Copyright is an important issue for Canada’s research libraries. The sharing of information and knowledge is governed by copyright legislation, jurisprudence and licences. While copyright can be complex, distinguishing what uses are allowed from what are not, and seeking appropriate permissions from rightsholders when necessary, is vital for librarians, students, faculty and researchers across Canada.

CARL advocates for copyright legislation that is fair to users and workable for libraries. We inform decision-makers of the needs of research libraries and how copyright-related agreements may affect libraries or their users.

CARL’s work in this area is guided by its Policy Committee as well as the many highly-qualified copyright specialists in CARL member libraries across the country. CARL also collaborates with the broader library community as appropriate to ensure a strong national voice for libraries.

Current Initiatives

CARL is interested in several areas of copyright, including (but not limited to) the term of protection; the various purposes of fair dealing and the concept of ‘fair’ in their application; the exceptions and limitations that pertain to libraries, archives, and the print disabled; provisions related to technical protection measures; and the application of the law when creators are unidentifiable or unlocatable (‘orphan works’) or when the copyright holder is the Crown.

CARL’s Opening Remarks to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Trade (2018)

Motion for Leave to Intervene in the York University vs. Access Copyright Case – V. Owen affidavit (2018)

Fair Dealing Canada Website (2018)

Fair Dealing in Canada: Myths and Facts (2017)

CARL Submission to the Consultation on Options for Reform of the Copyright Board of Canada (2017)

CARL objection to Access Copyright’s Proposed Tariff (2017)

CARL Statement on Fair Dealing and Copyright (2016)

CARL’s letter on educational fair dealing (2015)

CARL’s letters on the Marrakesh Treaty: Industry Canada (2014), Canadian Heritage (2013)


The many excellent online University Copyright Guides at CARL member institutions provide a rich source of information for librarians, students, faculty and researchers.

Key Copyright Concepts for Librarians, Students and Researchers

Copyright Act

Canadian Library Association: Copyright Information

Canadian Intellectual Property Office

Government of Canada Departmental Contact Points Crown Copyright and Licensing