What the Davinci Code Trial Proved
What is Copyright? Agreements, Assessments & Licences
Length of Registration Process
When Does Copyright Apply? Photographs
How To Register
When Does Copyright Apply? When Does Copyright Not Apply? Certain Cinematographic Works Photographs
The Wrongs of Copyrights
Infringement When Does Copyright Not Apply?
Performers Performances What The Fees Cover
Fair Dealings and Exceptions Performers Performances Communications Signals
What The Fees Cover Indicating Copyright
Fair Dealings and Exceptions Automatic Protection Joint Authorship
Policing Your Copyright Indicating Copyright
General Rule Policing Your Copyright
Authorship Unknown Author
Posthumous Works
Ownership
Royalties and Tarrifs
Duration of a Copyright Ownership
Moral Rights
Collectives
Government Publications
FAQ
Regaining Copyrights






Copyright simply means the right to copy. Only the owner of a copyright (who is often the creator of the work, is allowed to produce or reproduce the work in question or to permit anyone else to do so). Let's suppose, for example, that you have written a novel. The copyright law will reward and protect your creative endeavor by giving you the sole right to publish or use your work in any number of ways. On the other hand, if you choose not to publish your work, the copyright will prevent anyone else from doing so.

Copyright applies to all original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. Each of these general categories covers a wide range of creations. Here are just a few examples.

    • literary works, books, pamphlets, poems and other works consisting of text and computer programs.
    • dramatic works: films, videos, plays, screenplays and scripts, musical works, compositions that consist of both words and music or music only (note that lyrics without music fall into the literacy works category), artistic works: paintings, drawings, maps, photographs, sculptures, and architectural works.

The word "original" is key in defining a work that qualifies for copyright protection. Naturally, you cannot obtain a copyright for someone else's creation. Originality can be difficult to determine, however, and many court cases revolve around the question of whether a work has been copied, even in part, from somebody else's work.

Copyright also applies to three other kinds of subject-matter in addition to the works listed above.

  • performer's performances: performers such as actors, musicians, dancers and singers have copyrights in their performances.
  • communications signals: broadcasters have copyrights in the communications' signals that are broadcast.
  • sound recordings: makers of recordings such as records, cassettes and compact discs, which are called "sound recordings" in the Copyright Act are also protected by copyright.

    Keep in mind that there is a separate copyright for musical work, for example, a song and for any device such as a cassette that contains the song. Separate protection exists because the song and the sound recording are considered two different works.

    Copyright consists of legal rights attached to works and other subject matter. Which legal rights apply to which works or subject-matter varies. In general, copyright means the sole right to produce or reproduce a work or a substantial part of it in any form. It includes the right to perform the work or any substantial part of it, or in the case of a lecture, to deliver it, and if the work is unpublished, it includes the right to publish it or any substantial part of it. Copyright in an original work also includes the sole right to:

  • produce, reproduce, perform or publish any translation of the work;
  • convert a dramatic work into a novel or non-dramatic work.
  • convert a novel, a non-dramatic work or an artistic work into a dramatic work by way of performance in public or otherwise;
  • make a sound recording of a literary, dramatic or musical work.
  • reproduce, adapt and publicly present a work by cinematography.
  • communicate the work by telecommunication;
  • present an artistic work created after June 7, 1988, at a public exhibition.
  • in the case of a computer program that can be reproduced in the ordinary course of its use to rent it out; and
  • to authorize any such acts.

    Copyright in other subject-matter includes the following rights: In the case of a performer's performance which is fixed with the performer's authorization, to make a reproduction of that fixation or to reproduce a fixation that was not authorized by the performer and to rent out a sound recording of the performance.
    1/     in the case of a sound recording to publish, to reproduce and to rent out the sound recording:
    2/    in the case of a published sound recording the performer and the maker of the recording have a right to payment of "equitable" remuneration for its performance in public or its communication to the public by telecommunication:
    3/    in the case of a communication signal a broadcaster has the right to fix the signal, to reproduce any fixation of the signal that was made without the broadcaster's consent, to authorize another broadcaster to simultaneously re-transmit the signal, in the case of a television communication signal, to perform the signal in a place open to the public on payment of an entrance fee; and
    4/    to authorize any such acts

    Copyrights vs. trademarks, patents, industrial designs and integrated circuit topographies.

    People often confuse copyrights with other forms of intellectual property, including trademarks, 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 trademark 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 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 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 be 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, metal insulators and other materials. The three dimensional configuration is a topography. The original design of the topography is protected.

    Titles, names and short word combinations are usually not protected by copyright. A "work" or other "subject matter" for copyright purposes must be something more substantial. However, if a title is original and distinctive, it is protected as part of the work it relates to.
    You may have a brilliant idea for a mystery plot, but until the script is actually written or the motion picture produced, there is no copyright protection. In the case of a game, it is not possible to protect the idea of the game, that is, the way the game is played but the language in which the rules are written would be protected as a literary work. Copyright is restricted to the expression in a fixed manner (text, recording, drawing) of an idea; it does not extend to the idea itself.
    Other items which are not protected by copyright include:


      1 names or slogans
      2 short phrases and most titles
      3 methods such as a method of teaching or sculpting, etc;
      4 plots or characters; and
      5 factual information

    In the case of a magazine article including factual information, it is the expression of the information that is protected and not the facts. Facts, ideas and news are all considered part of the public domain, that is, they are everyone's property.
    Note, too, that you cannot hold a copyright for a work that is in the public domain. You can adapt or translate such a work, and have a copyright for your adaptation or translation.

