Public Domain
Copyright Exceptions

Public Domain
Copyright Exceptions

Copyright Links


Content Stores
Needs Assessment
Pricing #1
Pricing #2
Digital IP and Copyright Issues for
Education in Canada
(Draft #1)

Prepared for the CANARIE-sponsored BELLE Project by:
Mike Wingham, Chief Technology Officer
Gary Euler, Vice President Operations
RightsMarket Inc.
Suite 500, 700 - 4 Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, T2P 3J4, CANADA
[email protected]

1.1 The Player

(Broadband Enabled Lifelong Learning Environment - http://belle.netera.ca/) is a cost-shared project funded by the CANARIE E-learning program.The purpose of the project is to investigate various aspects of building Learning Object Repositories.

The Netera Alliance (http://www.netera.ca) is a not-for-profit organization of institutions whose primary goal is to facilitate the development of advanced information infrastructure in Alberta.Netera is the lead partner of the BELLE project.

RightsMarket Inc.
(http://www.rightsmarket.com) is a public company specializing in Digital Rights Management (DRM) products and services.

(http://www.cancore.ca/) is a Learning Object Metadata Application Profile designed for interchanging Learning Object Metadata. CanCore was established to address the needs of several CANARIE-funded E-learning projects, including BELLE. CanCore is compliant subset of the IEEE Learning Object Metadata standard (http://ltsc.ieee.org/) and the IMS Learning Resource Metadata specification (http://www.imsglobal.org/).

1.2 Digital Rights Management (DRM)

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is the management of the rights of owners of digital content with respect to the use of their digital content. Digital content owners have the same rights and interests as owners of non-digital content: specifically Intellectual Property (IP) rights, Copyrights, and Commercial Rights. The purpose of DRM is to provide an automated way of managing the distribution, use, and reuse of digital content.Management" is a broad term that encompasses a wide variety of components such as usage tracking, authentication, authorization, pay-per-use, licence enforcement, etc.Not all components may be appropriate in a given circumstance.

1.3 Access Copyright, The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency

The following information is excerpted from the Access CopyRight's Web Site at www.accesscopyright.ca.

Access Copyright, The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency, is a not-for-profit agency established in 1988 by publishers and creators to license public access to copyright works. The agency now represents a vast international repertoire along with more than 5,100 Canadian writers, photographers, illustrators and 450 newspaper, book and magazine publishers.

Electronic use and copying is not the same as photocopying. While photocopying extends the usefulness of a printed work, digital technology enables completely new publishing models. For this reason, Access Copyright's comprehensive licences do not authorize any digital use or storage.

Access Copyright does, however, offer digital licences on a transactional basis, to cover some digital uses of works in its repertoire.

This may include scanning (taking a print work and digitizing it), importing a work from a digital form to a print form and taking a digital work and using it in a different digital format.

Here are some digital uses of works for which Access Copyright may grant digital transactional licences.


Scanning from a paper original into a computer is often referred to as digitization. If it is done without the consent of the copyright holder, it is likely to be an infringement of copyright. Permission to scan extracts from an ever-increasing range of published works is now obtainable through Access Copyright.

Intranets and the Internet

Copyright law applies to the Internet as it does to paper. It is an infringement of copyright to post material on a Web site, for example, without the consent of the copyright holder. This applies whether the site is an intranet, accessible only to members of an organization, or the Internet.

For digitized extracts from books, journals or periodicals to be placed on an intranet, the copyright holder's consent may be obtained under an Access Copyright transactional digital licence.

It is unclear whether a simple hyperlink from one site to another infringes copyright. However, as a matter of courtesy, it is good practice to notify by e-mail those sites to which you intend to link.

Using Internet material
Many Web sites contain a copyright notice detailing how the material they contain may be used. Often this is in the form of a hyperlink from a short copyright notice to a more detailed statement of what is permitted.

If no copyright notice is provided, it is not safe to assume anything. For a use beyond everyday web browsing, permission should be obtained. A good starting point is to send an e-mail to the site's webmaster.

1.4 Digital Rights Expression Language (DREL)

A prerequisite for Digital Rights Management is the expression of the rights to be managed; this is the role of a Digital Rights Expression Language (DREL). Examples of DRELs are the eXtensible rights Markup Language (XrML - http://www.xrml.org/) and the Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL - http://www.odrl.net/).The objectives of a DREL are to provide a language that:

  • is unambiguous,
  • is computer-processable,
  • adheres to generally-accepted standards and practices,
  • is interoperable with other applications,
  • accurately reflects present rights models, and
  • is extensible to accommodate future rights models.

The last two points indicate that a DREL must represent current and future usage policies.These policies are not created from nothing; they are based on existing and developing Intellectual Property (IP) and copyright laws and practices.

Therefore, there is a chain of prerequisites for effective DRM:

1. DRM requires a DREL.
2. A DREL must accurately reflect IP and copyright laws and practices.

1.5 CanCore and DRM / DREL

DRM is an important component of any Learning Object Repository, since it facilities the legal and orderly usage of Learning Objects.A prerequisite for Digital Rights Management is the expression of the rights to be managed; this is the role of a Digital Rights Expression Language (DREL). CanCore currently contains an Element Group called "Rights". This element group is essentially a placeholder for a future DREL which may be internal or external to the CanCore Element Specification.For example, the CanCore element "Copyrightandotherrestrictions" can only have the values "yes" or "no".