Artistic content creators have numerous rights under Canadian copyright law. However, copyright holders aren't always aware of their rights. Anyone serious about being part of various creative fields will benefit from learning more about the rights of artists in Canada. In this blog, we're going to breakdown the various steps and rights for owners of patents have and helping to distinguish between copyright, trademarks and patents.
Copyright Legal Protections and Specific Artistic Categories
Canadian copyright laws protect musical compositions, plays, books, poems, paintings, drawings, photographs, and anything of that nature. A computer program could also qualify. There may be some debate about what constitutes a creative work, and a copyright lawyer in Edmonton may be able to assist in determining if copyright protection applies.
Patents and Trademarks are Different From Copyrights
Broadly speaking, patents protect inventions and trademarks protect brands. Product and business names, logos, slogans and other unconventional identifiers may be protected as trademarks. Patents may be used to protect products, apparatuses, machinery, systems, processes, methods and improvements on these. Patent protection is only available if a patent application is filed in a timely matter and successfully issues. Basic trademark protection is available after it is put into use, however broader protections are available through registering the trademarks.
Having a copyright on creative work is different from securing a corporate trademark or a professional patent. As soon as the piece is made, it's immediately protected by copyright law in Canada. These protections extend internationally as well, so people won't have to worry about anyone outside of Canada duplicating their work.
However, the situation might be different for an artist or other creator who works for someone else. In those situations, it may be the employer who holds the copyright to the piece. Having written and signed agreements can help make it clear where ownership of copyright will reside.
A buyer who commissions artistic pieces, songs, or other creative works may also be able to control copyright associated with those forms of content. This is a discussion that should be had when the commission is requested so an appropriate agreement is reached and understood by both parties.
Ideas, facts and basic concepts are not protectable by copyright. The way in which these are expressed by an author may be protectable by copyright.
Rights Under Copyright
The creators who have copyrights are the only individuals who can replicate a given piece or form of content using any format. Other individuals cannot use a significant percentage of that content, even if they do not duplicate it.
When creators are deceased, their copyrights will still last for an additional five decades in Canada. However, this might not be the case for every single creative work that could be protected by copyright. Artists and other creators who are unsure whether the deadline applies to them may wish to speak with a professional with knowledge related to Canadian intellectual property law.
Registering some content can help to defend copyright that would not be honoured otherwise. Many individuals and organizations ignore copyrights, although this is often due to a lack of understanding about copyright. It's also become easier than ever to do so in the Information Age. Copyright laws are often overlooked or misunderstood by many people.
Marking content and obtaining a registration certificate is not a legal requirement. However, a registration certificate can serve as an added form of protection for the people who hold copyrights.
When filing for a certificate of registration for a copyright, information about the work's creation is required. A certificate of registration is granted if the appropriate information is provided.
Usually, when copyright is broken, it's because someone duplicated the copyrighted content before asking for the consent of the person holding the copyright. Even replicating part of the content may qualify in some cases.
Canadian citizens should be familiar with how the Canadian 'fair dealing' concept differs from 'fair use.' American and Canadian copyright laws are different, and 'fair use' under American copyright law provides various forms of coverage. While general guidance regarding "fair dealings" can be discussed, ultimately it is the court system that determines whether or not fair dealing has in fact occurred.
Addressing the Infringement of Copyright
Often, the first step in a copyright dispute is the copyright holder sending a cease and desist letter to those who violate copyrights. However, in some cases, the people involved won't settle the matter outside of court.
If you're looking to protect your assets and protect your intellectual property, you can schedule a free consultation with our trademarks and patent lawyers and agents by clicking here.