CAUT Guidelines for the Use of Copyrighted Material

Canadian Association of University Teachers, May 09, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Michael Geist reports: "The Canadian Association of University Teachers has released a new comprehensive guide to the use of copyrighted materials in schools. The guidelines assess the current state of fair dealing in Canada and provide assistance for those with questions on their copyright rights." I would add that the guide is outstanding for its clear writing and focus. I really like the way it describes what you can do, rather than what you can't. And I like the way it describes fair dealing (what Americans would call "fair use") as a matter of interpretation rather than statute. "Fair dealing is undermined by over simplification and the declaration of abstract, bright line rules. Unduly constrained approaches must be rejected as they do not reflect traditional academic practices, court decisions or the language of the
Copyright Act. The first test for fairness is individual judgment."

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