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Research Foundations Tutorial

A self-paced, open course to build your research skills


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While plagiarism addresses the ethics of misrepresenting and misusing another’s work, there is also a legal dimension: copyright. Copyright laws protect the creators of original works by granting them exclusive rights to copy, share, or license their material. Both national and international laws protect the commercial interests of copyright owners. Photographs, books, articles, songs, web page content, computer programs, videos, or even a sketch on a napkin are subject to copyright.

Interestingly, it is not required that a work be registered in order to be copyrighted. However, copyright holders who register their work with an official copyright office will have the strongest legal protections. It is safest to assume that most content you come across is copyrighted, with the following exceptions:

Do you want to know more about copyright in Canada? Click on these links below:

Fair Use / Fair Dealing

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With all of these legal restrictions in place, you may wonder how exactly information is shared without contacting the creator each time. A common mechanism relevant to academics is the fair use exemption (under U.S. copyright law) or the fair dealing provision in Canada's Copyright Act. 

Curious about fair dealing in Canada? View these links below: