Step 1: Is the work protected by copyright?

Step 2: Is the work protected by a digital lock?

  • If no: Proceed to Step 3.
  • If yes: Determine if you can still use it.

The Copyright Act defines two technological protection measures, which are more commonly known as digital locks:

  • access control
  • use restriction

Access control

An access control is any technology, device or component that controls or restricts access to a work. The most common example of an access control is a password.

It is an offense to circumvent an access control. You cannot:

  • descramble a scrambled work
  • decrypt an encrypted work
  • deactivate or impair the access control

Even if you may otherwise be able to copy the work under one of the fair dealing exceptions, you cannot circumvent an access control to do so.

Use restriction

Any technology, device or component that restrict you from doing anything other than accessing the work is a use restriction. Examples of use restrictions include:

  • a program that prevents copying text or images
  • a program that prevents a file from being downloaded

It is not an offense to circumvent a use restriction. It is, however, an offense to offer or provide services to the public that circumvent digital locks.

Step 3: Is your use permitted under the Copyright Act or one of its exceptions?

Check copyright and education as well as copyright in the classroom to help determine if your use is permitted.

  • If yes: Proceed to copy.
  • If no: Proceed to Step 4.

Step 4: Obtain permission to use a copyright-protected work

If your intended use of a work is not permitted under the Copyright Act or any of its exceptions, we can assist you in obtaining the proper permission. To initiate your request:

  1. Decide what you want to use, when you want to use it and how you want to use it.
  2. Provide us with the following information, if applicable:
    • clean copy of the material you wish to copy

Note: Ensure the original page numbers appear on all copies of paper materials.

    • IBSN/ISSN of the work containing the material you want to use
    • total number of pages in the work (e.g. the entire textbook, journal)
    • number of copies to be made
    • number of students in the average academic year
    • course name
  1. Fill in the appropriate paperwork.

Note: We will assist you with ensuring all required information is filled in.

After discussing your requirements, we will work to tailor the process to meet your specific needs. Please try to allow for four to six weeks of lead-time as securing permission can take a considerable amount of time.