    A copyright gives you the sole right to produce or reproduce your work, through publication performances and so on or to authorize such activities. Anyone who does such things without your permission is infringing, that is, violating your rights. Naturally, if you publish, perform or copy anyone else's work without their permission you are infringing their rights. One specific form of infringement is plagiarism. This is copying someone else's work and claiming it as your own. An obvious example would be taking a novel that someone else wrote and publishing it under your own name (or pen name). Plagiarism can also entail using a substantial part of someone else's work. An example would be copying a novel and simply changing the title and names of the characters. Some activities, if done in private, are not considered infringements. For example, if you give a private performance of someone else's song, or played the song in your own home, this would not be considered an infringement. If you made a copy of this music for private use, it is also not considered infringement because a royalty payment has already been paid to the music owners when the blank audio tape was purchased. On the other hand, making a copy of a videocassette movie protected by copyright is considered infringement, even if you only watch it in your own home.
    People such as critics, reviewers and researchers often quote works by other authors in articles, books and so on. Are they infringing copyright? Not necessarily. The Copyright Act provides that any "fair dealing" with a work for purposes of private study or research, or for criticism, review or news reporting is not infringement. However, in the case of criticism, review or news reporting, the user is required to give the source and authors' or performer's, sound recording maker's or broadcaster's name, if known. The line between fair dealing and infringement is a thin one. There are no guidelines that define the number of words or passages that can be used without permission from the author. Only the courts can rule whether fair dealing or infringement is involved. In addition to fair dealing, the Copyright Act has exceptions for different categories of users. One category is non-profit educational institutions. These are permitted to make copies and perform works and other subject-matter protected by copyright, free of charge, in the classroom, subject to certain restrictions. Educational institutions are also permitted to make use of works protected by copyright if they are done on the premises of an educational institution for educational or training purposes, provided there are no suitable substitutes available in the commercial marketplace. Educational institutions are also permitted to make use of works protected by copyright if they are done on the premises of an educational institution for education or training purposes, provided there are no suitable substitutes available in the commercial marketplace. Education institutions may copy news and news commentary (excluding documentaries) from radio and television broadcasts and keep the copy for educational use on school premises for up to one year from the date the tape is made. All other types of radio and television broadcasts can be copied by educational institutions and kept for up to 30 days to decide whether the copy will be used for educational purposes. If the copy is used for educational purposes, a royalty set by the Copyright board must be paid. Another category of user having exceptions under the Copyright Act are "non-profit libraries, archives and museums". These institutions may copy published and unpublished works protected by copyright in order to maintain and manage their collections. Example are making a copy for insurance purposes and to preserve a rare, original work which is deteriorating This can be done as long as copies are not commercially available in a medium that meets the institution's needs. Libraries, archives and museums may copy an entire article of a scholarly, scientific or technical nature provided the copy is used for private study or research purposes. Articles in a newspaper or periodical which are not scholarly, scientific or technical can also be copied if the article is at least 12 months old at the time the copy is made and provided the copy is used for private study or research purposes. Another category of user to benefit from exceptions is persons with a "perceptual disability". This term refers to someone who has difficulty reading or hearing. Persons with a perceptual disability, or at the request of a person with a perceptual disability, or for a non-profit organization acting for his or her benefit, to copy a work protected by copyright in alternate formats such as Braille, talking books or sign language. The exception applies unless a work in an alternate format is already commercially available. For a complete list of exceptions to infringement, refer to the Copyright Act.
    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:

      1 A Canadian citizen or a person ordinarily resident in Canada; or a citizen or subject of, or a person ordinarily resident in, a Berne Copyright Convention country, a Universal Copyright Convention (UCC) country (for sound recordings, performer's performances and communication signals only), or a country that is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) country; or a citizen or subject 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 published in one of the countries included among those who have signed the Berne, UCC 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 — the Berne Copyright Convention of the Universal Copyright Convention, the Rome Convention or are member of the World Trade Organization. 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.


    The author is normally the person who creates the work. See the discussion "Authorship" later in this guide under "Registration of Copyright.
    Generally, if you are the creator of the work, you own the copyright. However, if you create a work in the course of employment, the copyright belongs to your employer unless you and your employer have made an agreement to the contrary. Similarly, if a person commissions a photograph, portrait, engraving or print, the person ordering the work for valuable consideration is the first owner of copyright unless there is an agreement to the contrary. Also, you may legally transfer your rights to someone else, in which case, that person owns the copyright.

    Copyright in Canada protects "intellectual" as opposed to "physical" property. One difference between intellectual and physical property is that ownership of physical property, such as a boat or a toaster, is perpetual. One continues to own physical property until it is given away, sold, consumed or destroyed. Ownership of intellectual property, like copyright, is different. Copyright ends at a legally defined point in time. These points in time are set out in rules to the Copyright Act. There is one general rule and many special rules that apply to certain kinds of works.

    The general rule is that copyright lasts for the life of the author, the remainder of the calendar year in which he or she dies, and for 50 years following the end of the calendar year. Therefore, protection will expire on December 31 or the fiftieth year. After that, the work becomes part of the public domain and one can use it. For example, Shakespeare's plays are part of the public domain, everyone has the 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 below.

    There are three possible terms of copyright protection for a photograph;

    1. First, where the author is a natural person, the term of protection is the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies, and for 50 years following the end of the calendar year.

    2. Second, if the author of the photograph is a corporation in which the majority of voting shares are owned by a natural person who is the author of the photograph (e.g. a commission photograph), then the term of copyright protection is the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies and for 50 years following the end of the calendar year.

    3.Third, if the author of the photograph is a corporation which the majority of voting shares are not owned by a natural personal who is the author of the photograph (e.g. a commissioned photograph), then the term of copyright protection is the remainder of the year of the making of the initial negative or plate from which the photograph was derived, or, if there is no negative or plate, the remainder of the initial photograph, plus 50 years.

    The duration of protection for cinematographic works which do not have an original arrangement, acting form or combination of incidents (e.g. most home movies) is the remainder of the calendar year of first publication and for fifty years following the end of that calendar year. However, if the cinematographic work is not published within 50 years following the end of the calendar year if its making, copyright lasts for 50 years following the end of the calendar year of its making (In other words, a film or video published within fifty years of its making is protected for 50 years from the date of publication. If it was not published within that fifty year period, it is protected for fifty years from the date of making.) These rules apply to all cenematographic works where the arrangement, acting form or combination of incidents does not give the work an original character (i.e. most home videos). Films and videos which do have an original arrangement, acting form or combination of incidents have always been protected for the life of the author plus fifty years.
    This category includes audio cassettes, CDs, recordings, and similar devices. Copyright lasts for fifty years after the end of the calendar year of the first fixation of the sound recording.

    Copyright lasts for fifty years after the end of the calendar year in which the performance is first fixed or, if it is not fixed, fifty years after it is performed.

    Copyright lasts for fifty years after the end of the calendar year in which the signal was broadcast.
    These are works created for or published by the Crown, i.e. government publications. Copyright in these works lasts for the remainder of the calendar year in which the work was first published and for fifty years after that. Copyright is perpetual until the work is published. Laws enacted by the government of Canada, decisions and reasons for decisions of federally constituted courts and administrative tribunals are subject to special copyright rules. Anyone may, without charge and without asking permission, reproduce federal laws, decisions and reasons for decisions of federal courts and administrative tribunals. Anyone may and without charge and without asking permission, reproduce federal laws, decisions and reasons for decisions of federal courts and administrative tribunals. The only condition is that due diligence is exercised in ensuring the accuracy of the material reproduced and the reproduction is not represented as an official version. For additional information, please refer to Justice Canada's Internet site: http://Canada.justice.gc.ca. Permission to use works owned by the Crown may be obtained from: Crown Copyright Officer Canadian Government Publishing Public Works and Government Services Canada Ottawa, Ontario K1A OS9

    In the case of a work which has more than one author and the term is measured by the life of the author plus 50 years, the term will be measured using the life of the author who dies last and 50 years following the end of that calendar year.

    In the case of a work where the identity of the author is unknown but the work is protected for the life of the author, the copyright subsists for whichever of the following terms ends earlier. 1. The remainder of the calendar year of the first publication of the work and a period of 50 years after that; or
    2. The remainder of the calendar year of the making of the work and 75 years after that.

    These are works which have not been published (or for certain types of works which have not been published nor performed or delivered in public) during the lifetime of the author. The duration of the copyright in these works depends upon the date of creation of the work. If the work was created after July 25, 1997, the term of copyright protection is the life of the author, the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies and 50 years following the end of the calendar year. If the work was created before July 25th, 1997, then three different scenarios can exist.

      1. First, the author dies, the work is published, performed or delivered prior to July 25, 1997, the copyright lasts for the remainder of the calendar year in which the work was first published, performed or delivered and for 50 years after that. 2. Second, the author dies during the 50 years immediately before July 25th, 1997, the copyright last until December 31, 1997 (for the remainder of the calendar year in which Bill C-32 COMES INTO FORCE AND FOR 50 YEARS FOLLOWING THE END OF THAT CALENDAR YEAR). 3. Third, the author died more than 50 years immediately before July 35, 1997, the copyright lasts until December 31, 1997 (for the remainder of calendar year in which Bill C-32 comes into force and for 5 years following the end of that calendar year).

    Even if you sell your copyright to someone else, you still retain what are called "moral rights". This means that no one, including the person who owns the copyright, is allowed to distort, mutilate or otherwise modify your work in a way that is prejudicial to your honor or reputation. Your name must also be associated with the work as its author, if reasonable in the circumstances. In addition, your work may not be used in association with a product, service, cause or institution is a way that is prejudicial to your honour or reputation without your permission. Following are some situations which may infringe that author's moral rights.
    You've sold the copyright of a song to a certain publisher who converts your music into a commercial jingle without your permission.
    You've sold the copyright for your novel to a publisher who decides to give it a happy ending, instead of the tragedy you wrote. You cannot sell or transfer your moral rights to anyone else, but you can waive them when you sell or transfer your copyright at a later date. A contract of sale or transfer may include a waiver clause. Moral rights exist for the same length of time as copyrights, that is, usually for the lifetimes of the author plus 50 years more, and passed to the heirs of the author, even if they do not inherit ownership of the copyright itself.

    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.

    You register a copyright by completing an application and sending it to the Copyright Office, along with the appropriate fee. A form and detailed instructions for completing it as well as the current fee schedule are included with the information in this guide. Please do not send a copy of your work along with the application. The Copyright Office does not review or assess works in any way, nor does the office check to see whether the title of your work has already been used. Many works may appear with the same title, but if each work has been created independently, each will require its own copyright protection. Please note, however, that you may need to send copies of your work to the National Library of Canada. Under the National Library Act, two copies of every book published in Canada, and one copy of every sound recording manufactured in Canada that has some Canadian content must be sent to the National Library within one week of publication. (Your publisher may have already made these arrangements.) For more information on this, contact: National Library of Canada Legal Deposit 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A ON4 When your application is received in the Copyright Office, it is reviewed to make sure you have filled it out properly. If necessary, suggestions for changes are made, the relevant information is entered into a computerized databank and a registration certificate is issued. Once a registration has been issued, the Copyright Office has the authority to make small corrections, such as the removal of clerical errors made in preparing an application or a registration document. However, only the Federal Court of Canada can authorize substantial changes.

    Since duration of a copyright is usually based on an author's lifetime, it is important for Copyright Office to know the author's name. If you are the creator of a work (e.g. writer, artist, composer or playwright) you are considered its author. In most case, therefore, you should consider your name and address in the relevant section of the copyright application. If the work was created by an employee of yours, the employee's name should appear on the form as author (even though you own the copyright). If there are two authors of the same work, give the names and addresses of both. If there are many contributing authors, all their names and addresses should be given. However, if the work was created by many people under the direction of an editor-in-chief, that person's name may be given as the author. The author of most types of works is the individual who created the work. For all works normally protected for the life of the author plus 50 years, the author must be an individual as opposed to a corporation. However, for certain types of works, e.g., photographs, certain cinematographic works, there are special rules defining who the author is. For these types of works, the author may be either an individual or a corporation.

    An application (accompanied by the prescribed fee) must contain the following information.

    A. The name and a complete address of the owner of the copyright; some authors prefer to use pen names, rather than their real names on their published works. You may include your pen name on your application for registration, but you must also give your full legal name. This is necessary because, without your legal name, it would be difficult to determine the full duration of the copyright, i.e. your lifetime plus 50 years.

    B. A declaration that the applicant is one of the following: the author of the work; the owner of the copyright in the work; an assignee of the copyright; or a person to whom an interest in the copyright has been granted by licence.

    C. The category of the work; you will have to indicate on the application which category your work falls into, for example, literary, artistic, musical, dramatic, a sound recording, performer's performance, communication signals, or, in some instances, a combination of these. For more information on these categories, consult the instruction sheet provided with the application form.

    D.The title of the work

    E. The name of the author, and if the author is deceased, the date of the author's death, if known. F.

    In the case of a published work, the date and place of first publication. A work is considered published when copies of it have been made available to the public. Also, the construction of an architectural work and the incorporation of an artistic work into an architectural work constitute publication. The following do not constitute publication: the performance in public of a lecture, the communication of a work to the public by telecommunication, or the exhibition in public of an artistic work.

    F.In the case of an application to register the copyright in a sound recording, the date of first fixation of the recording must be specified.

    G. In the case of an application to register the copyright in a performer's performance, you will have to specify the date of its first fixation in a sound recording or, if it is not fixed in a sound recording, its first performance.

    H. In the case of an application to register the copyright in a communication signal, you will have to specify the date of its broadcast.

    The registration process takes four weeks if the Copyright Office staff reviews your request 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.
    You must pay a prescribed fee when applying for registration of copyright. That fee covers the review of your application and, if it is acceptable, a registration certificate will be issued. If your application has been found in need, a report will be sent to you. A response to this report will be required within 60 days from the date of the letter; otherwise the application will be abandoned without possibility of a refund. Send your payment with your completed application form. Payment may be made by VISA, MasterCard, direct payment, deposit account, postal money order or cheque made out to the Receiver General for Canada. Payment must be in Canadian dollars or in currency equivalent to the fees in Canadian dollars. It is also possible to submit an application through electronic commerce. The information is available on the CIPO Web site at http://cipo.gc.ca under the title "Copyrights", Electronic Services Delivery. An application form and detailed instructions for completing it as well as the current fee schedule are available from CIPO. Foreign applicants should pay by money order payable in Canadian funds. 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.
    Normally each song, book, recording, etceteras 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.
    There is no requirement to make your work under the Copyright Act. The Universal Copyright Convention provides for marking with the symbol ©, the name of the copyright owner and the year of first publication, for example © Jane Doe, 1986. Although not obligatory in Canada, such marking can serve as a reminder to others of a copyright as well as providing the name of the owner. Some countries that are members of the Universal Copyright Convention, but not of the Berne Copyright Convention require such marking. You may use this notice even if you have not registered your work.

