Skip to Main Content

Copyright for Students

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a collection of rights that protects the creator or owner of a work. It balances the rights of users with the rights of creators to ensure that works are used in a fair way and that creators are compensated for their work.


Copyright Law

Understanding copyright law and how it applies to the community at Assiniboine begins with the Copyright Act. Canada’s Copyright Act was originally enacted in 1924 and revised in 2012. It allows the use of many copyrighted materials by educational institutions such as Assiniboine. Copyright exists for most works in fixed form for 70 years after the death of the creator (new as of July 1, 2020 - Canada has two-and-a-half years to implement this change). After this time, the work goes into the public domain and may be freely used.

For more background information on copyright and how it applies to material at Assiniboine, consult the "What is Copyright" page of this guide.


How Does Copyright Affect Students?

As a student, there are a number of reasons why it's important to be aware of copyright, including:

  • what happens when someone infringes on a copyrighted work
  • how you can protect your own materials from infringement


Copyright Infringement

Copyright infringement occurs where a person wrongfully uses your work without your permission or does anything only an owner is allowed to do, as stated in the Copyright Act. Infringement may include acts such as copying, performing, selling/distributing, or posting your work on the internet without your permission.

Student Created Material

As a student and a professional it's necessary to be aware of the role copyright plays in the work that you do. Ownership of intellectual property, and therefore copyright protection, can be affected by policy, either at:

  • the school at which you're studying or
  • at the job where you're employed.

Assiniboine's Policy R-03, section B outlines that students own the intellectual property of the works they develop during their studies. This means you control copyright of those materials, but with a few notable exceptions.


Copyright as an Employee of an Organization

Your work is valuable and it’s important to understand your rights, as they can change depending on your situation. For example, when you're employed by an organization, that organization may own any of the intellectual property you create in the course of your duties. This would mean that you would not have the ability to profit from the work or share your work unless permission was given to you by the organization.


Copyright as an Employee of Assiniboine

If you're employed by Assiniboine as a student worker, the college owns the work you create in the course of your duties. If you're completing a project in partnership with an outside organization or business during the course of your studies here at Assiniboine it's best to speak with your instructors and the partnering business to see who owns the work that is created.


Copyright and work ownership can be complicated. Please reach out the Assiniboine's Copyright Officer if you'd like to discuss things further or have any questions!

File Sharing Sites

What is academic file-sharing?

Academic file-sharing sites facilitate “the transfer and trading of lecture materials, notes, assessment tasks, answers, and responses with others, including Internet-based sites, for a fee, for free, or to barter” (Rogerson & Basanta, 2016).  This includes sites such as CourseHero, OneClass, and StuDocu.

Since anyone can upload files of any quality to these sites, what you're seeing there may not be well-researched or well-written. They have also blackmailed and extorted students who have engaged with their sites or similar contract cheating services. It is also considered copyright infringement to post school materials to these sites without the permission of the school.

File-sharing sites will often share your information if the copyright holder of what you've uploaded – such as an instructor or college – asks for it to be removed.