Copyright Registration - Canada

Copyright Registration

Is there a centralized copyright agency, and if so, what does this agency do?

In Canada, the centralized copyright agency is the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). The agency is responsible for administering the copyright system, including registration, record-keeping, and providing information on copyright matters to the public.

Is there a system for copyright registration, and, if so, how do you apply for a copyright registration, and what are the fees?

Yes, there is a system for copyright registration in Canada. To register a copyright, you need to submit an application to the CIPO, which includes the required information about the work, the author, and the owner, along with the applicable fee. As of 2021, the registration fee for online applications is CAD 50, while the fee for paper applications is CAD 65.

If there is a system for copyright registration, is copyright registration mandatory?

Copyright registration in Canada is not mandatory. Protection is automatically granted as soon as an original work is created and fixed in a tangible form.

If copyright registration is not mandatory, what are the benefits of registration?

Although registration is not mandatory, it offers several benefits, such as establishing a public record of the copyright claim, providing evidence of ownership, and allowing the copyright owner to file an infringement lawsuit in court.


Is there a requirement of copyright notice, and if so, what are the consequences for failure to use a copyright notice?

In Canada, there is no requirement to include a copyright notice on your work. However, using a copyright notice can help inform others of your ownership and the work's protected status.

Is there a requirement of copyright deposit, and if so, what are the consequences for failure to make a copyright deposit?

No, there is no requirement for copyright deposit in Canada.

What are the consequences for failure to register a copyrighted work?

As mentioned earlier, registration is not mandatory in Canada. However, if a copyrighted work is not registered, the owner may face challenges in proving ownership, and it might be more difficult to pursue an infringement lawsuit.


What is the relevant legislation?

The relevant legislation for copyright in Canada is the Copyright Act.

What agency enforces it?

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is responsible for administering and enforcing the Copyright Act.

Are there any specific provisions of the copyright laws that address the digital exploitation of works?

Yes, the Copyright Act contains provisions addressing the digital exploitation of works. These provisions include rules on communication to the public, reproduction of works in a digital format, and the liability of internet service providers for copyright infringement.

Do the copyright laws have extraterritorial application to deal with foreign-owned or foreign-operated websites that infringe copyright?

Canadian copyright laws generally do not have extraterritorial application. However, Canada is a member of international copyright treaties that require member countries to provide copyright protection for works originating in other member countries. This can provide a basis for legal action against foreign-owned or foreign-operated websites that infringe copyright.


Who is the owner of a copyrighted work?

The author of a copyrighted work is usually the first owner of the copyright. However, ownership can be transferred or assigned to other parties through contracts or agreements.

May an employer own a copyrighted work made by an employee?

Yes, under Canadian copyright law, an employer may own a copyrighted work created by an employee within the scope of their employment, unless there is an agreement stating otherwise.

May a hiring party own a copyrighted work made by an independent contractor?

Yes, a hiring party may own a copyrighted work made by an independent contractor if there is a written agreement transferring the copyright ownership to the hiring party.

May a copyrighted work be co-owned?

Yes, a copyrighted work can be co-owned in Canada. Co-ownership occurs when two or more individuals jointly create a work or when the copyright ownership is transferred to multiple parties through agreements.

May rights be transferred, and if so, what rules and procedures apply?

Copyright owners can transfer their rights, either wholly or partially, through assignments or licenses. Assignments involve the transfer of ownership, while licenses grant permission to use the copyrighted work under specific conditions. Both assignments and licenses should be in writing and include the agreed-upon terms and conditions.

May rights be licensed, and if so, what rules and procedures apply?

Yes, rights can be licensed in Canada. Licensing allows the copyright owner to grant permission to another party to use the copyrighted work under certain conditions, without transferring ownership. Licenses should be in writing, specifying the terms and conditions of the agreement, such as the scope of use, duration, and any applicable fees.

International Aspects

Which international copyright conventions apply to Canada?

Canada is a member of several international copyright conventions, including the Berne Convention, the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty, and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

What obligations are imposed by Canada's membership in international copyright conventions?

Canada's membership in international copyright conventions requires the country to provide a minimum level of copyright protection to works originating from other member countries. This includes granting copyright protection to foreign works under the same terms as Canadian works and ensuring that the enforcement of copyright laws is effective and non-discriminatory.


Current copyright developments and trends in Canada include the ongoing review and modernization of the Copyright Act to better address the challenges and opportunities brought by the digital age. This includes considering updates to the legislation concerning the responsibilities of online intermediaries, such as internet service providers, in addressing copyright infringement, as well as exploring options for enhancing access to copyrighted works for educational and research purposes.

Another notable trend in Canada is the increasing importance of balancing the rights of copyright owners with the public interest, particularly in areas such as fair dealing, which allows for limited use of copyrighted works without permission for specific purposes like education, research, and news reporting. The Canadian government and courts have been placing a greater emphasis on ensuring that copyright laws do not unduly restrict the free flow of information and ideas, while still providing adequate protection for creators and copyright owners.