Five Step Analysis for Using Copyright-protected Material

Copyright protection applies to every original literary, artistic, dramatic, or musical work. Under the Copyright Act, the rights-holder of a protected work is the only one able to legally copy or share any substantial portion of that work. However, there are certain limitations and exceptions that allow you to reproduce substantial portions of copyright-protected works. Review the five steps below to determine if and how you may use these works, and whether you will need to ask permission from the rights-holder. 

Step 1: Is the material protected by copyright?

Step 2: Is your access to the work through a subscription or purchased licence?

Step 3: Is your intended use of the work allowed under its terms of use?

Step 4: Does an exception under the Copyright Act apply to your intended use?

Step 5: Asking for Permission.



If you have any questions, please contact the U of A Copyright Office at


Last Updated: 09 November 2021


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