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As of 2012, Canada operates under a major modernization amendment (C-11) to its Copyright Act.

A key consideration that you should understand before for beginning this assignment is the notion of "fair dealing", particularly its exception for "Non-commercial User-generated Content (also known as the ‘mash-up exception’)":

Section 29.21 creates a new exception for content generated by non-commercial uses to allow a consumer the right to use, for non-commercial purposes, a published work to create a new work. This exception is subject to conditions (e.g. identification of the source and author, legality of the original work or the copy used, absence of a substantial adverse effect on the exploitation of the original work). For example, a consumer could splice scenes from videos and movie trailers to create a fan-made trailer or video.


  • the importance of attribution. Keep a list of all materials you sample for your assignment, just as you would for a scholarly essay.
  • the "legality" of the the original work or copy used. This means that if a video has been uploaded illegally, it may not be legal to sample. Also, there is a provision forbidding users to break "digital locks". "Bill C-11 prohibits the circumvention of any access control installed on a work, performer’s performance fixed in a sound recording or a sound recording, even if the work subject to the digital lock is legally acquired. ...The digital lock prohibitions in the Act could potentially “trump” or prevail over various exceptions in the Copyright Act, e.g. the fair dealing or educational exceptions."[1] Digital locks protection applies on most commercial DVDs, and on platforms such as YouTube. (Most popular "YouTube Downloaders" likely circumvent this part of the law.)
  • "absence of a substantial adverse effect on the exploitation of the original work" can mean many things, but a key principle is that whatever is sampled should be significantly "transformed" in the final version

You can avoid many of these stacked grey areas by using "openly licensed" materials, licensed by source such as Creative Commons. (See also Creative Commons Canada.)

Sources of CC licensed materials:

Remember, in most cases attribution requirements still apply. Keep a list of all materials you sample. (Best Practices for CC Attribution)