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Permission to reproduce
Except as otherwise specifically noted, the information in this publication may be reproduced, in part or in whole and by any means, without charge or further permission from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), provided that due diligence is exercised in ensuring the accuracy of the information reproduced, that CIPO is identified as the source institution, and that the reproduction is not represented as an official version of the information reproduced, nor as having been made in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of, CIPO.
For permission to reproduce the information in this publication for commercial redistribution, please email email@example.com.
Copyright is the sole right to produce, reproduce, publish or perform an original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, or a substantial part of it.
Each of these categories covers a wide range of creations, including:
- books, pamphlets, computer programs and other works consisting of text
- motion picture films, plays, screenplays and scripts
- musical compositions with or without words
- paintings, drawings, maps, photographs, sculptures and plans
Copyright also protects performances, sound recordings and communication signals such as radio waves.
An original work is automatically protected by copyright the moment you create it.
By registering your copyright, you receive a certificate issued by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) that can be used in court as evidence that you own it.
- Starts at $50 to apply for a certificate of registration
- Automatically protects your work once created
- Life of creator + 50 years after his/her death
CIPO basic fees
Online application fee $50
Paper application fee $65
Once you have registered a copyright with CIPO, no further fees are required to maintain the registration.
Please visit CIPO's website for a detailed fee schedule.
An employer may have copyright in works created by employees unless there is an agreement in place stating otherwise.
The Copyright Board of Canada sets the royalties for the use of works protected by copyright administered by a collective society.
Shakespeare's plays are part of the public domain as the term for copyright has expired. Now everyone has an equal right to reproduce or republish those works.
What can I do with my copyright?
Evaluating and identifying your original works can be an important part of your business. Think about how you will make use of the copyright of the work you publish. You should also think about how to benefit from the ownership of that copyright and the types of licensing or royalty arrangements you may want to explore.
A product design, photographic image, song, performer's performance or computer program are all valuable works and have the potential to earn revenue in the marketplace.
Protecting your copyright
Canadian law protects all original creative works, provided the conditions set out in the Copyright Act have been met. Simply put, the Act prohibits others from copying your work without your permission. Its purpose is to protect copyright owners while promoting creativity and the orderly exchange of ideas. Moreover, it also protects moral rights such as the right to the integrity of the work.
Note that CIPO cannot guarantee that the legitimacy of ownership or the originality of a work will never be questioned.
Selling and licensing
License your copyright or part of a copyright work for exclusive or limited use to interested parties. A written agreement can detail how your copyright can be used.
By selling your copyright you can generate revenue for your business. However, once sold, you will no longer have any control over how your copyright is used. Exceptionally, moral rights remain with the author.
Enforcing your rights
Monitor the marketplace for any unauthorized reproduction of your work. Enforcement is the responsibility of the copyright owner.
Be proactive! You may wish to place a copyright notice prominently on your work. A copyright notice should include the date of first publication, the name of the owner and the copyright symbol ©.
For more information on copyright, please go to Canada.ca/copyright or contact our Client Service Centre at 1-866-997-1936.
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