    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 Copyright Act does contain criminal remedies which apply to certain types of serious infringement or piracy.
    As the owner of a copyright, you may confer your rights to produce or reproduce a creative work to other people through a legal agreement. There are many kinds of agreements, with the main types being assignments or licences. An assignment occurs when you transfer part, or all, of your rights to another party. The assignment may be for the whole term of the copyright, or for a certain part of it. In this case, you have given up your rights for a certain part of the copyright, or for the whole term of the copyright. You do not have to register your assignment with the Copyright office, but it is wise to do so. Suppose the original copyright owner does assign the same rights to two separate parties for the same work. If one party does not register its assignment, the assignment will that was registered will be considered the valid one. A licence gives someone else permission to use your work for certain purposes and under certain conditions, but you still retain ownership. You have not given up your rights. To be valid, assignment or licence must be in writing and signed by you, the owner. Assignments and licences which are considered "grants of interest" in a copyright, may be registered with the Copyright Office. All you have to do is send in the original agreement, a certified copy of it, along with the prescribed fee. Registration takes about four weeks. The Copyright Office will retain a copy of the documentation and return your original documentation along with a certificate of registration.
    Royalties are sums paid to copyright owners as commission for sales of their works or permission to use them. For example, a musician is entitled to a royalty every time a radio station plays his or her record publicly. You do not have to pay royalties for private performance, such as playing music in your home. But you do if you are holding a dance or concert, since this is considered a public performance. In many cases, the concert hall, hotel or other facility will have already made the necessary arrangement for paying royalties. Tariffs are set fees that users must pay for using certain copyright material. For example, cable companies pay tariffs for permission to transmit programs. Both tariffs and royalties account for a great many business transactions every day. To help regulate this complex and growing sector of the economy, the Canadian government has set up a public tribunal known as the Copyright Board. This Board has a number of responsibilities under the Copyright Act including:

    • reviews and approves fees set by the Canadian performing rights society SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada).

    • sets tariffs for cable retransmission

    • arbitrates tariffs if there is a disagreement between a licensing body and another party;

    • reviews and approves fees for the public performance and telecommunication to the public of sound recordings. These fees are paid by broadcasters and other public users of music to the makers of sound recordings and the performers whose performances are recorded on those sound recordings.

    • sets the amount of a levy on all blank audio recording media such as blank tapes and cassettes which are made or imported, and sold in Canada. The proceeds from this levy are paid to eligible composers, lyricists, performers and makers of sound recordings through their professional associations or collectives;

    • sets royalties for the reproduction and performance of radio and television programs by educational institutions.

    • grants licences for the use of published works in certain cases. For example, if you wanted to use a published work, but could not locate the author, you could apply to the Copyright Board for permission. You would most likely have to pay a fee which would be kept by the Board on behalf of the owner, should that person eventually be located.

      For more information, contact:
      Copyright Board of Canada 56 Sparks Street Suite 800, Ottawa, Ontario K1A OC9

      Sometimes people find it inconvenient or difficult to administer the rights they hold through the copyright system. In such cases, they might choose to join a collective, that is, an organization that collects royalties on behalf of its members. Collectives, known as "collective societies" in the Copyright Act, grant permission to people to use works owned by their members and determine the conditions under which those works can be used. The organization may also launch a civil suit on behalf of one of its members in the case of copyright infringement. There is a wide range of collectives covering such areas as television and radio broadcasts, sound recordings, reprography (photocopying), performances, video recordings and visual arts. One example is a reprography collective called CANCOPY (Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency) that grants licences to photocopy or digitally reproduce copyright — protected works and collects and distributes fees on behalf of its members. Suppose you are the owner of a copyright in the history of Canada: membership in the collective allows it to grant permission to teachers, for example, to copy chapters of your book and collect fees on your behalf. Remember that you may not make photocopies of material protected by copyright (other than for purposes of fair dealing) without permission nor may a library do this for you. To seek permission, contact the owner or CANCOPY, if the owner is a member.

      CANCOPY
      1 Yonge Street
      Suite 1900
      Toronto, Ontario
      M5E 1E5

      Tel: (416) 868-1620 ext. 228
      or 1-800-893-5777
      Fax: (416) 868-1621

      e-mail: admin@cancopy.com

      In Quebec:
      L'Union des écrivaines et
      écrivains québécois (UNEQ)
      3492 Laval Street
      Montreal, Quebec
      H2X 3C8

      Tel: (514) 849-8540 or
      1-888-849-8450
      Fax: (514) 849-6239

      You may obtain a list of some other Canadian collectives through the Copyright Office or the Copyright Board.

      A performing rights society is a collective that deals with musical works, collecting royalties on behalf of composers, lyricists, songwriters and music publishers for the public performance or broadcasting of their music. There is currently one such organization in Canada (SOCAN — Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada).

