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Copyright and How to Register Your Copyright

What is Copyright?

Copyright is the exclusive right to copy or reproduce a creative work or to sell certain rights to the work. These rights apply to literary, artistic, dramatic, or musical works in a tangible form. Generally, facts, themes, ideas, most titles, names, catch-phrases and other short-word combinations are not protected under copyright.
Copyright is automatically applied to a creative work, from the time of creation. It is generally owned by the creator of the work; however there are some exceptions which include:

  • If a writer is working for a company, the employer will at times own the copyright if the work was done in the course of employment.
  • If an artistic piece was done on commission, the person who commissioned the work will own the copyright.
  • If the creator has transferred the rights to another party.

Copyright lasts the lifetime of the creator/owner plus an additional 50 years post-mortem.
Copyright exists automatically; however, registration with the copyright office is a good idea and to indicate notice of copyright on your works.

Registering Your Copyright

Although copyright exists automatically on any artistic work in a tangible form, registering your work with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office will provide you with proof of copyright. By registering your work you will be given a certificate that indicates you are the copyright owner. This certificate can be used in court as evidence of ownership. Also, being on the Copyright Register makes finding an owner of copyright much easier when permission to use a work is being sought out.
How to register your copyright:

  1. Go to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office online at
  2. File your application form online or by mail. Filing online will be much quicker than by regular mail. If you chose to file your application by regular post expect to wait up to three weeks for your application to be processed.
  3. Pay your registration fee. This fee will be 50$ and should be paid when the application is submitted to the Copyright Office. The registration fee is a one-time only fee.

Although your work is registered, the copyright will not be monitored or policed. It is up to the copyright owner to enforce any copyright infringement.

What is Access Copyright?

Access Copyright is a non-profit organization that was established with the goal of protecting intellectual property and ensuring that copyright owners are given fair compensation for the reproduction and use of their works. Access Copyright represents writers’ reproduction rights and through the organization distributes royalties through their licensing program. This company works with public schools, post-secondary institutions, businesses, municipal governments, non-profit organization and copyshops ensuring that the writers/artists receive fair compensation when their works are reproduced or used.

How to Register with Access Copyright

  1. Visit the Access Copyright website at and click on the “Creators” section.
  2. Check that you and your work meet all the eligibility requirements outlined by Access Copyright.
  3. After you have reviewed the Access Copyright eligibility, click on “Becoming an Access Copyright Affiliate” and follow the steps outlined on the website.

Access Copyright is free to register with.

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons is a corporation that was developed to help bridge the gap between traditional copyright laws and the ever developing digital world. Creative Commons provides artists/writers with a set of copyright licenses and tools free of charge, allowing both private creators and large companies to maintain copyright while allowing certain specified uses of their works.
Creative Commons works within the boundaries of most international copyright laws, while also giving artists a means to dictate how their works are used by the public.

  • Creative Commons licenses are legal, and in case of infringement can be used in a court. Should creator be pursuing legal action, it is recommended that legal consul be consulted.
  • Creative Commons does not monitor the licenses, this remains the duty of the copyright holder, nor do they distribute monetary compensation for the use of any works.
  • Creative Commons does not replace registering your copyright with the Copyright Office of Canada.


What is the Public Lending Rights Commission?

The Public Lending Rights Commission is a non-profit organization that is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. The program annually distributes payment to writers/editors/illustrators/translators for their works in Canadian public libraries.
The Public Lending Rights Commission will pay eligible writers according to a predetermined payment scale. The scale is determined based on various criteria defined by the commission, therefore writers will receive various amounts according to said criteria.

How to Register for the Public Lending Rights Commission

  1. Visit the Public Lending Rights Commission website at
  2. Check the application requirements, to ensure that your work is eligible for the program. Also take note that applications are accepted from February 15th to May 1st 2014, you will only be able to download the registration form between these dates.
  3. File your registration form according to the guidelines provided by the Commission

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