Public Domain
Copyright Exceptions

Public Domain
Copyright Exceptions

Copyright Links


Content Stores
Needs Assessment
Pricing #1
Pricing #2

Licensing Wizard

If the Public Domain Wizard has determined the work is not in the public domain and the Copyright Exceptions Wizard has determined that your use does not qualify as an exception to copyright, then you need permission to use it. Before you seek a license, go through the checklist below. You might not have to go to the trouble.

1. Does Your Company or Institution Have Permission?
Your school, company, or institution may have a license that permits you to use the content. Contact the library, business affairs, or legal department to find out. If your organization has a license that covers your use, goodbye for now and good luck!

2. Has the Owner Waived the Rights?
If the content owner has waived some or all of the rights, a waiver is usually attached to the content as a written notice on the website or in a READ ME document. A partial waiver might read "This content [image, file, application, text, video] may be used freely provided that credit is given to the author [company]." If you locate the waiver and can abide by its terms, goodbye for now and good luck! If you can't easily locate a waiver of rights, chances are their is none.

3. Is it From a Subscription or Other Content Service?
If you located the content through a subscription service or online content portal, the terms of use may be detailed in the content service agreement or on the website. If you are unsure, contact the subscription service provider or the website administrator for detailed information.

Where Do I Get a License?
Permission usually takes the form of a license - a limited permission for limited use for a limited time in a limited territory. A license does not transfer the copyright to the user. A single use of a work may require licenses from several different organizations if each of these holds a different right within the copyright bundle (see What is Copyright?) Usually, a creator assigns the various rights to publishers and/or copyright collectives. The best place to start finding out about getting a license is with the copyright collectives that manage the rights in the medium you're interested in.

Licensing Text
In Canada, Access� (formerly Cancopy) and Copibe� are the collectives for licensing books and other text materials in English and French respectively. They handle all types of reproduction from photocopy machines and course kits to online ebooks. hey also license the photographs, illustrations, and artwork within books.These organizations represent many major publishing catalogues but may not represent the work you're interested in. They should, however, assist you in finding the copyright holder if they do not control the rights.

CLICK ON THE ARROW TO GO TO THE   --> Access� website
CLICK ON THE ARROW TO GO TO THE   --> Copibe� website

Licensing Music
Music Licensing is the most complex because there are many parts to the music bundle of rights. The rights to publicly perform music compositions - play songs through speakers, broadcast them on radio, or distribute them through a computer network, for example - are controlled in Canada by SOCAN.


The rights to reproduce (copy) music onto CDs, sheet music, or computer disks and to synchronize it with moving pictures (as a soundtrack to a film, say) are controlled in Canada by CMRRA and SODRAC for English and French music respectively. These organizations represent many major publishing catalogues but may not represent the work you're interested in. They should, however, assist you in finding the copyright holder if they do not control the rights.


Now Comes the Complicated Part:
The music collectives named so far just deal with the music composition - the song. They can get you licenses for a Beatles' song or the "Theme from Titanic" by James Horner so that you can perform or record them. There are also rights in sound recordings and these rights are held by different collectives. If you want the original Beatles' sound recording of "She Loves Me Ya Ya Ya" or Celine Dion's original soundtrack from the movie "Titanic", you need to get parallel sets of rights from organizations that are not so easy to find and deal with.

The performing right in sound recordings is represented by NRCC - Neighbouring Rights Collective of Canada. Only a few years old, they have only begun licensing large users - radio stations. They don't have a web site and generally don't do one-off licenses.

The reproduction (copying) rights in sound recordings are handled by AVLA - Audio Visual Licensing Agency and SOPROQ - Societe de gestion des droits des producteurs de phonogrammes et de videogrammes du Quebec. Mostly they're in the same situation as NRCC.

If you need the rights to a sound recording, you're probably well advised to contact the record company that distributes the recording in Canada and ask them if they would be willing to issue a license. This makes sense because the collectives mentioned above will likely have to contact the record companies as primary copyright holders to get permission in any case. Don't hold your breath. Canadian independent record companies will likely deal with you but the major multi-nationals aren't generally interested unless the value of the license is in the thousands of dollars.

Licensing Images, Audio-Visual Works, etc.
Visual and audio-visual works are represented by a large number of small collectives and by many of the producers and artists themselves. We suggest that you go to the Information/Collectives page on this site for links to the myriad collectives that operate in Canada. It may take several phone calls, but they should be able to point you in the right direction for finding the rights owner you seek. The good overall guide to the collectives is on the government of Canada website.

CLICK ON THE ARROW TO GO TO THE   --> Canadian Societies Website

Use the navigation bar on the left to go directly to a topic
Did this page help you with your question?
Yes. Somewhat. No.