We regularly advises clients on how to both maximize and protect their investment in any copyrighted materials. This often starts with an explanation of the nature of copyright. Although the Canadian, United Kingdom, and United States systems of copyright are largely similar, many people often believe specific parts of one such system are exactly the same as in another such system. The result, unfortunately, is confusion as to the scope and extent of one’s rights. In order to help our clients and potential clients understand copyright, we provide the following brief outline of the nature of copyright in Canada.
Broadly speaking copyright is:
The Copyright Act provides that copyright subsists in “every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work” and applies whether or not the work is published or unpublished. Additionally:
Although the rights provided under copyright can be broad, there are nonetheless some limits to the protection available:
In Canada, the term of copyright protection is:
In Canada copyright protection arises automatically for works which are capable of being protected by copyright, provided that the work is original and:
Who owns copyright?
There are a number of exceptions, but in general:
REGISTRATION OF COPYRIGHT
In Canada, unlike many other countries such as the United Kingdom, copyright registration is possible. One registers a copyright by completing an application and sending it to the Copyright Office of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), along with the appropriate fee. No copy of the actual work is filed with CIPO’s Copyright Office. The Copyright Office does not review or assess works in any way, nor does the office check to see whether the title of your work has already been used. Many works may appear with the same title, but if each work has been created independently, each will have its own copyright protection. A certificate of registration serves merely as a first proof of the subsistence of copyright and the particulars associated with the copyright as detailed in the application, which nonetheless may be disputed by another person.