IP and Copyright Issues for
Education in Canada
for the CANARIE-sponsored BELLE Project by:
Mike Wingham, Chief Technology Officer
Gary Euler, Vice President Operations
Suite 500, 700 - 4 Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, T2P 3J4, CANADA
BELLE (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.
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
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
1.3 Access Copyright, The Canadian Copyright Licensing
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
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
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
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
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
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
to generally-accepted standards and practices,
interoperable with other applications,
reflects present rights models, and
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
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
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".