Educational institution libraries and copyright

The agreements between Copibec and educational institutions cover copies made by teaching personnel for their students. How do those agreements impact the institutions’ libraries?

Certain exceptions in the Copyright Act apply specifically to libraries, including those in educational institutions. The library exceptions are summarized below, together with information on what the agreements between Copibec and educational institutions allow you to do for the following purposes:

  • Research and private study
  • Interlibrary lending
  • Managing and maintaining collections
  • Digitizing or scanning content
  • Using self-service photocopiers and scanners in a library

Research and private study

Here’s an example: libraries can reproduce the following articles for users who will use the copies for research or private study:

  • Article published in a scholarly, scientific or technical periodical
  • Article published in a newspaper or periodical (other than a scholarly, scientific or technical periodical) more than one year before the copy is made

However, this exception does not allow fiction, poetry, music or dramatic works to be reproduced.

Interlibrary lending

Libraries can also give another library a copy of a work on behalf of a user (i.e. interlibrary lending). However, certain conditions must be met:

  • The copy must be given to the person who made the request through another library
  • If the copy is in digital format, the person who receives it can print out only one paper copy
  • The library receiving the copy must take measures to prevent the person who requested it from doing the following:
    • Reproducing it (other than printing out a single copy)
    • Communicating it to any other person
    • Using it for more than five business days from the day on which it is first used

Managing and maintaining collections

Libraries can also reproduce all or part of a work in the following cases:

  • If the original is rare or unpublished and:
    • is deteriorating, damaged or lost or
      at risk of deterioration or becoming damaged or lost
  • For on-site consultation, if the original cannot be viewed, handled or listened to:
    • because of its condition or
    • because of the atmospheric conditions in which it must be kept
  • If the original is in a format:
    • that is currently obsolete or becoming obsolete or
    • the technology required to use the original is currently unavailable or becoming unavailable
  • For internal record-keeping and cataloguing
  • For restoration

Other than the last two points, these exceptions do not apply if the work can be purchased or if a licence can be issued for the intended use.

Digitizing or scanning content

If you’d like to have a digital version of a work for your library, you first have to check whether the content can be purchased in digital format. If it’s not available, you’ll need permission to digitize or scan it (unless it’s in the public domain).

Contact us. We can help you get the necessary permissions!

Subscriptions, private agreements and Copibec licences

Your institution may have agreements with various publishers or aggregators that allow certain uses of copyright-protected content. Your Copibec licence can complement those agreements. For example, even though many subscriptions for scientific or arts and culture periodicals do not allow articles published during the past two years to be reproduced, those types of use are covered under Copibec licences.

In addition, it can be time-consuming to check the terms of use for every periodical included in the subscriptions from various publishers or aggregators. Your Copibec licence, on the other hand, covers all the content in our repertoire (catalogue).

Self-serve photocopiers and scanners

The Copibec agreements allow educational institution libraries (as well as public libraries) to take advantage of the provisions of section 30.3 of the Copyright

Copibec licences for educational institutions also allow self-serve scanners to be used.