In Canada, copyright is inherent with the producer of the original work. This means that you do not have to go to an official copyright certifier to say “I own this.” That being said, in the event of disputed origins, you might find yourself in a position to have to prove that it was you who created the work and having a registered copyright makes it easier to pursue legal action.
In order for something to be copyrightable it must be original and creative. It also must exist in a usable form. Therefore, an idea itself cannot be copyrighted, but the physical manifestation of that idea i.e) a book, a song, a computer game, cis copyrightable. More information can be found on the Canadian Intellectual Property Office’s website.
In America the duration of copyright is the life of the author plus 70 years. After this time, the work enters the public domain. However, Disney is quite set on keeping Mickey Mouse out of the public domain, so it is likely that copyright duration will continue to lengthen. In Canada however, copyright is the creator’s life plus 50 years, but copyright protection is related to the country of the work’s origin.
Copyright infringement only takes place when someone literally sits there and copies something directly. If two people end up coming up with the same idea organically, it is not copyright infringement. However, if you happen to enter into a copyright dispute, you must be able to demonstrate that the idea was yours to begin with.
To do this it is important in the creation of a work to keep records of the entire process. You should keep all of the drafts of your idea from the very beginning of the process to the end, and record any source materials that you are working from. In the case of on-line material, it is important to add metadata to photos and video to prove that you are the original creator even if the material gets distributed without your consent. You have a right to be credited and/or paid for your work.
All in all, the better you document your process, the more protected your work will be.
- What is Intellectual Property | Enterprises Canada
- How to Register a Trademark | YouTube (2012)
- Canadian Intellectual Property Office
- Intellectual Property Blog | The Wall Street Journal
- Intellectual Property | Entrepreneur
- Military Vet Battles Government Over Intellectual Property | CBC News (2016)
- Intellectual Property Magazine
- ‘Harry Potter’ Author J.K. Rowling’s Copyright Case: Behind All The Legal Jargon | MTV (2008)
- Everything is a Remix (2015)
The Digital Tattoo Project encourages critical discussion on topics surrounding digital citizenship and online identity. There are no correct answers and every person will view these topics from a different perspective. Be sure to complete the previous sections before answering the questions.
- Do you think intellectual copyright is a barrier to innovation?