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Canadian Copyright Laws FAQ's

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Home  How it works Who's joining?  Benefits  Testimonials  Membership Options  Copyright FAQ's
Country Specific Copyright FAQ's Some commonly asked questions about US Copyright Laws and registration.  Some commonly asked questions about Canadian Copyright Laws and registration.  Some commonly asked questions about UK Copyright Laws and registration.  Some commonly asked questions about International Copyright Laws and registration.
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Many Canadians contact WorldWideOCR to ask when, where and why they should register their copyrights. Canada, like every other nation in the world, has its own interpretation of International Copyright Law, and therefore, applies different statutes and protocol.
In Canada, copyright law is contained in the Copyright Act and copyright registration is handled by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) and utilizes two different copyright categories and application forms:

1. Copyright Application form for literary, artistic, dramatic and/or musical works.
2. Copyright Application in Other Subject Matter form for performances, sound recordings or communication signals.
If you intend to register your copyrights with a national copyright office other than the Canadian Copyright Office, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the laws of the nation in which you register by contacting that office directly. Please review this page at the World Intellectual Property Organization's Directory of Intellectual Property Offices for more information specific to your country.

For your general reference, following is a collection of excerpts and links to CIPO - A Guide to Copyrights: Copyright Protection gathered on Aug 25, 2005:

  »How is a copyright different from a patent or a trademark in Canada?
  »When do I need to file for a Canadian copyright registration?
  »How long does the copyright registration process take in Canada?
  »Do I have to register with CIPO to be protected?
  »How much does a Canadian copyright registration cost?
  »What is the duration of a copyright in Canada?
  »How long will my Canadian copyright be archived?
  »When is my Canadian copyright officially date-stamped?
  »Why should I register my copyrights with CIPO?
  »What damages am I eligible for with a Canadian copyright registration?
  »What do I need to include in my Canadian copyright application?
  »Where can I get a Canadian copyright application form?
  »Is my Canadian copyright good in other countries?

»How is a copyright different from a patent or a trademark in Canada?
Copyrights vs trade-marks, patents, industrial designs and integrated circuit topographies

People often confuse copyrights with other forms of intellectual property, including trade-marks, patents, industrial designs and integrated circuit topographies.

Trade-marks are used to distinguish the goods or services of one person or company from those of another. Slogans, names of products, distinctive packages or unique product shapes are all examples of features that are eligible for registration as trade-marks. Sometimes, one aspect of a work may be subject to copyright protection and another aspect may be covered by trade-mark law. For example, if you created a new board game, you might enjoy a copyright on the artwork applied to the face of the game board, the rules of the game and a trade-mark for the game's title.

Patents protect new and useful inventions such as processes, equipment, and manufacturing techniques. They do not cover any artistic or aesthetic qualities of an article. Unlike copyrights, patents can only be obtained by registration.

Industrial designs are protected for their original shape, pattern, ornamentation or configuration (or any combination of these things) applied to a finished manufactured article. The artwork of your game board may be subject to copyright protection. Industrial design protection might be available for the board itself. Industrial design protection, for example, might be available for the shape of a table or the ornamentation on the handle of a spoon. An industrial design may be made by hand or machine. Like patents, industrial designs are obtained only by registration.

Integrated circuit topographies are protected upon registration. An integrated circuit product is a microchip. Protection is for the topography of an integrated circuit product which is a manufactured device made up of a series of layers of semi-conductors, metals, insulators and other materials. The three-dimensional configuration is a "topography." The original design of the topography is protected.

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»When do I need to file for a Canadian copyright registration?
Automatic protection for Canadian and foreign works

When you create a work or other subject matter protected by copyright, you will automatically have copyright protection provided that, at the time of creation, you were:

a Canadian citizen or a person ordinarily resident in Canada; a citizen or subject of, or a person ordinarily resident in, a Berne Convention country, a Universal Copyright Convention country, a Rome Convention country (for sound recordings, performer's performance and communication signals only), or a country that is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO); or
a citizen or subject of, or a person ordinarily resident in any country to which the Minister has extended protection by notice in the Canada Gazette.

In some cases, you would also obtain automatic copyright if your work was first published in one of the countries included among those who have signed the Berne, Universal Copyright or Rome conventions or the WTO agreement, even if you were not a citizen or subject of Canada, or of one of those countries.

In short, virtually everyone living in Canada can enjoy the benefits of automatic copyright protection. In addition, Canadians are protected in most foreign countries since most belong to one or more of the international treaties Ś the Berne Convention or the Universal Copyright Convention, the Rome Convention or are members of the WTO. Citizens of countries which are members of those conventions enjoy the benefits of Canadian copyright law in Canada. Canada also extends protection to certain non-member countries by way of notice in the Canada Gazette.

Sound recordings themselves are protected internationally under the Rome Convention and under the copyright treaties, but there is quite a variation internationally as to the nature of the protection given to sound recordings. In Canada, sound recordings enjoy a broad range of protection under the Copyright Act.
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»How long does the copyright registration process take in Canada?
The registration process takes three weeks if the Copyright Office staff reviews your application and accepts it without further questions. If amendments are required, the processing time may be longer. Registration occurs once any amendments have been made and the application is accepted. The Office then issues a certificate of registration. For a comprehensive listing of turn-around times and fee schedule please visit CIPO
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»Do I have to register with CIPO to be protected?
You do not have to register your copyright to have protection in Canada, but when you register with the Copyright Office, you receive a certificate which can be used to your advantage in the event that your work is infringed.

A certificate of registration is evidence that your work is protected by copyright and that you, the person registered, are the owner. In the event of a legal dispute, you do not have to prove ownership; the onus is on your opponent to disprove it.

However, registration is no guarantee against infringement. You have to take legal action on your own if you believe your rights have been violated. Also, registration is no guarantee that your claim of ownership will eventually be recognized as legitimate. Note too, that the Copyright Office does not check to ensure that your work is indeed original, as you claim. Verification of your claim can only be done through a court of law.

CIPO - A Guide to Copyrights: Registration of Copyright.
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»How much does a Canadian copyright registration cost?
The current filing fee is $50 per electronic application and $65 per manual application. Normally, each song, book, recording, etc., is considered a separate work and requires a separate application and fee. There is no blanket-type registration for several works by one author. However, if you are registering a book of poems, songs, photographs, etc., you may register the book as one work. Also, note that if the work is published in a series of parts such as an encyclopedia, one registration covers all the parts in the series.

See CIPO - Tariff of Fees - Copyrights
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»What is the duration of a copyright in Canada?
General rule - In Canada, the general rule is that copyright lasts for the life of the author, the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies, and for 50 years following the end of the calendar year. Therefore, protection will expire on December 31 of the 50th year. After that, the work becomes part of the public domain and anyone can use it. For example, Shakespeare's plays are part of the public domain; everyone has an equal right to produce or publish them. This rule applies to all categories of works except those to which special rules apply. Some of the more important special rules are listed here.
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»How long will my Canadian copyright be archived?
The Canadian Copyright Office does not accept copies of a work. However, registration is valid for as long as the copyright for the work exists. Once you register your copyright, you do not have to pay any additional fees to maintain or renew it. If you register the copyright of an unpublished work, you do not have to register again after publication.
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»When is my Canadian copyright officially date-stamped?
The registration process takes three weeks if the Copyright Office staff reviews your application and accepts it without further questions. If amendments are required, the processing time may be longer. Registration occurs once any amendments have been made and the application is accepted. The Office then issues a certificate of registration.
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»Why should I register my copyrights with CIPO?
Registration gives you a certificate that states you are the copyright owner. You can use this certificate in court to establish ownership. (The onus is on your opponent to prove that you do not own the copyright.) CIPO - Copyrights - Frequently Asked Questions
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»What damages am I eligible for with a Canadian copyright registration?
The Copyright Office is not responsible for ensuring that your copyright is not being infringed. This is your responsibility. Suppose a person publishes a novel very much like yours, simply disguising the plagiarism with a few name changes. It is up to you to launch legal action. Then, it will be up to the courts to decide whether, indeed, you have been wronged. However, the Canadian Copyright Act does contain criminal remedies which apply to certain types of serious infringement or piracy.
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»What do I need to include in my Canadian copyright application?
You file an application with the Copyright Office along with a prescribed fee. An application form and instructions for filling it out are available from the Copyright Office or by visiting the Copyright home page. Electronic commerce is also possible via our Web site. The registration process normally takes three weeks. The fee covers review of your application, registration and your official certificate.
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»Where can I get a Canadian copyright application form?
Please follow this link to the Canadian Copyright Application Forms.
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»Is my Canadian copyright good in other countries?
When you create a work or other subject matter protected by copyright, you will automatically have copyright protection provided that, at the time of creation, you were:

a Canadian citizen or a person ordinarily resident in Canada; a citizen or subject of, or a person ordinarily resident in, a Berne Convention country, a Universal Copyright Convention country, a Rome Convention country (for sound recordings, performer's performance and communication signals only), or a country that is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO); or
a citizen or subject of, or a person ordinarily resident in any country to which the Minister has extended protection by notice in the Canada Gazette.

In some cases, you would also obtain automatic copyright if your work was first published in one of the countries included among those who have signed the Berne, Universal Copyright or Rome conventions or the WTO agreement, even if you were not a citizen or subject of Canada, or of one of those countries.

In short, virtually everyone living in Canada can enjoy the benefits of automatic copyright protection. In addition, Canadians are protected in most foreign countries since most belong to one or more of the international treaties Ś the Berne Convention or the Universal Copyright Convention, the Rome Convention or are members of the WTO. Citizens of countries which are members of those conventions enjoy the benefits of Canadian copyright law in Canada. Canada also extends protection to certain non-member countries by way of notice in the Canada Gazette.

Sound recordings themselves are protected internationally under the Rome Convention and under the copyright treaties, but there is quite a variation internationally as to the nature of the protection given to sound recordings. In Canada, sound recordings enjoy a broad range of protection under the Copyright Act.
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Topic specific Copyright and other Author's Rights Information
Sound Recordings  Literary Works  Visual Arts  Performing Arts  Serials & Periodicals  Copyright Infringement 
Performance Rights  Mechanical Rights  Synchronization Rights  Grand Rights  Digital Rights  Register Inventions 
Online Copyrights Registration using SEAL™ files... 
Important International Copyright Links:
Berne Convention  Universal Copyright Convention  Rome Convention  WIPO

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