Education International
Education International

Canada: Teachers’ guide to copyright released

published 18 February 2013 updated 26 February 2013

The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), one of EI’s national affiliates, has released the third edition of ‘Copyright Matters! Some Key Questions and Answers for Teachers’. The publication takes into account key changes that have occurred in the area of copyright since the previous edition, published in 2005.

Copyright law continues to evolve in response to existing and emerging technologies, international agreements, and the need for a reasonable balance between users and creators of copyright-protected works.

CTF hopes that teachers will continue to find this edition of Copyright Matters! a valuable tool in acquainting themselves with basic copyright rules. This booklet is a starting point for increasing the awareness of teachers’ rights and obligations in selecting and using copyright-protected materials at their educational institution. It provides user-friendly information on copyright law, covering areas such as the Canadian Copyright Act and its regulations, contractual and tariff arrangements with copyright collectives, and court decisions.

Creators and teachers:  different interests

CTF acknowledges that there are different interests among creators and teachers.

“Creators want to protect their works. As students, we were all taught the value of original thinking and the importance of not plagiarising the works of others,” the study says. “Since teachers use copyright-protected materials as well as educate the copyright owners and users of tomorrow, they have a unique responsibility to set the right example. The works of others should not be used without their permission unless the use is permitted by the Copyright Act.”

Teachers must be cognisant of the copyright status of resource materials in their possession, highlights CTF.

EI: Balance to be found

“EI affirms that international copyright agreements and domestic law should be balanced between the rights of creators and the rights of users in order to support the development and diffusion of education, knowledge and research,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen.

Education unionists worldwide acknowledge that greater restrictions on copyright exemptions for educational purposes will place more financial burdens on education systems and institutions, most of which already pay substantial licensing fees to provide students and teachers with access to essential learning materials.

Digital restrictions may limit fair use

“We recognise that copyright owners are increasingly placing ‘locks’ on digital material in order to prevent the illegal copying and commercial distribution of their property,” added van Leeuwen. “We are concerned, however, that the increasing use of these digital locks can also restrict fair use or fair dealing for educational and research purposes and other non-commercial purposes.”

EI will continue to lobby the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and other relevant agencies and organisations in order to promote a balanced approach to international copyright rules that do not prevent the fair dealing or fair use of material for educational and research purposes, said van Leeuwen.

Fair use must be defended

EI also advocates for rules governing the use of digital locks that allow for circumvention for non-commercial fair use or fair dealing purposes, including education and research.

“EI encourages affiliates to monitor domestic changes in copyright legislation, and to defend and enhance fair use or fair dealing for educational and research purposes,” underlined van Leeuwen.

To read the full booklet, please click here