By: Emily Plunkett

The Copyright Modernization Act is changing the way Algonquin College handles fair dealing of educational materials.

In a press release issued on Sept. 28 by vice president academic, Claude Brulé, the college announced it would be making changes to its fair dealing policies in accordance with the imminent passing of the federal bill C-11.

The policy presented to students was recommended by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges.

Library technician and copyright expert, Jessica Zhang explained that copyright protection exists automatically when the work is credited and the copyright holder has the sole right to use and to keep others from using their work without permission until 50 years after the death of the author.

“Faculty, staff and students may use copyrighted works under certain conditions under the outlining of the fair dealing policy,” Zhang said.

Under the new policy, students are now protected in using short excerpts from copyright protected media for educational use. For example, a student may make photocopies of a page of their textbook for distrubtion as part of a presentation. However under the new provisions, their photocopy must not exceed 10 per cent of the copyrighted material.

The new policy, however, does not completely exempt students from all policies outlined in the Copyright Modernization Act.

“There’s no sugar-coating the digital lock disappointment,” said University of Ottawa law professor and columnist, Michael Geist.

Under the new copyright act, the biggest controversy surrounds the provisioning set aside for digital locks. When applied to media such as DVDs or CDs, locks are not permitted to be broken, not even for personal use such as transferring a DVD movie to a digital form to be enjoyed on a smartphone.

Geist, a vocal opponent of the digital lock component of the bill, sees the benefit of the fair trade dealing to students. Providing they do not break the lock of a secure DVD, students may share a video clip from a DVD within a presentation.

“The one thing to recognize is that there are going to be some restrictions where digital locks are in place, but at the same time recognize that there are now considerable amount of new exceptions geared specifically to education,” said Geist.

“The court has sent a clear signal that some of that copying is covered by fair dealing and doesn’t require a licence or further compensation.”

For more information regarding the changes to the copyright act as it applies to Algonquin students, visit