Library:Why Should I Care/About Copyright

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You're Dealing with Copyrighted Materials Daily

Copyright is everywhere: we all read books and articles, watch videos, listen to music, and use various software and hardware technologies for learning, research, work civic engagement, and entertainment. As a UBC faculty or staff member, you are working with and using copyrighted material frequently (e.g. preparing course material, writing a report, creating a video, working on a website). As a result, you need to be knowledgeable about copyright.

What is Copyright, anyway?

Copyright is about your ability to copy and use content. He are the basics:
(a) there is no copyright in ideas (those are free)
(b) copyright protects the particular expression of an idea, no matter what form that expression takes (writing, musical performance, film, etc.); and (c) the Copyright Act attempts to balance owner's rights against user rights - the point is to enable the owners to bear the fruit of their labour, and to guarantee the public's right to reasonable and fair access to ideas.

The Copyright Act sets out a number of circumstances where a user may copy a work or a part of a work without the copyright owner's permission - in all other circumstances, the user cannot copy the work unless the user has the copyright owner's permission.

Hasn't modern technology made copyright obsolete?

Computer and internet technology gives one the ability, but not the right, to copy a great deal of material without their knowledge. As a result, there is a disconnect between what can be easily (and in most cases, freely) done, and what can legally be done. The speed with which technology has developed has outpaced the efforts to enforce copyright, and this has led to a low level of enforcement and consequences for copyright infringement. This has shaped the public's expectations about what is and what is not ( and what ought and what ought not not) be freely available.

As a result, it can come as a surprise, or at least an unpleasant reminder, that copyright law is not obsolete. It does apply to all content that you 'consume', no matter what form you 'consume' it in. Copyright law determines whether something is in the public domain, freely available for use for a particular purpose, or only available with the copyright holder's permission (and agreement with their terms).