Broadcast E-mail: Supreme Court of Canada landmark copyright decisions, August 24, 2012

The following message is sent on behalf of David H. Farrar, Provost and Vice President Academic (Vancouver) and Wes Pue, Provost and Vice Principal (Okanagan)

As many of you are aware, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has recently issued a set of landmark decisions on copyright law. These decisions have changed copyright law in Canada and will have a positive impact on your studies, teaching, research and administrative work at UBC.

The SCC has explicitly recognized that teachers “are there to facilitate the students’ research and private study”, that teachers cannot “be characterized as having the completely separate purpose of ‘instruction’”, and that the teachers’ purpose in providing copies to students is “to enable the students to have the material they need for the purpose of studying.” The Supreme Court of Canada characterized teachers as sharing a “symbiotic purpose with the student/user who is engaging in research or private study.” On this basis, the SCC has decided that the fair dealing exception allows teachers to make copies of copyrighted works and distribute them to students as part of classroom instruction, without a prior request from a student, subject to appropriate conditions.

As part of its efforts to provide students, faculty, and staff with updated support and advice, UBC is updating its Copyright Guidelines and other related guidance documents to take into account the broader scope of activities now permitted under the fair dealing exception. These updated documents will be available at by Monday, August 27. In addition, to ensure that these updates are widely communicated, UBC’s updated Copyright Guidelines as well as a reminder about UBC Policies 104 and 106 (which pertain to use of IT facilities generally) will be presented to all CWL account holders commencing on the same date.

We anticipate that further updates will be made available as amendments to Canada’s Copyright Act come into force. The House of Commons and the Senate have passed Bill C-11 (The Copyright Modernization Act). We understand that Bill C-11 is unlikely to be proclaimed until this autumn at the earliest but we have provided information about the prospective changes at: When it is proclaimed into law, “education” will become a specific exception in Canadian copyright law and UBC will make appropriate further updates to the guidance documents that it has provided to students, faculty, and staff. When that time comes, CWL account holders will be notified and given an opportunity to review and acknowledge the updated Copyright Guidelines. Similar notification and acknowledgement opportunities will occur whenever the Copyright Guidelines are updated and, in any event, at least annually.

UBC remains committed to providing our academic community with the resources it needs to easily and legally access learning and research material. Thank you again for your efforts and support since we embarked on this course last year. Further enhancements are coming over the course of this academic year and we thank you for your continuing commitment to copyright compliance as the Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office (formerly known as the Copyright Advisory Group) continues its efforts to provide a broader range of support mechanisms for our academic community.

For more information and new developments about copyright, please consult the Copyright at UBC website at: If you have any questions about copyright please email and consider attending a workshop: