I created a masterpiece – how do I copyright it?
By Anthony Pranata of Courtney Aarbo, Barristers & Solicitors
The law is fluid. It is an adaptive animal that changes along with the times. New laws are being written and old laws are being amended and repealed. Lawyers are constantly having to keep up-to-date with these changes in legislation in order to properly advise their clients.
Copyright law is interesting in that it has undergone significant changes over the years in response to advances in technology. Traditionally, copyright law encompassed 4 areas – literary works, dramatic works, musical works, and artistic works. As the world became more technological, the scope of copyright law expanded so that it could protect original works such as live performances, broadcasts (communication signals), and sound recordings. In the advent of the internet age, the scope of copyright law expanded even further to provide protection for emails and texts. But despite these changes in copyright law throughout the years, what has remained constant is the imagination and ingenuity of humanity and the desire to create something the world has never experienced. And along with this desire comes the question, how do I make sure that my creation is protected? How do I copyright my work?
The answer to this question is much simpler than people may think. In Canada, as soon as you create a book, or play, or a song, or a painting, and it is “fixed”, that work is copyrighted. “Fixed” means that the work must be expressed in some material form of some permanence such that it is capable of identification. This is commonly accomplished by having the work written down. For example, an idea for a story or a song in one’s head is not copyrightable, but as soon as that idea is written down into a book or sheet music, it is copyrighted.
You can also register your work with Canada’s Copyright Office, which is part of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. Even though copyright will exist in your work as soon as you create it, there are advantages to registering your work with the Copyright Office. Firstly, when a work is registered, there is a presumption that copyright exists in that work (as not everything that is created is necessarily copyrightable). Secondly, in the event that someone tries to pass off someone else’s work as their own, there is a presumption that the person who registered that work with the Copyright Office is the owner of the copyright of that work.
For more information, please contact the law office of Courtney Aarbo, Barristers & Solicitors at:
Address: 3rd Floor, 1131 Kensington Road NW, Calgary, AB, T2N 3P4
Phone: (403) 571-5120
Anthony PranataBarrister & Solicitor
*The information contained in this blog is not legal advice. It should not be construed as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If you require legal assistance, please contact a lawyer*