The world is growing in terms of innovation, technology, talent and representation. With this comes the burden of protecting the right of the creators. Copyright, in simple terms, means the "right to copy." In Canada, copyright protection is granted whenever an original work is created. It grants the exclusive right to the creators or copyright owners to produce or publish any work, or part of it, in any form and through any medium. To learn more about copyright law, read on.
1) What Is a Copyright and What Does It Protect?
The exclusive legal right to produce, reproduce, publish or perform an original piece of work is referred to as copyright protection. This law protects any creative work, from a book to a song performance or a map design. The only criteria for a copyright is that the work should be 'original.' The law protects an original piece of work under the following categories:
- Literary Work: This consists of work done in both documentary and electronic forms, for instance, books, pamphlets, computer programs and other forms of work that involve text.
- Dramatic work: Drama performances, original or improvised scripts from a pre-existing work come under the purview of the copyright law and are subject to protection. Screenplays, motion pictures, and plays fall within this category.
- Musical Work: Original compositions, tunes, with or without vocals, are all protected under the law of copyright.
- Artistic work: This includes drawings, maps, plans, sculptures, photographs and paintings.
- Sound Recording and Communication signals are also areas that come under copyright law.
2) What Is the Copyright Duration?
For general cases, copyright exists for the creator's lifetime and another 50 years after their death. After which, the work is available in the public domain for use without restrictions. Copyright for photographs starts on obtaining the first negatives. And for musical work, copyright exists from its first recording/production. The additional period of 50 years applies to both photographs and musical work, respectively. When a work has more than one creator, the copyright applies to the lifetime of all creators. And an additional period of 50 years from the death of the last creator of the work. After the end of the copyright period, the creative work comes under the public domain. Once in the public domain, the creative work is available for public use and may be modified without requiring formal permission of the creator or paying any royalties.
3) Who Owns the Copyright?
In most cases, the creator has the exclusive legal right to the Copyright. The creator has the authority to transfer the work through selling or licensing it entirely or in part. In work produced during employment, the employer is generally deemed to be the owner of the copyright and the employer has the benefit of the exclusive right and not the employee. In a publishing contract, the author needs to assign or license their rights to the publisher.
Copyright is an innate protection granted at the time of creation. A copyright registration certificate can be applied for as reputable proof of ownership. If you are interested in registering your copyright, reach out to our team for assistance.