Copyright, in its simplest form, is the right to copy. It is a set of exclusive rights granted by law to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute, and adapt the work. These rights give copyright holders control over the use of their work. Before the advent of digital media and the Internet, that right was relatively straightforward, in that it generally entailed the mechanical reproduction (e.g. by a photocopy machine) of a printed work. In today's digital environment, where information is ubiquitous and easily shared, the legal environment is much more complex. Along with the Canadian Copyright Act, educators now have to navigate a maze of license agreements (e.g. Access Copyright and licenses with individual publishers and distributors) to be sure of staying on the right side of the law. At the same time, a burgeoning movement toward open access research and resources licensed under Creative Commons presents educators with a growing universe of materials to use with their classes.
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