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 and Recent CARL 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.

Most recently, CARL has been defending fair dealing and advocating for other aspects of copyright that benefit researchers and research libraries, most notably in the context of the Statutory Review of the Copyright Act

CARL has also been involved in a few other copyright-related activities.

Related to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage study on remuneration models for artists and creative industries:

CFLA-CARL Brief to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage Study on Remuneration Models for Artists and Creative Industries (2019)

Related to the York University / Access Copyright case:

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

Related to the Copyright Board reform:

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


Getting Started: Implementing the Marrakesh Treaty for persons with print disabilities, A practical guide for librarians – Canadian Version (2019) wordpdf

CARL Statement on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) (2018)

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

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

Additional Resources

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

CARL’s Copyright Open Educational Resource for University Instructors and Staff (CARL)

Key Copyright Concepts for Librarians, Students and Researchers (CARL)

Copyright Act (Government of Canada)

Copyright Information (Canadian Federation of Library Associations)

Canadian Intellectual Property Office: Copyright (Government of Canada)

Departmental Contact Points Crown Copyright and Licensing (Government of Canada)