Intellectual Property

In this section, you can find...

In this section we explore the ethics, laws, and rights that surround questions of intellectual property. Whether it’s a question of downloading music, borrowing graphics and photos, or copying text from an academic source, there are bound to be questions about what is and what is not fair use.

What is intellectual property?: A novel? A film script? A joke? A recipe? A character in a TV show? A painting? The lyrics to a song? All of these are intellectual property.

Intellectual property - Anything that comes into being through invention or artistic creation. When an intellectual property is also real property, it is possible to own one but not the other – so that owning a painting (real property right) does not automatically give you the right to make copies of it (intellectual property right).

In Canada, consumers have certain rights to use copyrighted material without permission or license from the owner of the copyright. These rights are defined in the Copyright Act as Fair Dealing exemptions and were redefined in the 2012 changes to the Act. A good knowledge of Fair Dealing can be extremely helpful in understanding what you and your students can do with media in class. It’s important to note that the Copyright Act provides very little definition for many of these terms; instead, most of the specifics of Fair Dealing have come from court rulings, and the new exemptions and other changes done in 2012 will likely also be further defined in the same way.