5 Canada Licence.