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Copyright resources and links for authors and other creators

The information and links below provide additional resources for individuals creating copyright protected works. 

Copyright tools and forms

Copyright Decision Tree
Provides steps to determine whether you can use a copyright protected work in the way you would like to, both for teaching and for other purposes. Use this in conjunction with other resources and information on this website.

Copyright Decision Tree (text version)

SFU employees have the responsibility to abide by Canada’s Copyright Act and by the University’s own copyright policies.

This decision tree will help you determine whether you can use a copyright protected work in the way you would like to.

Is the work protected by copyright? 

Material not protected by copyright includes material in the public domain and material lacking in creativity or originality such as data, facts or ideas. The FAQs at can help you.

  • Yes (go to next step)
  • No (use the work)

Are you the creator of the work? 

If so, do you own copyright in the work? Or have you retained the right to use it for this purpose, or to use a different version (e.g. a pre-print)?

  • Yes (use the work or the specific version allowed)
  • No (go to next step)

What do you want to do with the work? Is the work licensed for this type of use? 

(E.g. Library license, Open Access, Creative Commons)

  • Yes (use the work and comply with conditions of license)
  • No (go to next step)

Is there a licensing agreement or statement specifically disallowing this use of the work? 

(E.g. website terms of use, restrictions on Library license)

  • Yes (find a different source for the same work without the restriction OR go to "If you are unable to use this material")
  • No (go to next step)

Is the work protected by a technological protection measure (TPM)? 

(E.g. password or download-blocker)

  • Yes (find a different source for the same work without TPM (e.g. scan a print version instead of downloading a pdf) OR go to "If you are unable to use this material")
  • No (go to next step)

Does fair dealing or another Copyright Act exception apply? 

See the Instructors section at for what you can do with copyright protected works for teaching purposes, or contact the Copyright Office ( with any questions.

  • Yes (use the work and comply with conditions in the Act)
  • No (go to next step)

If you are unable to use this material

You could:

  • ask the copyright holder for permission to use the work in this way,
  • adapt the material, repurpose the data in your own way or paraphrase (with attribution in each case),
  • provide a link to the work instead,
  • remove the work, or
  • use a different work.

All works must be legally obtained. Works must be properly cited. 07/2019.

Sample Syllabus Text
For instructors wanting to inform students of their copyright rights and responsibilities, specifically relating to use and sharing of the instructor's teaching materials.

Copyright and 3D Printing
Provides guidelines for creating your own 3D printing designs and objects, or using others' 3D files to print objects.

Consent and Release Form - Photos, Videos, Recordings
Release form for use by any SFU department or group photographing or recording individuals.

Consent and Release Form - Previously Created Work
Release form for use by any SFU department or group sourcing media from the public (e.g. alumni, event attendees).

Independent Contractor Agreement
Agreement for use by any SFU department or group hiring external freelance media creators.

Mysterious and perplexing SFU Copyright Office posters
Information about this SFU Copyright Office campaign using magic show posters in the public domain, created by SFU Library Communications.

SFU copyright resources

Data and copyright
Provides information about how copyright pertains to different types of data, intended for researchers uploading material to Radar.

Scholarly Publishing (SFU Library)
Provides authors with information about options for publishing their scholarly works, including the traditional publishing business model as well as alternatives such as open access journals, open access institutional and disciplinary repositories, Creative Commons licensing and retaining certain creator rights.

About Creative Commons licenses by the Copyright Office

External links

The SFU Copyright Office provides links to external sites for informational purposes only, and does not guarantee the validity of information found on these sites.

Copyright Board of Canada
The Board administers, and has the right to supervise, agreements between users and licensing bodies and issues licenses when the copyright owner cannot be located. Through its website you can find a variety of resources for users of copyright protected material, including information on what to do if you cannot locate the copyright owner of a work.

Canadian Intellectual Property Office
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), a Special Operating Agency associated with Industry Canada, is responsible for the administration and processing of the greater part of intellectual property in Canada. CIPO's areas of activity include patents, trademarks, copyrights, industrial designs, integrated circuit topographies and plant breeders' rights. Through its website you can find a variety of resources for creators of intellectual property.

Creative Commons
Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that promotes and enables the sharing of knowledge and creativity throughout the world. The organization produces and maintains a free suite of licensing tools to allow anyone to easily share, reuse and remix materials with a fair "some rights reserved" approach to copyright. To find Creative Commons licensed materials check out their Content Directories, which list audio, video, image and textual materials, and their Search page.

Open Access publications
Open Access publishers make their contents freely available online. Generally, these materials are also free from most copyright restrictions (usually by way of Creative Commons licensing), meaning they can be copied, built upon and redistributed. To find Open Access materials, see the Directory of Open Access Journals and the Directory of Open Access Books. Much work has been done in BC around open educational resources (OER). For more information about this, see the BCcampus OpenEd site, and their infographic. For more information about Open Access at SFU and publishing your work Open Access, see the Library's Scholarly Publishing site.

Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL)
CARL provides information for scholarly authors about their rights, as well as an author addendum you can use to retain rights when you publish your work.

SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)
SPARC provides a variety of resources for researchers and authors.