Copyright at Georgian

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Library & Academic Success

Library &<br/>Academic Success



This guide was designed solely for informational purposes for Georgian College students, faculty & staff.

All other users are encouraged to check and confirm the information with their institution.

This site is prepared by library staff and is not reviewed by legal counsel.

What is Copyright?

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. (2016). What is a copyright? (Canada) [Video]. YouTube. . 

Copyright is the right to copy or reproduce a legally protected work. In Canada, a work is automatically protected by copyright once it becomes fixated. Copyright protection exists whether or not a copyright symbol appears on the work. These works include books, articles, musical and dramatic works, pictures, films, videos, images, sculptures, and computer software (not an exhaustive list).

The Canadian Copyright Act governs the legal rights of creators and how their work is used. These rights include the right to produce, reproduce, publish, distribute, perform or sell their works. The Act protects the moral and economic rights of creators. 

What is considered copying?

Copying involves photocopying, printing, photographing, scanning, downloading and screen captures.

Who is the copyright owner?

The owner of copyright is often the creator of the work. In some cases, it may be an organization or company if the author was employed by a company or under contract to create the work. 

What does copyright protect? 

  • Literary works: books, pamphlets, computer programs, other works consisting of text
  • Dramatic works: motion picture films, plays, screenplays, scripts
  • Musical works: compositions with or without words
  • Artistic works: paintings, drawings, maps, photographs, sculptures, plans

How long is a work protected?

The duration of copyright protection in Canada is life of the author plus 50 years. This is dependent on the work's authorship and format.

What does public domain mean?

Public domain refers to a work that belongs to the public and can be used free of charge, written permission from the creator is not required. This usually occurs when copyright protection expires. 

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