      SOCAN
      41 Valleybrook Drive
      Don Mills, Ontario
      M5B 2S6
      Tel (416) 445-8700 or 1-800-557-6226
      Fax: (416) 445-7108

      email: socan@socan.ca
      Web site: www.socan.ca

      Government publications are usually protected by Crown Copyright. You may seek permission to use or reproduce government works by writing to

      Crown Copyright Officer
      Canadian Government
      Publishing
      Public Works and
      Government Services, Canada
      Ottawa, Ontario
      K1A OS9
      Tel: (613) 990-2210
      Fax: (613) 998-1450



      The Federal Copyright Law allows an author to regain his or her copyright after 56 years. This provision to the act was passed in order to protect younger, inexperienced authors from losing their rights due to bad deals struck with publishers. For example, the two young men who created Superman for Dell Comics were given $150.00 for their work and the promise of more work to come. Of course, the "further work" didn't come and they died penniless. Through this provision to the act, their heirs petitioned to re-acquire the rights to Superman and were successful. For more information on this powerful provision for authors, see www.socan.ca




      What if I have an idea for a novel and find out somebody else had the same idea?

      You can't copyright ideas.You can only copyright the execution of an idea -- which is the novel itself. Titles, names, short phrases, slogans, facts and ideas cannot be copyrighted. When you flesh out the idea, make sure your novel isn't the same as someone else's novel.

      How do I know a work is in the public domain?

      If the work was published before 1923, it is now in public domain. With any work work that was done more recently, it is difficult to ascertain whether or not it is in the public domain.
      If the work was published between 1923 and 1963, it may be in the public domain -- but the copyright might have been renewed under the copyright act for another 39 years.
      If the work was published between 1964 and 1977, the work will not enter the public domain until 67 years after publication.
      If a work was created on Jan 1, 1978 or after, the work won't enter the public domain until 70 years after the death of the creator (or if the work is of corporate authorship, the shorter of 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation).
      If the work was created before Jan. 1st, 1978, but published between then and Dec. 31st, 2002, the work will not enter public domain until 70 years after the death of the creator or Dec. 31st, 2047 whichever is greater.

      When I submit a work, should I include the copyright symbol?

      You can if you want. But keep in mind that you're not dealing with amateurs. If you have picked the right people, a professional editor, publisher, agent, etc. is very familiar with copyright laws. You'll be dealing with intelligent, ethical people who are fully aware that under the Berne Convention, the copyright always belongs to you, the original author. If you use the copyright symbol everywhere, it will look like you've littered your work with a bunch of "Smiley" stickers -- which can be very irritating, to say the least. After a while, the nauseau will begin to sink in and simply be too much. Your script will be thrown into "the round file". Speckling your manuscript with copyright symbols just sends out a red flag that you are an amateur. If you feel compelled to copyright your work, play it cool and just put a © symbol on the top right side of Page One, along with your name and the date.






      One of the problems with copyrights is that it can hamper other artists in their work. For example, if a filmmaker wants a particular song for a film, he must apply to the copyright holder for the rights. If the copyright holder doesn't appreciate the film, s/he won't grant the right -- which can choke an artist's creativity. Igor Stravinsky once said that "A good composer does not imitate. He steals." There's a fine line between imitation and stealing -- but we suggest you avoid winding up in court and just try to be original.




      New Protection for Intellectual Properties

      March 16, 2006. Radio jingles and perfume scents are among the unusual items that may be included in a revised trademark treaty as a result of current talks on intellectual propery rights in Singapore. The World Intellectual Property Organization, a United Nations agency, plans to tackle new types of trademark protection for holograms, sounds and smells when it revises a 1944 treaty on global trademarks. More than 400 policymakers and intellectual property rights experts are meeting to discuss revising the treaty. Keep your computer tuned to The Canadian Copywriter for further updates on these important revisions to world copyright and trademark law.



      The Da Vinci Code Copyright Trial


      Monday, February 27, 2006
      Dan Brown, the author of the wildly successful book "The Da Vinci Code" started his defence of his work on Monday, February 27/06. He appeared at a trial in which he is being tried for plagiarism by two British historians who claim he relied too heavily on their work to write "The Da Vinci Code". The two historians -- Richard Leigh and Michael Baigent -- are suing their own publisher Random House for allowing Brown to lift the "the whole architecture" of their 1982 non-fiction book "The Holy Blood, and the Holy Grail". Both books put forth the concept that Jesus married Mary Magdelene and she bore a child through their union. Although the "Holy Blood. and the Holy Grail" was itself a bestseller, "The Da Vinci Code" has sold more than 36 million copies worldwide. This case will be an interesting test to copyright law -- and since we believe that you cannot copyright an idea, it will be interesting to watch. Our opinion is that Dan Brown is safe, however, there are hints that he may be more culpable than first believed. For example, one of the major character in Brown's book, Sir Leigh Teabing, has a name that is an anagram of Leigh and Baigent. Hmmmm.

      Tuesday, March 7, 2006
      The lawsuit filed against Dan Brown, the author of the Da Vinci Code, resumed at London's High Court on Tuesday after a weeklong break to give the judge time to read both books involved and related materials. The litigants told the court that they had exagerated their claims in order to plead their case. The case continues.



