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Author's Rights

Transferring copyright doesn’t have to be all or nothing. The law allows you to transfer copyright while holding back rights for yourself and others.

Seeking Permission Template


TRU affliated individuals can only submit items to TRUSpace for which they own the copyright, or have permission from the copyright-holder to do so.

Do you own the copyright in your work?

Yes, if the item is entirely your own work, unless you have transferred your rights to another party, such as a journal publisher.

If your work includes third-party material, you will need to have written permission from that third-party to post the item in TRUSpace.

If you transferred your copyright to another party

Standard journal and book publishing contracts require authors to transfer their copyright to the publisher. That means that the authors are no longer free to do what they wish with that work.

Most journal publishers will permit authors to upload specific versions of the work to an institutional repository such as TRUSpace or to a personal web page. Most book publishers will not grant such permission. Policies vary by publisher.

Before you submit a previously-published item to TRUSpace, you will need to check whether you are permitted to do so. The best way to check is to read the agreement that you signed with your publisher. If you cannot find that agreement, you can use the following tools to search for the publisher's standard policy.

Some publishers will permit you to upload either a pre-print (prior to peer-review) or post-print (after peer-review) version of a journal article to an institutional repository or to your personal web page. Only a few permit you to upload the publisher's final typeset version.

Contact the publisher directly by email or by online form from the publisher website to determine its copyright policies and/or request permission; here is a link to a template for requesting permission from a publisher

Work with the Scholarly Communications Librarian who will help with these questions

How to Obtain Permission

Permission from copyright holders is often needed when creating course materials, research papers, and web sites. You need to obtain permission when you use a work in a way that infringes on the exclusive rights granted to a copyright holder if it falls outside the boundaries of fair dealing or other exceptions under the Copyright Act.

Steps that need to be followed to obtain permission to use copyrighted material:

  1. Determine if permission is needed for the work you want to use.
  2. Exceptions to the need to obtain permission include:   
    - material that specifically states that it can be used freely
    - material in the 'public domain' (material where the creator has been dead for over 50 years or has donated the material to the public). This material still needs to be attributed to the  owner of the work (cited).
  3. Identify the copyright holder or agent.  You can usually obtain the permission by contacting the copyright holder or agent from the email address on the publisher’s website.
  4. Send written request for the permission to use. Remember to give yourself ample lead time, as the process for obtaining permissions can take months. Decide if you are willing to pay a licensing fee/royalty.
  5. If the copyright holder can't be located or is unresponsive (or if you are unwilling to pay a license fee), be prepared to use a limited amount that qualifies for fair dealing, or use alternative material.

When you are making a request to copy remember to include all relevant information so that your request is not delayed. Clearly state that no changes will be made to the material and that acknowledgement to the author and rights holder will be given.

Always keep a copy of the permission request and the copyright holder’s response.  If you need help in obtaining copyright permission or have questions about the process, please contact TRU's Intellectual Property Office.

Your email to the copyright holder should include:

  • Date of your request:
  • TRU
    Course Name:
    Course Code:
    Term Start & End Date:
    Date Material will be Needed:

    Source Title:
    ISBN, ISSN or URL (if applicable):
    Year Published:
    Page Range to be Copied:
    Chapter # & Title (if applicable):
  • Number of Copies to be made: 
  • Type of Copying (Digital on a password protected site) / Print for class handouts):
    For Classroom Educational Use (Yes/No):

Keep a copy of everything. If you successfully obtain permission, keep a copy of all correspondence and forms. Also, keep a detailed record of your quest to identify and locate the copyright owner. Why keep these records? In the unlikely event that your use of the work is ever challenged, you will need to demonstrate your good efforts. That challenge could arise far in the future, so keep a permanent file of the records. Moreover, you might need to contact that same copyright owner again for a later use of the work, and your notes from the past will make the task easier.

Frequently Asked Questions About Copyright

Who owns copyright?

In general, the author or creator of a work owns the copyright.  Exceptions to this rule are:

         1.     if you produced the materials as part of your employment, unless you have an agreement to the contrary;  below is the wording from the Canadian Copyright Act section 13(3):

 “ Where the author of a work was in the employment of some other person under a contract of service or apprenticeship and the work was made in the course of his employment by that person, the person by whom the author was employed shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be the first owner of the copyright, but where the work is an article or other contribution to a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical, there shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be deemed to be reserved to the author a right to restrain the publication of the work, otherwise than as part of a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical.”

