Licensed Resources in Education

The Federal Court of Canada issued its decision in the litigation between Access Copyright and York University. The text of the decision is available online. UNB along with most institutions across the country are currently reviewing this decision to determine what impact it might have on our established Copyright policies and procedures.

UNB Libraries has licence agreements with book and journal vendors and aggregators, these contracts specify how material can be distributed, and generally restrict use to students, staff and faculty of the institution. Examples of licensed content include UNB Libraries' electronic resources, Creative Commons content, electronic textbooks and educational packages, and the vast majority of material found on the web.

It is against the law to bypass any digital locks, otherwise known as Technological Protection Measures (TPMs) without the permission of the copyright holder.

Digital Locks or TPMs (Technological Protection Measures)

Some copyright holders use digital locks to restrict access to copyright-protected works and/or to limit the use that can be made of such works. The Copyright Act prohibits the circumvention of digital locks to obtain access to copyright-protected works. Examples of digital locks include passwords, encryption software, and access codes. The Universities Canada Fair Dealing Guidelines do not permit the circumvention of digital locks to obtain access to copyright-protected works. In order to access content behind a digital lock it is necessary to obtain the permission of the copyright holder.

UNB Libraries' Licensed Electronic Resources

The term "e-Resource" is used to describe electronic resources accessed from UNB Libraries’ website (i.e. e-Journals, e-books, images from ARTstor). Such materials may include rights that extend beyond what is possible under the Copyright Act. For example, some textbooks include digital material for use in classroom instruction, such as graphs or figures, and access to web content. Also, some licensed resources allow for the distribution of materials to students via Desire2Learn, Zotero, or Course Reserves beyond the limits of fair dealing that restricts such distribution only to short excerpts.

For information on how to use UNB Libraries' e-books in the classroom please visit e-Books - Information for Faculty.

Creative Commons Licences

Materials identified as Creative Commons or Open Source are also considered licensed resources that permit copying or distribution beyond the limits of the Copyright Act. Publishers and creators rely on Creative Commons licences to make clear both the permitted and the prohibited uses of copyrighted content.

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that helps creators customize the terms of copyright in ways that facilitate the usage of copyrighted materials while protecting authors' rights. In light of these goals, Creative Commons offers six basic types of licences that authors can customize to enable varying degrees of sharing and modification by the users.

Other Educational Licences

In addition to electronic resources licensed by UNB Libraries, there are other licensed electronic resources that you will encounter in post-secondary education. Publishers (e.g. McGraw-Hill and Pearson) and vendors (e.g. CafeScribe) of electronic textbooks, course-packs, and other educational materials are major providers of licensed content. The terms of use for these materials may include details such as the following:

  • the permitted number of devices for downloading the content,
  • the maximum amount of printing allowed from the resource,
  • the maximum amount of copying and pasting allowed from the resource, and
  • a prohibition against the uploading or sharing of content.

Web Content

The vast majority of content on the internet is copyright protected and must be used in accordance with the Copyright Act. Always check the "terms of use" and "legal notices" associated with works sourced from the web. These terms and notices constitute a licence agreement that outlines the details of how and when a work may be used. Keep in mind that limitations set out in a licence agreement take precedence over the fair dealing exemption.

If you are unsure about whether your use of web content is permitted, contact the copyright owner or copyright@unb.ca.

Open Access

For information on Open Access at UNB see Open Access @ UNB Libraries and the Centre for Digital Scholarship.