      Tuesday, March 15, 2006
      Dan Brown, the author of The Da Vinci Code, dismissed the claims that he stole the ideas of two other authors as "completely fanciful". Three years to the week after "The Da Vinci Code" was first published, the multimillionaire writer found himself on the witness stand at London's High Court yesterday, denying accusations of copyright infringement from Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh. Brown said he was "shocked at the plaintiffs' reaction". Under questioning by their lawyer, however, Brown acknowledged that he could not always recall exact dates of milestones in the creation of his novel. "It's as if you've asked me to go back five years or 10 years and asked me not only what I got for Christmas, but what order I opened the presents," he told Jonathan Rayner James, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, before a courtroom packed with journalists, religious skeptics and fans. The author, a resident of Exeter, N.H., who gives interviews only rarely, appeared composed during testimony. Only occasionally did he show impatience with Rayner James' forensic questioning about documents and dates. Random House lawyers argue the ideas in dispute are so general they are not protected by copyright. They also say many of the ideas in "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" are not featured in Brown's novel, which follows the fictional professor Robert Langdon as he investigates the murder of an elderly member of an ancient society that guards dark secrets about the story of Jesus and the quest for the Holy Grail. In his 69-page witness statement, Brown acknowledged reading Baigent and Leigh's book while he was writing "The Da Vinci Code" -- along with 38 other books and more than 300 documents submitted as evidence to the court. He said Baigent and Leigh's work "was not a crucial or important text in the creation of the framework of 'The Da Vinci Code.'

      Tuesday, March 22, 2006

      The legal battle over "The Da Vinci Code" is nearing its conclusion. The lawyer for the plaintiffs said in his closing remarks that the writer's evidence should be treated with "deep suspicion." He wanted to know why Brown's wife wasn't called in the copyright infringement case. Blythe Brown did lots of the research on the "Da Vinci Code." He says she could have confirmed the extent to which the book relied on the 1982 nonfiction book "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail." The authors of that work are suing Brown. Both books explore theories that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, the couple had a child and that the bloodline survives. Theologians dismiss those theories. The legal fight could hold up the scheduled May release of the "The DaVinci Code" movie starring Tom Hanks.

      Friday, April 7/2006
      It's a perfect ending to the latest chapter in Dan Brown's life. The author of The Da Vinci Code can continue making millions. Two writers had claimed Brown stole the themes of their book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. Friday, a British court cleared Brown of copyright infringement. The Da Vinci Code was already a blockbuster, but since the trial has been under way, Brown has been in the public eye more often, which is part of the reason he says he's concerned about his family's safety. They live in Rye, N.H., and he's been fighting for more privacy. He won the town's support Friday night. You don't have to crack any code to find meaning in the beginnings of the new stone wall encircling Brown's property. "If any individual wants to protect their property or their privacy, a fence is a good place to start," said the town's police chief. It's not just any fence. It's a 2-foot stone wall and a 6-foot wrought-iron fence. Brown himself authored a letter to Rye selectmen, asking permission to build it. The letter, in part, says: "in the past few weeks we have had strangers, paparazzi, and fans trespassing on our property, even venturing into our backyard to take photographs through our windows." At least one was spotted by selectman Joe Mills. "He was acting in a very strange manner and he had an English accent," he said. So, Brown already started construction on the wall because selectmen assured him there would be no debate about it. He told them he's now staying at an undisclosed location and won't return to this home until the wall is complete. The goal is to have it in by the time the movie version of his book hits the big screen next month. With it, even more fanfare and Hollywood style. If a ticket to Rye doesn't buy him privacy, maybe the new security will. So Friday night, the small town board voted yes, saying that he can build the fence, even though it encroaches on town property.

      Monday, April 10/2006
      The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown and Holy Blood, Holy Grail author Michael Baigent just butted heads in a London courtroom. This week, they'll go head-to-head in bookstores, too. Dan Brown's juggernaut, The Da Vinci Code, arrives in paperback form Tuesday. AP photo More than 5 million copies of the DaVinci paperback go on sale Tuesday, in both mass-market ($7.99) and the larger trade paperback size ($14.95). So does Baigent's new book, The Jesus Papers: Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in History (HarperSanFrancisco); first printing: 150,000.

      Among my examples was the lawsuit between Dan Brown, author of the all-time bestselling novel, "The DaVinci Code", and his publisher, Random House, on the one hand, and writer Lewis Perdue on the other. I called Perdue, "The plaintiff in that courtroom outing ... who alleged that Brown had pirated parts of two Perdue novels, 1983s 'The DaVinci Legacy", and 2000s 'Daughter of God.''' Advertisement.