At TRU, faculty, staff and students will generally own the copyright in works they create through teaching and research, with certain exceptions.  For Faculty, see section 9.4 of the Collective Agreement

9.4 Copyright and Intellectual Property

9.4.1 Employees shall be entitled to copyright protection as provided by statute.

9.4.2 Copyright Ownership
The copyright or patent for any work product, including creative work, instructional strategies or curriculum/instructional material, software or any other material or technology that may be copyrighted or patented:

(a) belongs to the employee(s) where the work product has been prepared or created as part of assigned duties, other than the duties listed in Article 9.4.2(b) below, and the copyright to all copyrightable material shall be the sole property of the employee(s) and shall be retained throughout his or her lifetime and upon his/her death by his/her heirs or assigns; and

(b) belongs to the University where one or more employees: (i) have been hired or agrees to create and produce copyrightable work product for the university, or (ii) are given release time from usual duties to create and produce copyrightable work product, or (iii) are paid, in addition to their regular rate of pay, for their time in an appointment to produce copyrightable work product.

How are re-use rights of materials in TRUSpace determined:

  • Through Canadian copyright legislation
  • Under a Creative Commons license if present
  • Under Copyright holder restrictions or stipulations


Do I sign over my copyright when I deposit my works in TRUSpace?

No, the copyright status of your work remains the same. You merely grant TRUSpace a licence that allows your work to be made available in TRUSpace and to preserve your work by migrating it into newer formats as technology changes


What if I am not the sole author? 

You will need to obtain the consent of all coauthors prior to depositing in TRUSpace.


What if my work contains third party material?

Some use of third party material is permissible under the Fair Dealing provision of the Copyright Act.  If your use is not covered under Fair Dealing, you will need to seek permission from the creator/rights holder if you want to include any third party copyrighted material such as extracts from books, journals or other publications, or illustrations such as images, maps, photographs, tables, etc.  Note: the rights holder may be the author of a work, a publisher, an illustrator etc. 


What is a SPARC Canadian Author's Addendum to Publication Agreement?

The SPARC Canadian Author Addendum enables authors to try and secure a more balanced agreement by retaining select rights, such as the rights to reproduce, reuse, and publicly present the articles they publish for non-commercial purposes.

How do I know if my funding agency requires or encourages depositing into an Institutional Repository like TRUSpace?

JULIET  provides summaries of funding agencies' grant conditions on self-archiving of research publications and data.

Will I be violating my copyright agreements with my publisher if I contribute previously published material to TRUSpace?

This will depend on the publication agreement you signed with your publisher. Please check your copy of your Copyright Transfer Agreement.

You can also check the SHERPA/RoMEO website  for publishers' copyright and self-archiving policies to find permissions normally given to the author as part of each publisher's copyright transfer agreement.  Many publishers allow some version of a previously published article to be deposited in an open access repository as long as you follow their conditions.

You can also check your own publisher’s website. When in doubt it is best to contact the publisher directly for permission to contribute your article to TRUSpace


What version of an article can I deposit in TRUSpace?  

This depends on your publisher. Publishers often permit authors to self-archive the final pre-publication version of their works, but this is not a universal practice. You can also check the SHERPA/RoMEO website for publishers' copyright and self-archiving policies.

Of course, if you own copyright of your work, you can post whatever version you prefer though it is important to remember that some publishers do consider depositing to a digital repository to be "prior publication".


What is a preprint or author manuscript?

Most publishers allow some version of the author's manuscript to be submitted to an institutional repository, with some of the more generous publishers allowing the publisher's version to be deposited. There are different versions of an author's manuscript:

Preprint: The "pre" in preprint means pre-refereeing (i.e., unrefereed) research papers, almost all of them prepared for submission to refereed journals (or refereed conference proceedings) for refereeing.


What is a Postprint?

Postprint:  The "post" in postprint means post-refereeing (i.e., refereed, revised, accepted final drafts of) research papers, all of them appearing in or soon to appear in refereed journals (or refereed conference proceedings). Note that the author's final draft (author's final version) will have the same content as the publisher's final version, but the author's final version has far fewer restrictions on it than the publisher's version of record. For example, the author's final version could be deposited in TRUSpace, but the publisher version could not be deposited.

 What do I do if I can't find my publisher in Romeo? and/or if I believe I need to ask permission from my publisher?

If you have published in journals that do not have clear guidelines on author rights for publishing pre-prints, postprints, publisher PDFs, you can inquire of the publisher/editor as to whether/what you can publish in TRUSpace.  Click here for a sample letter or email to send to the publisher. 


How do I find where to send my request for permission letter?

Check the webisite of the publisher.  They will often have a link at the bottom of the website entitled:  "Terms of Use" or "Contact Us" or "Authors and Permissions" and will give an address of where to send the request. Often it is easier to get permission from the publisher when the author contacts the editor they worked with during the publication process. 


Where can I find current information and guidelines on Copyright

TRU's Intellectual Property Office can help guide you on current issues on copyright.