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This paper is about Canada’s move towards copyright reform and how it affects distance education. Copyright affects education in a fundamental way as all course books and reference books come under the Copyright act. Due to the explosion of technology, vast quantity of information is available on the internet to be used by educators and students; but by accessing that information they might be stepping on legal boundaries. It is necessary that students and educators are aware of complex copyright issues that may make their institutions liable. The field of distance education is dependent on telecommunication and digital content, thus copyright laws directly affect distance education. It is important that distance educators and instructors involved in online courses are aware of copyright laws and clearance procedures, and the resources available to assist in these procedures (Wallace, 2004).
Distance educators are the developers of academic and course content for this form of education; they should be fully aware of copyright laws as well as their rights according to fair dealing. The CCH, (2004) case established that fair dealing encompasses use of copyrighted material for private study purposes. Bill C-32 takes matters further by including education under fair dealing thus aiding distance educators in compiling course materials. However, Bill C-32 contains provisions that prohibit use of materials on digital formats which are digitally locked. These provisions are detrimental to distance education as they exclude legal uses of copyrighted material due to digital locks (Guest, 2010; Chan, 2009). Based on these developments, the distance educators and instructors must make sure that they and their students do not violate complicated copyright laws by circumventing digital locks. This paper focuses on the consequences of copyright laws and fair