What is Copyright

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What is copyright?

When do we have permission to use the creative work of someone else?





Learning Goal:  You will learn:

  • the definition of copyright
  • how to tell if you have the legal right to use someone else's creative work. 
  • differentiate between the right to use work versus giving credit to the creator



Share your Ideas: 

What do you think we mean when we talk about someone's creative work?

Include all examples that you can think of.

  1.  Open Chrome.

  2.  Go to the Google Doc set up by your teacher. (May work in groups with several Docs)

  3.  Add your ideas to the doc. Be careful not to erase anyone else's ideas! You may use text and images.




Watch Copyright and Fair Use Video


Record the ways that you should be respectful of other people's creative works on your graphic organizer.



     What are the ways you can be respectful of people's copyright?

  1. Check who owns it
  2. Determine if the creative material falls under public domain
  3. See if you can use the creative material under Fair Dealing
  4. Get permission to use it
  5. Give credit to the creator if falls under Creative Commons or Fair Use/Fair Dealing
  6. Buy it (if necessary)  -> Does this give you the right to share it? (For example, a CD)
  7. Use it responsibly -> What does it mean to use work responsibly?




Some of the terms and concepts that we use to talk about ownership of work and the legal rights of creators.





A law that protects a creator’s ownership of and control over the work he or she creates, requiring other people to get the creator’s permission before they copy, share, change, or perform that work. In Canada, the law that governs this is called the Copyright Act. A person acquires copyright automatically when they create an original work. You don't even have to put the © symbol on your work. It's yours! You can register your work and that will provide you with evidence of ownership in the event of a dispute.  (Source: Canadian Intellectual Property Office, GOC)


Copyright Infringement

Occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed or publicly displayed without the permission of the copyright holder or the legal right to do so.


Commercial Purposes

A use in connection with a business, usually for profit.



The practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own, or of neglecting to give credit to the creator.  It can also be taking your own work, that's already been submitted to another class, and handing it in as original (speak to your teacher about this before doing it!).


Inspiration vs Appropriation
  • inspiration: something that influences, propels, or inspires you to create something new
  • appropriation: to use someone else’s creative work to make something new, often without their permission  

Sample & Remix
  • sample: to use a small piece of an existing creative work, usually music, in creating a new work
  • remix: to use an existing creative work and add to it, rearrange it, or mix it with other material to create something new


Ways to Legally Use Material - Maybe

You can copy parts of sources if they meet these criteria, however most legal experts will tell you to err on the side of being overly careful. For example, if you make a parody, copyright infringement attorneys recommend getting a license, just in case your idea of a parody is different than what the author (or jury) feel is right.  It is also problematic, because while you may be mocking an original work, if you use a trademarked subject such as Mickey Mouse, you could be in trouble. These are all 'defenses' that may or may not hold up in court.


Fair Dealing

(Fair Use)


The ability to use a small amount of someone’s creative work without permission, but only in certain ways.  (Fair Dealing is the term used in Canada, Fair Use in the U.S.)


Fair Dealing - When can you use material without asking for permission?

  1. The purpose of the proposed copying, including whether it is for:
     research, private study, education, satire, parody, criticism, review or news reporting;
  2. The character of the proposed copying, including whether it involves single or multiple copies, and whether the copy is destroyed after it is used for its specific intended purpose;
  3. The amount of the dealing from the individual user’s perspective, including the proportion of the Work that is proposed to be copied and the importance of that excerpt in relation to the whole Work;
  4. Alternatives to copying the Work, including whether there is a non-copyrighted equivalent available;
  5. The nature of the Work, including whether it is published or unpublished; and


(Note: this may vary from Fair Use in the U.S. Each country has its own set of laws.)


An imitation with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect
Example: Weird Al Yankovick and "Tacky" - http://quietube7.com/v.php/http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zq7Eki5EZ8o 

Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/weirdalyankovic/tacky.html 

(Note: Weird Al gets permission even though he doesn't have to.  Most musicians like his parodies.) 
Satire  The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's silliness or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. http://quietube7.com/v.php/http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cvkpo2bpQT4    *link broken; any Jon Stewart or John Oliver clip, as long as it's checked, first.  
Creative Commons  A kind of copyright that makes it easy for people to copy, share, and build on someone’s creative work in the way specified by the creator. Please go to Creative Commons for details. 
Creative Commons 

Some sites also specify that they are Copyright-free or have copyright-free sections. One example is https://www.morguefile.com/ which is an image-sharing website. Wikipedia Commons is another.

Public Domain  Creative work that’s not protected by copyright and is therefore free for one to use however one wants. 
NOTE: In Canada, the copyright for a work usually expires 50 years after the death of the creator. There are exceptions based on the type of work, who owns it and if it was published. To check whether a work is in the Public Domain, consult:http://copyright.ubc.ca/guidelines-and-resources/support-guides/public-domain/  




So why do we sometimes use work at school without asking permission?

Because there are times when you don’t need permission from the creator.

* Note: asking permission to use material is different from giving credit to the author.

Even if a work is copyright-free, you STILL need to give credit.






Fair(y) Use Tale - a parody based on Disney films