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Copyright: Mash-Ups

Have a Question on Copyright?

Information provided in our guide can often be confusing and hard to interpret. If ever in doubt contact Marcia Steeves the College's Academic Integrity and Copyright Officer.


One of the most interesting changes to the copyright law is the section called “Non-commercial User-generated Content” (Copyright Act, 29.21).   This section is also known as the “mashup” law.


A mashup is “content containing any or all of text, graphics, audio, video and animation drawn from pre-existing sources, to create a new derivative work.” (from Wikipedia)

Mashups take 2 or more things and mashes them together. So imagine taking a song, video footage and your lecture and mashing it together.

This law is the first of its kind in the world and allows the use of copyrighted material in the creation of new works (under certain conditions).

So what can you do?

  • use a variety of copyrighted works such as music, video, scanned print materials, images and more to create a mashup.
  • upload it publicly to internet sites like YouTube, Vimeo, SlideShare or any other site.


  • The copyrighted material is a legitimate copy (e.g. you didn’t use a pirated/illegal copy of the item)
  • You didn’t acquire the legitimate material through a contract that prevents using the item in a mashup (e.g. iTunes, iStock Photo)
  • You don't have to break a digital lock to use the material (e.g. you can’t rip a DVD or CD that has encoding that prevents copying)
  • The material is cited
  • Your video is not for promotional or commercial purposes
  • The material is used to create a transformative work – this new law is meant to encourage creativity and content creation
  • The use of the material in your video will not impact the market for the material (e.g. you’ve used an entire Lady Gaga album in your video which means people can now download the album for free and not have to purchase it)

Examples of using the new law:

Image from the internet + public domain image (although they didn’t cite it!) + commentary = a political poster

Images from the internet + music from the internet + instruction = an educational video

Images from the internet (again, they should have cited the images!) + facts + commentary = informational presentation

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