You are here

What is "non-commercial user-generated content," and what can I do under this Copyright Act provision?

Under section 29.21 of Canada's Copyright Act, an individual may "use an existing work... or copy of one... in the creation of a new work or other subject-matter in which copyright subsists." This is colloquially known as the "mashup provision," as it was designed to allow things like recording a home video with music playing in the background, or creating a collage of photos or video clips, and uploading these resulting works online.

There are a number of conditions to this provision. First, the resulting new work must be created "solely for non-commercial purposes." This means you can't use this provision to create advertising or sell something. You must also cite the source, if it is "reasonable" to include this in your resulting work. You must be reasonably sure that the work you are using was not an infringing (illegal) copy of the original work (e.g. a pirated song or film). Finally, your resulting work must not negatively affect the market (i.e. serve as a substitute) for the original work.

For example, you might want to create a collage of photos and video clips of SFU events, with music in the background. This must not serve as an advertisement (whether for fundraising, to attract enrollment, or to sell anything relating to SFU or tickets to an event). You should attribute the creators of the photos, videos and music in your credits. Your photos, videos and music must come from legitimate sources. And your creation must be an original work, not a replacement for any of the original videos or music you have used.

SFU Archives is a great source for photos, footage and other material to work from.