a Copyright is
is defined in the Copyright Act as the sole right to produce or
reproduce a work, or any substantial part thereof, in any material form.
With certain exceptions, copyright protection of a work lasts for the
life of the author plus 50 years.
arises automatically upon the creation of a work. Unlike patents and
other forms of intellectual property, there are no formal
requirements to register a copyright for it to subsist in a work,
although a registration may be obtained for a nominal fee. A
registration is accepted by a Court as good evidence of ownership.
general terms, any person who, without the consent of the owner of the
a substantial part of a work infringes the
copyright in that work. The infringer is liable to the owner
for any damages he may have suffered due to the
infringement and, in addition, for any profits that
the infringer has made from the infringement. The
owner may also obtain an injunction to stop further
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Does Copyright Protect
exists in every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic 'work'
of art. It applies to the form of expression of an idea, not to the idea
itself. In other words, the work must be in a fixed form.
work must be original. As long as it has not been copied, the work need
not be novel or inventive (in the patent sense) nor show any artistic
merit. It must simply originate from the author. To determine this, the
courts may examine the time and labour spent to produce the work, and the
skill exhibited in its preparation.
"literary work" includes tables, compilations, translations and
computer programs. A "computer program" is defined as "a
set of instructions or statements, expressed, fixed, embodied or stored in
any manner, that is to be used directly or indirectly in a computer in
order to bring about a specific result".
"artistic work" includes paintings, drawings, maps, charts, plans,
photographs, engravings, sculptures, works of artistic craftsmanship and
architectural works of art. An 'architectural work of art" means any
building or structure or any model thereof. Thus, a structure, including
models of the structure, and architectural and engineering plans of the
structure appear to fall within the rubric of artistic works, and hence
protected by copyright, with certain exceptions.
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author of a work is the first owner of the copyright of the
work. However, where the author is an employee under a contract of
service or apprenticeship and the work was made in the course of his
employment, then the employer will be the first owner of the copyright
unless there is
an agreement to the contrary.
work is not restricted to having a single author, but may have two or more
"joint" authors. A work of joint authorship is defined as
"a work produced by the collaboration of two or more authors in which
the contribution of one author is not distinct from the contribution of
the other author or authors". This is typically the case with complex
engineering plans or computer software which are the product of several
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Canada, the Copyright Act grants two independent rights,
copyright and moral rights. Copyright, as discussed above, relates
to the sole right to produce or reproduce a work or any substantial part
rights, on the other hand, include the author's right to claim authorship
in the work whenever published, and the right to the integrity of the work
by restraining distortion, mutilation or modification to it. Thus, the
author may prevent certain use of the work which would prejudice the
author's honour or reputation. These moral rights subsist for the same
term as copyright in a work.
assignment of a copyright does not automatically constitute an assignment
of a moral right because an author cannot assign moral rights but may
waive them in whole or in part. Therefore, a copyright assignment from an
author should also include an express waiver of the author's moral rights
in the work in question.
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For more free information about copyrights see:
"Guide to Copyrights" from the Canadian Intellectual Property
Office (CIPO) .