Skip to main content

Copyright: Copyright Basics

This guide provides information to Capilano University employees and students regarding copyright, license agreements, and related topics. This guide does not provide legal advice.

FAQs: Copyright Basics

What is copyright?

What laws govern copyright in Canada and at Capilano University?

What licenses/agreements govern copyright at Capilano University?

What does copyright cover?

How long does copyright last?

What rights does the copyright holder have?

What is 'fair dealing'?

What are 'moral rights'?

What is 'public domain'?

How can I tell if a work is covered by copyright?


What is copyright?

Copyright is a set of exclusive rights granted by law to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute, and adapt the work. These rights give copyright holders control over the use of their work.

What laws govern copyright in Canada and at Capilano University?

Copyright in Canada is governed by the Copyright Act.

What licenses/agreements govern copyright at Capilano University?

The University also has agreements with vendors, which deal with the access and use of the Library's electronic resources (e.g. databases, ebooks). Learn more in the Licensing section of this guide.

What does copyright cover?

Copyright covers literary, dramatic, artistic, and musical works, sound recordings, performances, and communication signals. This includes works on the Internet. See the Copyright Act for details.

Return to top

How long does copyright last?

Copyright spans "the life of the author, the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies, and a period of fifty years following the end of that calendar year." See the Copyright Act for details. 

What rights does the copyright holder have?

Generally, the creator of the work holds copyright. See the Copyright Act for details.

What is 'fair dealing'?

The Copyright Act includes exceptions for “fair dealing” for the purpose of research, private study, education, parody or satire. See the Copyright Act for details.

What are 'moral rights'?

The author of a work has the right to protect the integrity of that work, as well as the right to always be identified as the author of that work, or the right to remain anonymous. See the Copyright Act for details.

What is 'public domain'?

Works in the public domain are owned by the public and are free of copyright restrictions. Works can be in the public domain because the copyright term expired, the work is not eligible for copyright, or the author has released the work into the public domain.

Public domain does NOT equal publicly available. In other words, if a work is publicly available (e.g. on the Internet) is is not necessarily part of the public domain.

See Government of Canada Publications for details.

How can I tell if a work is covered by copyright?

Copyright is created automatically with the work. Best practice is to assume the work is covered by copyright. If you are unsure of the copyright status of a work, or whether Capilano University Library has or can obtain a licence for use of the work, contact the Library.

Return to top