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 and Advocacy 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.

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.

While CARL has been defending fair dealing and advocating for other aspects of copyright that benefit researchers and research libraries for many years, we also engage in a several other copyright-related activities.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)

Frequently Asked Questions about Term Extension for Authored Works (2023)

Addressing the Impacts of Copyright Term Extension in Canada (2022)

CFLA-CARL Joint Response to Consultation on Copyright Term Extension (2021)

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

Crown Copyright

CFLA-CARL Letter to federal and provincial governments regarding Crown Copyright (2020)

Remuneration models for artists and creative industries, a study by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage

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

Fair Dealing

CARL Codes of Best Practice (2024)

Copyright Compliance: Assessing Course Materials (2024)

[Website] Fair Dealing Canada

Fair Dealing in Canada: Myths and Facts

CARL Statement on Fair Dealing and Copyright (2016)

CARL’s letter on educational fair dealing (2015)

York University / Access Copyright case:

Motion for Leave to Intervene in the York University vs. Access Copyright Case, Supreme Court of Appeal – S. Haigh affidavit (2021)

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

Copyright Board:

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)

Other Consultations:

CARL’s brief to the Ontario Government’s consultation Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (AI) Framework. (2021)

CFLA/CARL/CULC brief on a modern framework for online intermediaries (2021)

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions About Term Extension for Authored Works (2023)

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

Strengthening Canadian User Rights Through Shared Understanding: Adapting the Codes of Best Practices in Fair Use for Canada (2021)

ARL/CARL Webinar and Workshop: Code of Best Practices in Fair Use/Fair Dealing for OER  Recording

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

Webinar: Implementing the Copyright Open Educational Resource for University Instructors and Staff PPT Recording

Public Domain Flow Chart in Canada

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)