Copyright means the sole right to produce, reproduce and copy a work in which copyright subsists. In Canada, all original creative works are automatically protected by copyright upon their creation and protection applies whether or not a copyright symbol appears on the material. Only the copyright owner or its authorized licensees have the right to decide when and how the work is to be copied, altered or made available. Regardless of format, the use, reproduction and distribution of copyright protected materials are subject to limits and restrictions.
Under Canada's Copyright Act, the author of the work is generally the owner of the copyright. If the work is created during the course of the author’s employment, the employer holds the copyright, unless there is an agreement to the contrary. The copyright in works prepared by students in fulfillment of College course requirements is owned by the student. Accordingly, the student has the right to control further uses of his/her work. Student’s work may not be used for purposes other than that for which it was assigned by the faculty member teaching their course(s) namely, for evaluation purposes, without the written permission of the student. In instances where the College wishes to make use of student work, e.g. for marketing, fundraising or other specified purposes, the student is required to sign a waiver authorizing the limited use of the work.
Commitment and Responsibility
The College respects the rights of copyright owners and shall not knowingly copy, sell, distribute, or use any print or electronic materials, without the express permission by the copyright owner, or in accordance with appropriate policies and/or licence agreements. All employees and students of Seneca College are required to abide by the Copyright Act, relevant policies and all institutional licensing agreements and can be held liable for non-compliance.
Copyright Abuse – Reporting Alleged Violations
All employees, students and clients should report any real, perceived or believed infraction of the Copyright Policy to the Copyright Technician (CT) or the Student Conduct Office. The Copyright Technician can be reached electronically at [email protected] or by telephone at 416-491-5050 extension 77527. All employees, students and clients are expected to comply with the directions given to them by staff in performing their regular or delegated duties in regards to this Policy, including participating in the investigation/resolution process. It is understood that copyright material cannot be accessed, used, copied, transformed, used for financial gain or distributed using College services, equipment, facilities, except as prescribed by the Copyright Act, College licences and the College Policy. Alleged copyright material cannot be confiscated directly from the person in possession of the material. However, the copyright owner and/or the College will have the right to prohibit the use or where there are College Resources available; restrict access of the material in question, pending the investigation and resolution process defined in these procedures.
Role of Copyright Technician (CT) – Library Information Resolution
Upon receipt of a complaint or report alleging a Policy infraction, the CT will undertake, within 3 working days, to determine if the material in question is copyright protected. Where copyright material, that is not permissible within legislative/policy guidelines or procedures, is being displayed, transmitted, altered, downloaded, distributed or used for financial gain using the College's information technology facilities or equipment, the Computing Security Officer (CSO) shall be notified and assist in conducting the preliminary review.
Where the material is found to be in violation of the Copyright Act and/or College Policy, and depending upon the severity of the activity, the CT under direction of the Copyright Manager or CSO has the discretion, in consultation with the Student Conduct Office [student infractions] or Human Resources [employee infractions], to issue verbal warnings for minor infractions. All warnings shall be documented and reported to the Student Conduct Office or Human Resources for review and recording purposes.
Where the CSO and/or CT have sufficient information to determine that the incident could be a severe breach of Policy, he/she will forward all information to Student Conduct Office or Human Resources for investigation and resolution.
Where the material in question resides on College computer equipment, facilities or networks the material may be removed pending an investigation.
No action will be taken resulting in the seizure of copyright material or severe sanctions without a proper investigation and involvement of the Student Conduct Office or Human Resources, unless notification to the individual and/or group would cause the College to violate specific legal obligations with regards to the dignity, safety or security of its constituents and the reputation of the College. However, it is understood that the College may prohibit and/or restrict the use of any print, audio-visual or electronic material pending the results of the investigation.
Role of Student Conduct Office or Human Resources: Formal Investigation Resolution
Where it is determined that the alleged incident is a severe breach of the Policy, the CT or CSO will submit their preliminary report to the Student Conduct Office [student infractions] or Human Resources [employee infractions]. An Investigator will be assigned to conduct a formal investigation which will include, but is not limited to: a review of the preliminary information; inspection of any materials or evidence presented; interviews with any parties who were involved or may have knowledge of the matter; contact with the owner of the copyright material; as well as consulting with legal counsel and/or enforcement agencies.
The Student Conduct Office or Human Resources, in conjunction with the Copyright Manager and/or CSO, will have the responsibility to finalize and provide an Investigation Report detailing the investigative findings and recommendations to resolve the incident.
Where a breach of the Policy is determined, the Student Conduct Office or Human Resources, in consultation with the Copyright Manager and/or the CSO, (and where appropriate the owner of the copyright material), will determine and communicate what actions, if any, are required to achieve Policy compliance.
Consequences of Policy Violations
Where incidents are found to be in violation of the Policy, and depending upon the severity of the situation and its impact on the institution, the College will exercise its rights and obligation to take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion or termination.
Student and employee sanctions could include, but are not limited to: verbal/written warnings; rescinding of college services; removal of materials from computer equipment facilities and networks; denial of using copyright material in the academic environment/classroom; restitution for costs associated with copyright material, disciplinary directives; behavioural contracts; expulsion, suspension and/or dismissal from the College.
It is understood that where disciplinary action is determined, it shall be conveyed, discussed and confirmed through the appropriate Dean/Chair/Director. Where necessary, any memoranda outlining the College's decisions in the specific situation may be placed on the student's and/or employees' file for up to two years, subject to the provisions of the appeal and/or collective agreement process.
All documentation related to the incident/complaint shall be recorded and maintained in the Student Conduct Office or Human Resources, in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Within 10 working days of receiving the College's decision in the matter and where it is claimed that:
- There was procedural unfairness; and/or
- That the breach was not supported by the facts; and/or
- The sanction was excessive or insufficient.
Either the respondent or complainant may submit a formal appeal in accordance with established College Appeal Procedures. All appeals must be in writing and identify the reasons for the appeal.
Further information regarding your rights and obligations under the Copyright Act, Regulations and this Policy is available from the Copyright Technician who can be reached electronically at [email protected] or by telephone at 416-491-5050 Ext. 77527, and/or the Student Conduct Office at 416-491-5050 Ext. 22078.
Further information about copyright at Seneca and related policies is available at Or by contacting [email protected]
Maintained by: Student Conduct Office, Human Resources and Seneca Libraries