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. If the work is unpublished, copyright includes the right to publish the work or any substantial part of it.
Copyright commonly protects the following:
Copyright also applies to performer's performances, sound recordings and communication signals (radio waves).
Generally, copyright lasts for the life of the author, the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies, plus 50 years following the end of that calendar year.
Copyright in publications with multiple authors lasts until December 31 of the 50th year after the last author dies. Copyright in government publications lasts for the remainder of the calendar year in which the work is first published and for 50 years after that. Different rules apply to performer's performances, sound recordings and communication signals. Please note that other exceptions also exist.
A fundamental component of the Copyright Act is fair dealing, which allows a person to make copies of short excerpts of works without the permission of the copyright owner, if the purpose of the copying is one or more of the following: research, private study, education, parody, satire, criticism, review or news reporting, and the dealing is “fair”. However, the precise amount of copying permitted by fair dealing requires an interpretation of the Copyright Act and the decisions of Canadian courts. Accordingly, when determining whether copying falls within the fair dealing exception, one must consider all of the relevant factors, including the following:
In addition, if the purpose of your copying is for criticism, review or news reporting, you must also mention the source and author of the work for it to be fair dealing.
Samuel Trosow is an Associate Professor at The University of Western Ontario working at the intersection of information policy, librarianship and digital media.
Dr. Michael Geist is a law professor at University of Ottawa and a weekly columnist. Like Dr. Trosow, he is a fervent advocate for Canadian's rights to fairly use Copyrighted material.