Copyright at Georgian

Library & Academic Success Copyright Team

Library & Academic Success Copyright Team

Library &<br/>Academic Success



This guide was designed solely for informational purposes for Georgian College students, faculty & staff.

All other users are encouraged to check and confirm the information with their institution.

This site is prepared by library staff and is not reviewed by legal counsel.

Students, YOU are responsible for...

  1. Knowing Georgian's Academic Integrity and Copyright policies.
    Stating that you were not aware of these policies will not prevent you from facing disciplinary action in issues of Academic Misconduct or Copyright infringement.  
  2. Respecting Copyright and Intellectual Property for course materials posted by your Professor.
    Content posted and shared by your Professor (Blackboard or elsewhere) is intended for your educational use only while you are enrolled in the course.  Sharing, posting or copying any content elsewhere without permission from the copyright holder is a violation of copyright!
  3. Verifying that you have permission to share content before you share/post/distribute.
    This includes copying, scanning, downloading, screen sharing, or otherwise sharing the content/info.
  4. Avoiding Academic Misconduct by starting fresh with each new assignment.
    Reusing work or research completed for a previous assignment/course is academically dishonest. Check with your professor for expectations and guidance on all assignments.
  5. Clarifying expectations around group work.
    Make sure you know when you are working in groups or alone and know when it is okay to collaborate on an assignment or project. 
  6. Keeping track of sources while researching so you can cite properly and find them again when needed.
    Ask the library for tips and tricks to make this easier.
  7. Citing the research, source materials and work of others that you use in your own assignments.
    See the Library's citation guide or connect with the Writing Centre for more help.

If you need help, come and ask us at the library! 

Copyright Infringement vs. Plagiarism

Copyright infringement and plagiarism are two different things. 

Copyright infringement happens when you use someone else's work in a way that violates their rights. This could include copying their work or sharing it without their permission. Copyright infringement is breaking the law.


  • Downloading 4 chapters from a eBook to share with others. 
  • Showing a movie on campus after class and charging admission.

Plagiarism is the act of using another person's words or work as your own.  Plagiarism can result in Academic Misconduct and affect your progress in College.


  • Copying and pasting a whole paragraph found online into an assignment
  • Handing in someone else's work as your own
  • Quoting someone else's words without citing the source.

The following diagram and chart shows what actions fall into each category so that you can avoid them and prevent any disciplinary action! 

Accidental or unintentional plagiarism is still plagiarism. 


this is a venn diagram on the left side plagiarism is when you don't say where you took it from. The right side copyright infringement is when you take it without permission and the use is not allowed by the copyright act. The intersection between the two is both, when your use is not permitted by the copyright act and you pass it off as your work

This image, "Plagiarism vs Copyright"  by MLauba, was adapted by Sheridan College Libraries and is used under licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0,

Copyright Infringement  Plagiarism  Both Copyright Infringement and Plagiarism 
Copy an entire article, upload it and share it online.  Copy a paragraph from an article in your assignment and not credit it.  Copy an entire article or paragraph and pretend you wrote it. 
Copy an entire book and provide credit to the author.  Copy a paragraph from a book and include it in your assignment and not credit it.  Copy an entire book and pretend you wrote it. 
Copy an image and not include credit to the creator.  Copy the image into your assignment and not include an in-text citation or reference list entry.   Copy the image into your assignment and pretend you created it.  
Copy the entire text from a website but and provide credit to the author.   Copy a paragraph from a website in your assignment.  Copy the entire text or paragraph from a website and pretend you wrote it.  

When Students are Creators

Copyright for Creative Works 

As a student, you are a creator who produces work in different formats to meet academic requirements, to share ideas and to learn for the future.  Did you know that academic work also represents your intellectual property?  Intellectual property refers to the creations of the mind such as designs, blueprints, software, inventions, logos, photographs as well as other literary, artistic, dramatic and scholarly works.

Quick Facts!

  • Copyright protection is automatically given to all original literary, scholarly and artistic works as soon as they are in a fixed form, i.e., written down, produced as a video and more.
  • You own the copyright over your work unless you sign the rights over to someone else, i.e., submit it to a journal for publication.
  • Remember, copyright does not protect ideas, facts, methods or data, since these do not have a creator.
  • Copyright is protected without formal registration, but it is still recommended!  See why you should register with the  Canadian Intellectual Property Office here.
  • As a rule, your employer will own the copyrights to your work.
  • Moral rights cannot be transferred or given away, although they can be waived.   Even if you sign the copyright to someone else, you continue to hold the moral rights to your work.  Your moral rights include: 
    • The right to remain anonymous or adopt a pseudonym    
    • The right to prevent distortion, mutilation or modification of your work
    • The right to be credited for your work

What You Need to Know as Student and Creator

Scholarly Works include Research Papers, PowerPoints and Reports.

  • If your paper, PowerPoint or report is submitted to a journal or conference, you may not be the copyright owner. Copyright ownership may be transferred to the publisher outlined in a publishing contract
  • Ask questions about your copyright!
  • Publishing contracts vary, with Open Access and Creative Commons licensing becoming more widely used. You should check your options, rights and responsibilities before you sign an agreement

Movie tape iconDramatic works include videos and film.

"Movie Tape Icon" by gsagri04 is in the Public Domain.

OEROER are an example of a literary work.

  • Others can adopt/adapt your OER according to Creative Commons license, but they need to attribute your work
  • Creative Commons licenses do not replace copyright, they add to end user permissions
  • OERs are usually accessible and have been released under an open license that permit no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others
  • Creative Commons licenses do not replace copyrights, but they allow you to give permissions on how people can use your work

"Global Open Educational Resources (OER) Logo - Black and White variation" by
Jonathasmello is licensed under CC BY 3.0 Unported

Computer / Digital works can include software Code, Computer Software, Websites, Wikis, Blogs, and Databases

  • If you add new non-obvious functions to a computer system, consider obtaining a patent from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office
  • If you are creating software for an employer, it’s possible that the employer may legally own the copyright to the work. Consider speaking with a Patent Agent
  • Best practice is to have a written agreement which addresses the issue of copyright ownership
  • An alternative to assigning the entire copyright to an employer is to license your work in a limited capacity. This allows another person/party to use your work under certain conditions, while you retain ownership



Artistic works may include Photos, Paintings, Graphics, Sculptures, Blueprints, Drawings, Jewelry and More.

  • If uploading your photos to social media or streaming platforms, carefully read your options and rights for Creative Commons Licenses  
  • Artistic works, converted to logos for a company’s brand identity, may be registered as a trademark, even if the original work is already benefiting from copyright. You can file a trademark with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office  Government of Canada, Trademark
  • If you are creating artistic work for an employer or client, they may legally own the copyright in the work. It is good practice to have a written agreement which addresses issues of ownership e.g. a client commissioning a photograph
  • As a visual artist the Copyright Visual Arts organization can manage your rights and provide representation
  • If an employer/art gallery/museum has the copyright to the artistic work, you as an artist, still maintain the moral rights
  • Architects and interior designers are usually recommended to draft agreements or negotiate assignments or licenses for their blueprints and designs
  • Jewelry has copyright infringement implications. In order to establish copyright, the following needs to be established: direct proof of copying and the similarity to the works and evidence of access to the work

"Person Painting" by Shelagh Murphy is free to use under Pexels license

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