Copyright Policy


To ensure compliance with the Copyright Act as it relates to the use, reproduction and distribution of copyright-protected work.


The policy applies to all Seneca employees and students.

Key Definitions


The sole right to produce, reproduce and copy a work. In Canada, all original creative works are automatically protected by copyright upon their creation and protection applies whether or not a copyright symbol appears on the material. Only the copyright owner or its authorized licensees have the right to decide when and how the work is to be copied, altered or made available. Regardless of format, the use, reproduction and distribution of copyright protected materials are subject to limits and restrictions.


Full-time, part-time and contract faculty, support staff and administrators of Seneca.


1. Commitment and Responsibility

1.1 Seneca respects the rights of copyright owners and shall not knowingly copy, sell, distribute or use any print or electronic materials without the express permission of the copyright owner or in accordance with the appropriate policies and/or licence agreements.

1.2 Seneca employees and students shall abide by the Copyright Act, relevant policies and Seneca’s licence agreements and can be held liable for non-compliance.

1.3 Copyright material shall not be accessed, copied, transformed, used for financial gain or distributed using Seneca’s services, equipment or facilities unless prescribed by the Copyright Act, Seneca’s licence agreements or this policy.

2. Ownership

2.1 In accordance with the Copyright Act, the author of original creative work is generally the owner of the copyright.

2.2 Seneca shall hold the copyright of work created during the course of an author’s employment with Seneca unless an agreement states otherwise.

2.3 The copyright of work prepared by students in fulfilment of their Seneca program requirements shall be owned by the student. The students have the right to control all further uses of their work.

2.4 Seneca faculty shall not use a student’s work for purposes other than that for which it was assigned unless prior written consent is received from the student.

2.5 Seneca shall obtain a signed waiver from students to use their work for purposes other than which it was assigned, such as marketing or fundraising.

3. Policy Violation

3.1 Seneca employees, students and clients must report any real, perceived or believed violation of this policy to the Copyright Technician or Student Conduct Office.

3.2 Seneca employees, students and clients must comply with the directions given to them by staff in performing their regular or delegated duties with regard to this policy. This includes participating in the investigation and resolution process of alleged copyright infringements.

3.3 Copyright work related to an alleged violation will not be confiscated directly from the individual in possession of it. However, the copyright owner and/or Seneca have the right to prohibit use or, where Seneca resources are involved, restrict access of the material in question, pending the investigation and resolution process by the Student Conduct Office (for student violations) or Human Resources (for employee violations). For example, if the work in question resides on Seneca computer equipment, within facilities or on networks, it may be removed pending the results of an investigation.

3.4 All documentation related to the alleged violation shall be recorded and maintained in the Student Conduct Office (for student violations) or Human Resources (for employee violations) in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. For more information, refer to Seneca’s Copyright Procedure.

4. Enforcement

4.1 Where it is determined that a violation of this policy has occurred, Seneca shall exercise its right and obligation to sanction the offending student or employee, which may include:

  • Verbal/written warnings
  • Rescinding of Seneca services
  • Removal of materials from computer equipment facilities and networks
  • Denial of using copyright material in the academic environment/classroom
  • Restitution for costs associated with copyright material
  • Disciplinary directives
  • Behavioural contracts
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Dismissal

4.2 The appropriate Chair, Dean or Director shall discuss, confirm and convey the recommended sanction for a violation of this policy.

4.3 Documentation outlining Seneca’s decisions in a specific violation may be placed on the student’s and/or employee’s file for up to two years, subject to the provisions of the appeal and/or collective agreement processes.

5. Formal Appeal

5.1 The respondent or complainant may submit a formal appeal in accordance with Seneca’s Academic Appeal Procedure within 10 working days of receiving Seneca’s decision on the violation and where one or more of the following are claimed:

  • There was procedural unfairness
  • The violation was not supported by the facts
  • The sanction was excessive or insufficient.

5.2 Appeals must be made in writing and clearly identify the reasons for the appeal.

Supporting Documentation

  • None

Related Seneca Policies

Related Materials