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Administrative Copying For Educational Purposes

When you are copying and/or distributing copyrighted materials at the request of others, keep in mind the following considerations: substantial versus insubstantial copying, fair dealing, and licences.

Advise instructors that the Course Reserves system is a risk-free way to provide easy access to readings for students that allows library staff to look after all copyright aspects of Course Reserves.

Substantial versus insubstantial reproductions

An author's rights and protections under the Canadian Copyright Act are invoked only when a substantial portion of his or her work is reproduced. Insubstantial reproductions do not activate copyright protection. Even if the amount reproduced is substantial, you may still be permitted to use it without permission or payment under fair dealing.

Fair Dealing

For the purpose of research, private study, education, parody or satire, criticism or review, and news reporting fair dealing does not infringe copyright. Under fair dealing, you can provide short excerpts of copyrighted content to students and faculty via handout, e-mail communication, D2L, lecture presentation, and classroom display.

Examples of short excerpts from Universities Canada Fair Dealing Guidelines include:

  • a copy of an article from a scientific, technical, or scholarly periodical;
  • a newspaper article;
  • an entry from an encyclopaedia, annotated bibliography, or similar reference material;
  • a short story, play, poem, or essay from a publication containing other works.

For more details on fair dealing analysis, visit UNB’s Fair Dealing page or contact

UNB's Licensed Electronic Resources

A large volume of materials purchased by UNB Libraries are governed by licence agreements that extend beyond what is possible under the Copyright Act. Licenced electronic resources allow for the distribution of materials to students and can be delivered by means such as Desire2Learn, Zotero, or Reserves. Check if the material you are copying/distributing is already available under an electronic licence.

Applying Copyright Best Practices  

If you are asked by a faculty or university administration to copy and/or distribute materials, ask yourself: 

Is the material protected by copyright? 

Copyright protects a wide variety of works, such as artistic, dramatic, literary as well as recordings, performances, and communication signals. Most of the material found on the web is also copyright protected. The term of copyright is the life of the author or creator plus fifty years. After the term of copyright expires, the work becomes public domain and can be freely used. 

YES. The material is protected by copyright. Proceed to the next step.

NO. The material is not protected by copyright. You can copy the material without seeking permission. 

Is the material licensed?

YES. Follow the terms of use / license and do not circumvent digital locks. If unsure, check with the Copyright Office whether the material is already available under a license via UNB Libraries.

NO. Proceed to next step. 

Is the copying substantial 

In determining what constitutes substantial copying, the courts have focused on the quality of what was taken from the original work rather than quantity. A short passage may be substantial, if it captures the essence of a work. 

YES. Proceed to next step.

NO. You can copy the material without seeking permission. 

Does the copying fall within one of the eight specified purposes of Fair Dealing?  

These are research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire, and parody. 

YES. Proceed to the next step.

NO. I’m copying for administrative purposes not related to coursework or research. Obtain copyright permission/clearance or contact 

Is the material I am copying more than a “short excerpt”?

Use the definition of short excerpt to gauge the length of your copied material.

NO. You can copy the material without seeking permission.

YES. Obtain copyright permission/clearance or contact 

Copyright Notice for Photocopiers, Scanners, and Printers

Place the following copyright notice at the photocopiers, scanners, and printers in your department.

Administrative Copying Outside the Fair Dealing Policy

Administrative copying of copyright-protected works that is made for the governance or administration of the university or a faculty or department of the university does not fall within fair dealing. For such administrative copying it is necessary to secure the permission of the holder of copyright. Such permission may be available through one of the university’s digital licences or obtained by way of a transactional licence. For further information contact or call us at 447-3378.