      Another Point Of View
      Jim Castagnera is a writer and lawyer who wrote about the Da Vinci code trial. In a recent article, he wrote that Lewis Perdue (who was on the plaintiff side of the case) contacted him after the publication of his article which was generally in favour of Dan Brown's fight. In a June 1 email Purdue wrote to Castagnera that "It is probably worth noting that Random House sued ME and not the other way around (as Mr. Catagnera had wrote). Given the way that money speaks in the legal system, I would never have been stupid enough to sue them. I've got shallow, modest, middle class financial pockets (or HAD before this whole litigation hell began) and Random House has the Bertelsmann billions behind them." Wanting to learn more, Mr. Castagnera apologized and the apology was accepted. Perdue, who at age 57 boasts an extraordinary resume that includes 20 fiction and non-fiction books and a long list of entrepreneurial achievements to boot, attached the pdf file for an article which one month later appeared as a major feature story in the July issue of Vanity Fair magazine. The piece was penned by a former Newsweek writer named Seth Mnookin, to whom Perdue reached out in 2003. Mnookin dashed off a 384-word item in the June 9, 2003, issue under the header, "A Stolen 'DaVinci' --- Or Just Weirdness?" He says in V.F. three years later, "That, I thought, would pretty much be that." But the case was just too compelling to die such a quiet death. In 2004, two of three authors of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" sued Brown in a London court. As noted in my column, they lost to no one's great surprise, since the facts in their non-fiction book were fair game for Brown's background research. "But," writes Mnookin in V.F., "Brown didn't emerge unscathed from his London trial. He had submitted a 69-page witness statement in which he made a number of bizarre assertions, chief among them that, despite all indications to the contrary, 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' had been one of the less important research texts Brown had consulted." Mnookin began paying closer attention to Perdue's persistent email salvos. "The more I looked, the more some of what Perdue's emails (and blog entries) claimed appeared worth pursuing." Among Mnookin's revelations in V.F. is an expert-witness report by Director John Olsson of Britain's Forensic Linguistics Institute. The report, which was not allowed into evidence by the federal judge who decided Brown and Random House v. Perdue, states flat out, "This is the most blatant example of in-your-face plagiarism I've ever seen." Let's assume Olsson is correct. In my line of work --- higher education --- if Brown were a tenured faculty member, he'd probably be forced to resign from the faculty. Although some famous academic authors, such as the late historian Stephen Ambrose, manage to shrug off accusations of plagiarism, academia is typically harsh in its handling of word thieves. A couple of years ago, the president of Central Connecticut State University was forced to retire for cribbing materials for a guest column in the Hartford Courant ... just a wee column like this one, not a novel! Unfortunately, federal copyright law is a lot less stringent than academic honesty codes. The expression, not the idea, is protected from poaching. So, if Shakespeare had walked the streets of New York's West Side in 1961, he couldn't have done a thing about the appropriation of his plot in "Romeo and Juliet," when Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents morphed it into "West Side Story". Some lawyers would like to see that change. Earlier this year Arthur Miller, the Harvard law prof/TV personality, published a piece in which he calls for greater protection of an author's plots and characters. Sadly for Lewis Perdue, this may be an idea whose time has not yet come. is an attorney and a journalist who lives and writes in Havertown.
      Friday, November 23/2007   By NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press Writer VATICAN CITY (AP) - Sheiks, libraries and collectors around the world have ordered the Vatican's new $8,400 limited-edition documentation of the heresy trial of the Knights Templar, officials said Thursday. The leather-bound volume, which includes high-quality reprints of the original documents as well as clerical seals, is noteworthy because it contains a long ignored parchment showing that Pope Clement V initially absolved the medieval order of heresy. Scrinium publishing house, which prints documents from the Vatican's Secret Archives, is issuing 799 editions of the volume _ and plans in the coming days to present one to Pope Benedict XVI, officials said at a presentation inside Vatican City. The order of knights, which ultimately disappeared because of the heresy scandal, recently captivated the imagination of readers of the best-seller "The Da Vinci Code," which linked the Templars to the story of the Holy Grail. The Vatican work reproduces the entire documentation of the papal hearings convened after King Philip IV of France arrested and tortured Templar leaders in 1307 on charges of heresy and immorality. In addition to sheiks and libraries, individual collectors, Templar associations and cultural organizations around the world have reserved copies, though about 300 are still available, said Scrinium president Ferdinando Santor. He declined to identify any buyers by name, citing Italian privacy laws, but said they included "internationally famous" people. The military order of the Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon was founded in 1118 in Jerusalem to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land after the First Crusade. As their military might increased, the Templars also grew in wealth, acquiring property throughout Europe and running a primitive banking system. After they left the Middle East with the collapse of the Crusader kingdoms, their power and secretive ways aroused the fear of European rulers and sparked accusations of corruption and blasphemy. Historians believe Philip owed debts to the order due to his wars with England and used the accusations to arrest its leaders and extract, under torture, confessions of heresy as a way to seize the order's riches. The new volume includes the "Parchment of Chinon," a 1308 decision by Clement to save the Templars and their order that was long ignored due to a vague catalog entry made in 1628. Vatican archives researcher Barbara Frale determined the significance of the parchment in 2001, realizing that it was not of secondary importance as had previously been thought but actually concerned a trip by three top Cardinals, including Clement's right-hand man, to interrogate the Templars' Grand Master and other top officials. The parchment shows that Clement initially absolved the Templar leaders of heresy, though he did find them guilty of immorality, and that he planned to reform the order. However, under pressure from Philip, Clement later reversed his decision and suppressed the order in 1312.