Friday, 21 March 2014

What can I do with my Copyright -- Intellectual Property Law

What can I do with my copyright?

By Anthony Pranata of Courtney Aarbo Fuldauer LLP

So you are the owner of a copyright. What does that mean?

It means you have the sole discretion to do whatever you want with the work. No one can use your copyrighted work without your permission.

There are several common ways to exploit your work. Firstly, you can enter into a license agreement. It is an agreement between you and another party where you authorize that party to use your copyrighted work. The license will normally dictate the extent to which the other party can use your work, the duration of the license, and what you are getting in return (often money).

Secondly, you can assign your work to another party. This is similar to a license in that you authorize another party to use your copyrighted work to whatever extent you agree upon, except that the authorization is of a permanent duration. Think of this like selling the right to your work to someone else.

Thirdly, you can have a copyright collective or copyright organization represent you. There are different copyright collectives available depending on the area of your work. For example, if you are the copyright owner of a musical work, you may be interested in the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), which is the copyright collective for the performing rights in musical works.

Let’s say that a band wanted to play your musical work in a commercial setting, such as at a concert. The band would have to get your permission in order to legally use your music, which would normally involve you and the band entering into a license agreement where you grant the band a license to play your music at that concert. However, tracking you down may be difficult, and unless the band was particularly interested in playing your song, the band may simply choose the next song on their list if that song’s artist is easier to locate. SOCAN eliminates the need to personally track down every artist to obtain a license agreement. Provided that you have registered your musical work with SOCAN, SOCAN has the ability to grant the band the necessary license to allow it to play your song at the concert in exchange for a license fee to be paid by the band. As SOCAN grants more and more licenses to different parties to use your musical work, SOCAN will obtain more and more licensing fees from these parties. SOCAN will then provide you with a payment proportionate to the number of times your song has been used. These payments are called royalties.

As already indicated, there are different copyright collectives for different areas of work in order to streamline the process of obtaining a license to use that work. If you are interested in taking advantage of a copyright collective, whether to make yourself known or to make your work more easily accessible, you should find the right copyright collective for your situation.

by Anthony Pranata, Barrister and Solicitor

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Or for more information, please contact the law office of Courtney Aarbo Fuldauer LLP at:
Address:              3rd Floor, 1131 Kensington Road NW, Calgary, AB, T2N 3P4
Phone:                (403) 571-5120

*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*

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