Copyright - Intellectual Property Law, Copyright Registration

By: Torontobarristers  09-12-2011

Copyright protects various forms of expression, such as text, sound, drama, photographs, drawings, designs, art, software etc. Copyright in a work exists automatically within Canada, though some advantages may be obtained by registration of a work, or by providing a copyright notice on the work to the public. In Canada, registration of a Copyright is valid for the life of the author plus 50 years from the registration date shown on the certificate.

It is essential to understand that copyright only protects expressions not ideas. An example of this is the creation of a new novel. The novel in itself is protected, but the idea for that new novel cannot be protected. Another important aspect of copyrights is the ownership of said copyright. Majority of the time the individual who created the expression is the owner of the copyright. There may be cases however where the work was on contract for someone else. An example of this is when someone is paid to create a song for another artist. If the contract specifies a transfer of the copyright then the copyright is owned by the party who contracted the work.

In order to register a copyright an application must be prepared and filled with the copyright office. This application requires information like the name of the copyright owner, author, title and type of work produced. It is also necessary for the application to state whether the work is published or unpublished. The main facet of copyrights is to allow those who have created work to protect it against any infringements that may occur. An infringement can involve the copying of one’s work in part or in whole. Infringements may also entail the unauthorized distribution of one work, this is also known as pirating or piracy. An infringement can also apply to an individual who coordinates other individuals to copy and distribute another person’s work without his permission.

When an infringement occurs, the owner of the copyright can protect himself by bringing a lawsuit on those involved with the infringement. This can result in damages from those who have infringed upon ones work. Not all cases of copying someone’s work are considered copyright infringement. Fair use exemption allows individuals to copy limited amounts of work for specific reasons, i.e. student book reports, study notes, reviews etc. This exemption still has its limitations as an individual can only copy a small amount of the work, i.e. a student studying may be permitted to copy a page or two to study from, but a whole chapter may not be permitted.

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