Mixed Copyright Ownership

Archival records and copyright

Archival records are typically protected materials under the terms of Canada's Copyright Act. The copyright owner of a record is typically the person who authored it; in a business context this will usually be the corporate body that was the author's employer (works made in the course of employment).

Archival fonds, series and files are aggregates of documents made or received by a person or organization in the course of their activities. This means that any given fonds, series or file will often have mixed copyright ownership. The fonds creator will own copyright in those materials they themselves authored, but most of the documents they received (e.g. incoming correspondence) or collected remain in the copyright of the persons or organizations ("third parties") who originally created them.

So university records will usually include a mix of SFU-owned works and third-party copyright-protected materials. Similarly, privately donated archives will typically include some materials whose copyright belongs to the donor and some to third parties.

SFU or donor-owned copyright material: Creative Commons

For university records that were authored by SFU employees in their course of university business (SFU-owned materials), the Archives makes these under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license (CC BY-NC). For non-university records donated to the Archives, we encourage donors to retain copyright in their own materials, but agree to license their use under the same CC license. Under its terms, users are free to copy, share and adapt the materials as they like provided they credit the owner as the creator, indicate any changes they have made, and use the works for a non-commercial purpose. All requests for commercial use should be made in writing to SFU Archives.

Note that SFU copyright does NOT apply to teaching and research materials created by faculty, staff and students, who retain copyright in those works.

Third-party copyright material: fair dealing

For materials in which third parties own copyright, the Archives will make copies available for private study or research purposes under the fair dealing provisions of Canada's Copyright Act. Use for any other purpose (e.g. publication) may require the permission of the copyright owner.

SFU Archives can assist researchers in attempting to identify copyright owners, but it is users' responsibility to contact owners and secure any permissions themselves.

Find copyright information

In the archival description, copyright information will typically be given in the note on Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication. Contact the reference archivist for more information about copyright ownership in particular cases. For more information on users' rights and responsibilities under fair dealing, consult with SFU's Copyright Office.