Please be advised, as of , the general term of copyright protection in Canada changes from 50 to 70 years after the death of the author. This change does not affect works that are already in the public domain. For more information, please see the amendments to the Copyright Act from June 2022.
If you produce original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, you'll want to learn more about what copyright is and how you can use it to your advantage.
Copyright is the exclusive legal right to produce, reproduce, publish or perform an original literary, artistic, dramatic or musical work. The creator is usually the copyright owner. However, an employer—for example, a film studio—may have copyright in works created by employees unless there is an agreement in place stating otherwise.
Copyright protects your creation
When you own the copyright in a work, you control how it is used in order to protect its value. Others who want to use the work have to buy or otherwise get your permission.
Generally, 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 that can be used in court as evidence that you own it.
Your copyright exists in Canada during your lifetime and for 70 years following your death. After that, the work is in the public domain, and anyone can use it. This is true for most works, but there are exceptions.
Find more information on how and why to register in A Guide to Copyright.