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Copyright refers to the exclusive legal rights given to the creator or author to produce, reproduce, publish, display, make available, distribute or perform an original literary, artistic, dramatic or musical works. This is why copyright is often referred to as a “bundle of rights”.

Copyright allows rights owners in creative works such as music, poetry, literature, software and films to protect their work from being copied or used without their permission.

Copyright protects original creative works as long as it meets the conditions set out in the Copyright Act of Canada (the “Copyright Act”). Literary, musical, artistic, or other creative works are protected, but facts, ideas, and systems are not protected. In brief, copyright protects the expression of an idea, but not the idea itself – nobody can have a monopoly or exclusive rights in an idea.

No, you don’t have to register your original work to obtain a copyright. As long as your work qualifies as an original work is protected under the Copyright Act, it’s immediately protected by copyright once it’s in a tangible form.

Yes, unless you are an employee who created the work within the scope of your employment in which case the presumption would be that the work belongs to your employer – for example, a staff photographer for a newspaper or a software coder for a technology company. You can also assign your copyright in the work to someone else, but it must be in writing and signed.

While you don’t have to register your copyright to be protected in Canada, it does come with certain benefits. Copyright registration creates a presumption that the work is protected by copyright and that you are the registered owner of the copyright. This presumption can be rebutted, but it can be helpful in asserting your rights in the work.

In Canada, copyright lasts your entire life plus an additional 50 years. After those 50 years, the copyright ends and the work enters the public domain. However, as part of Canada’s obligations under the USCMA (the new NAFTA agreement), the term of copyright will be extended to the life of the creator plus 70 years in 2022. William Shakespeare’s works are an example of public domain materials. There is a common misconception that works reproduced on the internet or on social media are in the “public domain” and that is false – works only enter the public domain through the death of the creator or if the rights owner grants their work to the public domain.

Copyright protects original creative works. As noted, facts and ideas do not meet the conditions of the Copyright Act, as well as anything in the public domain. There could also be utilitarian works such as very simple designs and photographs that do not satisfy the threshold for originality, but keep in mind that the threshold is very low – it does not need to be a “work of art” in order to be protected by copyright.

Copyright infringement occurs when someone does something that only the copyright owner has the right to do without the consent of the owner, such as reproducing the work or any substantial part of the work. Copyright infringement does not require knowledge that a work is protected by copyright or an intent to infringe on the part of the infringer.

Secondary infringement occurs when someone does something like selling, renting, distributing or importing into Canada a copy of a work that infringes copyright or would infringe copyright if it had been made in Canada. Secondary infringement has a knowledge requirement where the person has to know or should have known that the copy of the work infringes copyright.

Author’s also have moral rights in their work, which include the right to be identified as the author of the work, the right to integrity or maintain the work as first expressed and the right to association. Moral rights cannot be assigned or transferred – they can only be waived by the author.

An infringement of moral rights occurs when someone does something (or fails to do something) in way that is contrary to an author’s moral rights. For example, an author’s right to integrity is infringed if a work distorted or modified or used in an association with a product or service in a way that prejudice’s the author’s honour or reputation.

When a work is infringed, a copyright owner can elect for statutory damages instead of actual damages. Statutory damages recognize that sometimes it’s hard to prove the exact dollar value of harm resulting from infringement, and provide a range of damages for commercial and non-commercial infringements.

The best way to find the owner of a copyright is to browse your country’s copyright registration records. This is accessible through the Government of Canada’s website. Something to consider is that not everyone will have registered their copyright and therefore the search may not turn up with an identifiable owner.

You can however, apply for “unlocatable copyright owner” license under Canada’s “Orphan Works” regime. This is essentially a license to move forward with your copyright registration as you are unable to find proof of another copyright owner. It’s important to document any efforts you’ve spent locating an owner before you apply for this license.

Fair dealing describes various different acts that users can perform with a work that does not infringe copyright. Some examples include using a work for research, education and parody. Fair dealing also applies to criticism or review and news reporting if certain requirements are met.

If two or more people collaborate on a single work, it’s considered a “joint work,” and its creators are considered joint copyright owners. This is very common among books or musical pieces with two or more authors.

Copyright owners have these exclusive rights under the Copyright Act:
– Reproduction Right –right to make copies of the protected work.
– Distribution Right –right to sell or distribute copies to the public.
– Right to Derivative Works –right to prepare new works based on the protected work.
– Performance & Display Rights –right to perform a protected work or display a work in public

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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

The information contained on this website is not legal advice. It should not be construed as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.
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