Use and Reproduction

Note: this guide is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice. The information here refers to the laws of British Columbia and Canada.

How can I use an image or other resource in This Vancouver?

Use and reproduction are controlled by laws and other conventions that are intended to protect the rights, financial or otherwise, of the original creator or rights holder. Users are welcome to share links to the items via social media channels (please cite your sources), but other uses may be restricted. We ask that our users always respect the laws as well as our subjects and our creators when sharing, reproducing or using resources from This Vancouver.

If you have questions about using a resource from This Vancouver, or if you are aware that one of our resources has been mislabelled or is being reused or reproduced improperly please contact us at [email protected] .

Copyright law protects the rights of copyright holders, and gives them control, with some limits, as to how their creative work can be accessed and used. In Canada, the Copyright Act lays out those rules.

In general, the term of copyright for a most creative works is death of the copyright holder plus 50 years. The rights holders can vary. Most often it is the creator, but can also be a corporate body, or else the creator's estate.

For more information see

Fair Dealing Under Copyright Law

Canadian Copyright allows access and reproduction under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act (Fair USE is an American legal concept, with some differences). These include:

  • research, private study, and education
  • parody and satire
  • criticism and review
  • news reporting

There is also the Fair Dealing exception for Non Commerical User Generated content (also known as the Mashup exemption), Section 29.21 of the Canadian Copyright Act.

You can reuse an in-copyright work in your own production if:

  1. The use is strictly non-commerical
  2. You cite the original source / creator
  3. You are not otherwise infringing copyright (ie. Using a pirated copy of the work as your source)
  4. The use does not have an effect on the market potential of the original

See full legal text in the Copyright Act


Canadian privacy laws grant people certain control over their own images, even if they are photographed in a public place. To be protected by privacy law, the person in the photograph must be:

  • Living
  • Recognizable
  • Focus of the image (i.e. not a crowd shot)

If the person meets these qualifications, you are not permitted to reuse their image unless they have granted express permission in cases where:

  • There is a commercial reuse
  • The person can be seen to be promoting, or even associated with, a corporation or organization or even an idea. This includes non-commercial use.

Traditional Knowledge

“Traditional knowledge (TK) is a living body of knowledge passed on from generation to generation within a community. It often forms part of a people’s cultural and spiritual identity. WIPO's program on TK also addresses traditional cultural expressions (TCEs) and genetic resources (GRs).”
— World Intellectual Property Office

Traditional Knowledge labels provide guidance about the reproduction and reuse of these intellectual and creative community assets.

For more information, see Local Contexts, “an initiative to support Native, First Nations, Aboriginal, Inuit, Métis and Indigenous communities in the management of their intellectual property and cultural heritage specifically within the digital environment.”

If you are unsure about the reusage rights associated with a resource, consider using rights and royalty free resources. Contact [email protected] or your local library for information on how to find these.