Intellectual Property and Copyright
Copyright laws allow creators and their business
representatives to control their works (content)
by issuing licenses or selling their rights, like
a deed to a home. Only the holder of the copyright
is allowed to produce or reproduce the work or
to permit (license) others to do so. Copyright
owners may choose not to publish their work and
to prevent others from doing so.
Copyright is a type of intellectual property that
deals with the "expression" or physical manifestation
of certain intellectual properties: literary,
musical, visual, and audio-visual creations, commonly
known as "works" or "content".
A Bundle of Rights
The term copyright refers to a bundle of rights,
including the right to reproduce, the right to
perform, the right to communicate (such as broadcast
or send over a network), and the right to control
the context of a work (the Moral Right). Each
of the parts of Copyright may be assigned (sold)
or licensed (see Permissions)
separately, and to separate parties. For example,
a performing rights society like SOCAN may control
the right to perform a song in public while a
reproduction rights society like CMRRA or SODRAC
may control the right to reproduce the same song
as sheet music, on a CD, or in a movie.
How Long Does Copyright Last?
In Canada and most other countries (with the exception
of the U.S.) Copyright lasts for the lifetime
of the longest surviving creator plus 50 years.
The last year of Copyright protection always ends
on December 31. The Moral Right (see Glossary)
is passed on to the creator's heirs, even if the
other portions of the copyright bundle have been
assigned to other different parties.
works - created by the government (see Glossary);
published after the creator has died are protected
for 50 years from the date of first publication
or public performance;
by an unknown author have copyright for the
lesser of 50 years from first publication or
75 years from creation.
Public Domain Wizard lets you know whether a work
is still under Copyright by answering a few simple
Examples of Copyright Works
Songs, stories, or images, when they are expressed
in sheet music, a book, or photograph, for example,
are subject to copyright. Facts, ideas and news
are not covered by copyright. However their expression
- the way they are arranged - IS covered. So...
you can use the information from a news story
without a license, but you can't use the sentences,
paragraphs, or video of the news story without
a license. Titles, names, slogans, or short phrases
are not covered by copyright but proper names
may be protected by trade-marks.
Examples of Copyright Infringement
an article without the copyright owner's permission
records at a dance without a license from SOCAN
a public performance of a play without permission
articles for a class of students without permission
your favourite band at a music concert without
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