The Copyright Office ensures that AU has permission to use third-party materials that appear in our courses. The law that governs our process is the Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42) which will soon be replaced by the Copyright Modernization Act Bill C-11.
The Copyright Office works closely with Course Authors, CLDD course team members, Library Staff, and Materials Management Staff to ensure that permission for all materials are obtained in a timely manner and that rights holders are acknowledged appropriately in AU courses. Because obtaining copyright clearances from rights holders often takes time, we strongly recommend that all potential copyright issues are discussed well in advance, preferably in the design stage or at the early course team meetings.
Copyright Office procedures are as follows:
- During early course team meetings the Copyright Office will provide information regarding current copyright landscape at AU including Fair Dealing procedures. In consultation with the Learning Designer and the AU Library, the Copyright Office will also provide recommendations for suitable OER alternatives and encourage the use of Open Access Materials, public domain materials, and items subscribed to via AU Library Database.
- Once confirmed for inclusion into a course, all copyright requests will be submitted by the Course Author to the Copyright Office.
- If not already done, the Copyright Office will audit all submitted items to determine if they are available via Library subscribed resources or via the Internet.
- If/when appropriate the Copyright Office may provide further recommendations regarding the use of alternate OER resources to the Course Author.
- The Copyright Office will perform a Fair Dealing Analysis on remaining items to identify items that may qualify as Fair Dealing.
- The Copyright Office will provide the Course Materials Editor with a spreadsheet indicating results of the audit as well as the Fair Dealing Analysis.
- The Copyright Office will pursue electronic permission for all third party items that do not qualify as Fair Dealing or are not available via the AU Library.
- The Copyright Office will notify the Course Materials Editor when permission has been received and provide the appropriate credit lines for insertion into the course.
- After all other course team members have reviewed and signed off the course; the Copyright Office will review and sign off the course as well.
- Any copyrighted items for which we have pursued permission will be tracked and renewed accordingly until next course revision.
Centre for Learning Design and Development - Last Updated March 10, 2014
Prominent Canadian law professors and lawyers discuss the Canadian copyright landscape:
For many years, Athabasca University has acquired permissions for print materials through Access Copyright, the Canadian copyright licensing agency. Effective August 31, 2011, AU elected to opt out of the Access Copyright Interim Tariff. Courses currently in development and revision need to find alternatives to traditional processes for acquiring copyright permissions for third-party materials, such as considering the use of open educational resources and readings already available in library databases, in order to comply with copyright law. Questions about how to do this effectively can be addressed to Rachel Conroy or one of the Learning Designers.