Reflections Newsletter

What is Happening with Copyright @ Western: An Update to the Puzzle - Spring 2015

By Tom Adam, Copyright Advisor to the Provost

We have completed our first full year managing copyright locally at Western, having severed our relationship with Access Copyright in December 2013. In the intervening time a wealth of copyright literacy information and services has been created and made available at Western as part of the Copyright Literacy Project. The foundational project goals are to engage the community in thinking about copyright and to assist faculty, staff and students in making informed and responsible choices whenever the work of others is used, in research, in teaching and learning and in our day to day operations across campus. Our Copyright @ Western website at copyright.uwo.ca is the primary vehicle for housing and providing access to these resources. This copyright update will serve as a refresher concerning the core materials launched with the website in 2013 and introduce you to some new tools that we have added over the past year.

Establishing whether or not securing copyright clearance pertains to your particular circumstances is a critical first step in solving the copyright puzzle. Western’s Copyright Decision Map provides a guide to assist in making this determination, with five simple questions.

The first two clarify whether or not copyright applies at all.

1. Has the term of copyright, which in Canada is typically 50 years following the death of the creator, lapsed?

2. Is your use of protected material substantial enough to require consideration of copyright in the first place?

The next two relate to pre-existing sanctions for copying that may be in place.

3. Does Western have a licence which sets out terms of use or does the work itself indicate allowable use without seeking clearance?

4. Is there a statutory exception such as the educational institution or the fair dealing exception that can be employed? Finally Question 5 provides guidance when all else fails and clearance must be secured. Each step in the map contains links to additional information.

Fair Dealing is an important statutory exception that can be broadly applied in many situations on campus. Our Fair Dealing Analysis introduced last summer, is designed to simplify the process of determining if your particular “dealing” is fair. The Copyright Act is not explicit in outlining what is meant by fair dealing; only that it must be for one of eight specified purposes. After the 2012 revisions to the Act, education was added as an allowable purpose, giving us greater latitude to employ the fair dealing exception at Western. Fair dealing was earlier clarified in a 2004 Supreme Court decision, CCH Canadian v. Law Society of Upper Canada (2004).This ruling articulated several fairness factors which have been incorporated into our fair dealing analysis tool.

Western Libraries has negotiated licences for the thousands of electronic journals and books, bundled into resource packages, which are available to the campus community and accessed through the library catalogue. Licence terms are not consistent from digital resource package to digital resource package and what you can do may vary, contingent on the particular e-book or journal you use to retrieve the work. In order to make these licensed use terms more transparent and easier to find, we created a Licensed Use Search tool to expedite the process. It launched earlier this academic year; the result of a Western Libraries project that sequentially examined each digital licence and extracted the relevant use terms. The Licensed Use Search tool provides a convenient method of discovering this important information, useful to guide the copyright process.

Our latest addition Ask Copyright, was established to coincide with the first annual Fair Dealing Week in Canada which took place the last week in February 2015. The service facilitates asking your copyright question in the box provided and receiving an exact or best possible answer match. We populated the database that powers Ask Copyright with a library of questions and answers, however we no doubt overlooked some. Ask Copyright keeps track of unanswered queries allowing us to build the databank in response to the needs of the Western community.

This collection of resources and services will continue to grow as we establish a long term solution to manage copyright literacy at Western. Please watch the Copyright @ Western website for new information and tools as they develop and feel free to give me a shout if you have copyright questions or require additional information. Use the general copyright@uwo.ca address to e-mail questions or give me a call at 519-661-2111, ext.80347.


Teaching Support Centre
Room 122, The D.B. Weldon Library
Western University
London, Ontario N6A 3K7
(519) 661-2111, ext. 84622
tsc@uwo.ca