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Copyright @ NSCC

Copyright information for NSCC faculty, staff and students.

Data and Copyright

Copyright and Data

Copyright does not protect facts, however the original expression or presentation of facts may qualify for copyright protection.

  • "Copyright applies to a database if sufficient skill and judgment go into its selection and arrangement, but not to the underlying data."1
  • "Copyright can protect original data and original aggregations of data. Originality is more likely when people — not machines — curate, annotate, select and arrange the data. Mechanically aggregating large amounts of data does not necessarily provide copyright protection."2
  • When the data can be expressed in only a limited number of ways, then the threshold of originality is not met.2

Contracts and Data Protection

Contracts are often used to assert rights or apply protections to data. Contracts or website terms of use, allow organizations or companies to share their data on the condition that end users agree to protect or acknowledge the data in certain ways; sharing conditions typically specify permissible and impermissible uses of the data, and attribution requirements.1

Follow the contract requirements, or terms of use in your use of third party data.

Using Data from Statistics Canada in Research2

  • information published by Statistics Canada is provided under an open licence (see below for conditions) with the exception of Statistics Canada's postal products and public use microdata files (PUMFs).
  • Authors and researchers must give full credit for any Statistics Canada data, analysis and other content material used or referred to in their studies, articles, papers and other research works; A requirement in the open license.
  • The open licence agreement allows you to use Statistics Canada information without restrictions for commercial and non-commercial purposes.

Open License Terms2

Subject to this agreement, Statistics Canada grants you a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to:

  • use, reproduce, publish, freely distribute, or sell the Information;
  • use, reproduce, publish, freely distribute, or sell Value-added Products; and,
  • sublicence any or all such rights,

under terms consistent with this licence. In doing any of the above, you shall:

  • reproduce the Information accurately;
  • not use the Information in a way that suggests that Statistics Canada endorses you or your use of the Information;
  • not misrepresent the Information or its source; use the Information in a manner that does not breach or infringe any applicable laws;
  • not merge or link the Information with any other databases for the purpose of attempting to identify an individual person, business or organization;
  • not present the Information in such a manner that gives the appearance that you may have received, or had access to, information held by Statistics Canada about any identifiable individual person, business or organization;
  • and not disassemble, decompile or in any way attempt to reverse engineer any software provided as part of the Information.

Citing Statistics Canada Materials

The How to Cite Statistics Canada Products Statistics web page and How to Cite Statistics Canada Products[PDF] provide guidance on how to cite Statistics Canada statistics.


1Torys LLP. (2022). You don’t own your data, but you can still protect it. Torys Quarterly•Spring 2022.

2Honsa, G. (2018, October. Decision clarifies the limits of copyright protection for data. Wilson Lue.

3Statistics Canada.(2022). Statistics Canada open license.