Copyright & Fair Dealing
In 2012 the copyright framework under which Canadian educational institutions operate changed significantly. The Supreme Court of Canada issued five decisions that relate to a range of copyright issues, and many of the provisions of Bill C-11, The Copyright Modernization Act, came into effect.
An important exception to the right of copyright owners to control the reproduction of their works is known as the “fair dealing” exception, which permits use of a copyright-protected work without permission from the copyright owner or the payment of copyright royalties. To qualify for fair dealing, two tests must be passed.
- The “dealing” must be for a purpose stated in the Copyright Act: research, private study, criticism or review, news reporting, education, satire or parody.
- The dealing must be “fair.” For additional information and details on the limits of Fair Dealing visit York University’s Fair Dealing Guidelines.
When these conditions are followed, “Teaching Staff” and “Other Staff” are able to provide a single copy of a “Short Excerpt” for each student enroled in a course either as a class handout or through posting on a YorkU password protected course management system (CMD or Moodle).
What are the Implications for your Teaching?
The best way to get started is to speak with our business librarians. The library staff will determine what materials are available through the Library eResources and whether YorkU’s licence with the publisher permits linking or the creation of PDFs for your students. If there are any restrictions related to the use of the material, we must follow the terms of the licence. For example, certain publishers (e.g., HBS) do not allow the use of PDF versions or even permanent links. Business cases almost always have to be purchased separately through the appropriate outlet or, alternatively, cleared through the bookstore’s usual copyright mechanism.
If you use cases or other materials that are not covered by the Fair Dealings provisions, or if you choose to include any material in a course kit, royalty fees are incurred and passed, along with the production costs, on to the student in the purchase price of the course kit. If your course selections are not covered by a licence or subscription and you don’t include them in a course kit, then the York’s Fair Dealing Guidelines may be considered.
Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the definition of a Short Excerpt, which is at the heart of the Fair Dealing Exception. For further questions please visit http://copyright.info.yorku.ca/ or contact the copyright office directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The best way to get started preparing a course kit is to speak with our business librarians. The library staff has deep knowledge of what to find where in which format, and how to provide it to the students, often in a non-physical form. Using the e-Library instead will also cut the cost to students tremendously and relieve your area staff. Please see the next section for more information.
If opting for a paper-based course kit, please work with your area support staff, who in turn collaborate with Tammy Irwin and the Copyright Clearance Centre in the Bookstore to ensure that materials are reproduced legally. If you wish to include self-authored materials, please include a release statement so the materials can be copied. If you do not know the original source of material, the course kit staff will help to research its origins so that the rights holder can be contacted.
Please keep in mind that students pay for each page you include in the course kit. As a significant cost reduction measure (to the students and university), it is highly recommended to do the following:
- Limit the course kit to materials that are absolutely necessary for accomplishing the course learning outcomes.
- Only include materials that are not available through the e-library. Materials available through the e-library can be accessed by students through permanent links pasted into a Word, PDF of HTML version of your syllabus. The library may also set up a course page for you that contains those links. Finally, you may now also post articles in the CMD if you prefer (please see here for FAQs on this topic).
Materials for which copyright permissions cannot be obtained by the Copyright Clearance Centre cannot be included in the course kit or provided through a different mechanism.
Course Kit Submission
Course Kits are submitted through your program or area staff. They have been trained in the procedure for doing so. Please keep in mind that you must provide your staff with accurate information on the required materials. As well, requests for course kits must be submitted to YorkU’s Copyright Clearance Centre by certain deadlines so as to guarantee delivery by the time the course starts. Those deadlines are as follows:
Fall 2016: July 4, 2016
Winter 2017: October 13, 2016
Please note that your staff will require all information and/or materials well before those deadlines. Please stay tuned for their instructions.Below the full course kit submission procedure, including tips for completing the submission form correctly and contact information. The second link downloads the Copyright Information Form, which is submitted to Tammy Irwin.
Provostial Guidelines on Use of Online and Digital Learning Materials
The Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) regulates the ability of universities to charge non-tuition related ancillary fees – those fees that a student is obliged to pay in order to enroll in and complete a course. These MTCU regulations are set out in the Ministry document Tuition Fee Framework and Ancillary Fee Guidelines for Publicly-Assisted Universities.
In December 2013 the MTCU revised the Ancillary Fee Guidelines to allow for the charging of fees for online and digital learning materials, which may include assessment tools. In the guidelines (excerpted below) the Ministry notes that the University must have a policy in place to guide the use of these resources that respects the interests of our students.
Fees for digital learning materials that are the property of the student and which can include test/assessment tools.
The Ministry considers the payment of tuition as supporting the cost of instruction and assessment. Where a course or program relies substantially on assessments that are included with a learning resource, such as an online textbook, the Ministry expects universities to have a policy with respect to their students’ interests in these situations. Such a policy could include a rebate to students of a portion of their textbook fees where bundled assessments represent a substantial portion of a student’s mark for a course.
The Ministry acknowledges the contribution that these resources can make to the quality of teaching and learning, including support for adaptive learning and formative assessment. Universities should be proactive in monitoring conditions attached to the use of learning resources by faculty and students, to ensure that these are consistent with institutional academic policies and values.
(MTCU, Tuition Framework and Ancillary Fee Guidelines, December 2013, p. 20).
In cases where access to course content and/or testing relies on an external digital resource, the University recognizes the potential of these resources to contribute to quality student learning and consistent with MTCU guidelines seeks to ensure that the use of these resources is fair to our students. Students may be required to purchase these resources based on the following considerations.
- If the digital resource includes an assessment component, that component should not form a substantial portion of the overall assessment. Normally that assessment component should not exceed 15%.
- The total cost of the digital learning assessment resources for a three credit half course equivalent shall not exceed $60.
- Students cannot be compelled to purchase a textbook combined with a digital resource therefore an option to purchase the digital resource alone must be made available.
- Wherever possible students must be informed of the costs in advance, ideally upon registration for a course but no later than within the first two weeks of class.
- Though not required, Instructors are highly encouraged to work with Publishers, the University Libraries and other resources/units to make options available for students for whom the cost of the digital resources may present undue hardship.
If instructors wish to introduce digital resources that fall outside of the parameters described above then a case must be made to the Associated Course Fees Committee that includes a rationale for the need and appropriate actions undertaken to address student fairness, access, and affordability.
Updated: November 2014
Up-to-date information on copyright legislation as it pertains to York University can be found on the following site: