Understanding Copyright at UNB

Leanne Wells


As a student at the University of New Brunswick (UNB), you will inevitably find yourself using and producing materials governed by copyright laws. Once you graduate and begin working as a professional, you’ll also need to be aware of the rules surrounding copyright.

What Is Copyright?

Essentially copyright gives the creator of an original work (e.g., a book, article, manual, graph, music, video/ DVD, photograph, painting, software, databases, websites) legal rights to the work usually for a limited period of time. In Canada, copyright is governed by the Canadian Copyright Act.

Keep in mind that ideas are not protected by copyright; it is their fixed expression that is protected. An example of fixed expression can be as formal as a published document or as simple as a recording of an interview. More specifically, copyright belongs to the individual who fixed the material in its physical format.

Do copyrighted works need to be registered? No, protection is automatic as soon as the work is “fixed,” although registering copyright with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office is an additional layer of protection.

Does the work need to be branded with the copyright symbol ? Not in Canada but the symbol does help to indicate that the work is protected.

Who Owns Copyright @ UNB?

It’s important to take time to think about how copyright applies to you at UNB.

As a student, you own the copyright for your own original work. The rights granted to you as copyright owner are the sole right to produce or reproduce, perform in public, and publish a work for the first time.

Copyright isn’t always easy to discern in the academic environment. While it seems logical to assume that professors and researchers own the copyright of their own scholarly research and works created in the course of their teaching and research, once their work appears in an academic publication, the rights are often transferred to the publisher. In some cases the creator must ask the publishing journal for permission to make copies of the final version.

Fair Dealing

Under the Canadian Copyright Act, universities are included under the guidelines of fair dealing, which permits the use of short excerpts of copyrighted works for the purposes of research, private study, education, parody or satire, criticism or review, and news reporting.

This enables professors to provide short excerpts of copyrighted content to students via handout, e-mail communication, D2L, lecture presentation, and classroom display. Specific examples of short excerpts include:

  • a copy of an article from a scientific, technical, or scholarly periodical;
  • a newspaper article;
  • an entry from an encyclopedia, annotated bibliography, or similar reference material;
  • a short story, play, poem, or essay from a publication containing other works.
Photo credit: Giulia Forsythe: Follow
Fair Dealing. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/dRkXwP

Copyright Assistance @ UNB

UNB Libraries Copyright@ UNB outlines your rights and obligations regarding copyright in the context of academic writing and publishing at the University of New Brunswick. If you have questions about copyright, or you’d like to learn more about how copyright applies to you, please visit its website.

Screenshot of the Copyright at UNB website.

Self Check

Congratulations on making it this far through Module 2! Well Done!


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Business Information Skills Certificate (BISC): Research Guide Copyright © 2023 by Leanne Wells is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book