The two types of copyright-related rights that a creator, author or copyright owner of a work has are economic rights and moral rights.
Economic rights are held by the owner of the copyright, and include:
- the right to produce, reproduce, adapt, perform, translate, publish, display, rent or distribute works; and
- the right to benefit financially from the work.
Economic rights can be licenced (temporarily) or assigned (permanently) to another entity.
The creator of a copyright-protected work is entitled to moral rights. Moral rights include:
- the right of paternity (to claim authorship, remain anonymous or adopt a pseudonym);
- the right of integrity (to prevent distortion, modification or mutilation of your work); and
- the right of association (to control activities associated with your work).
Even if a creator has assigned their copyright to a work to another entity, the creator would continue to maintain the moral rights to the work. Moral rights can be waived or bequeathed, but cannot be assigned.
As soon as a work is created, it is automatically protected under Canadian copyright law as long as it meets the criteria for eligibility. The Copyright Act endeavors to protect the rights of copyright owners, while balancing the rights of users in an effort to foster education, creativity and innovation.
The following websites provide additional information for creators:
- The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) has developed a set of tools to help authors with the process of identifying and negotiating ownership rights. The Author Addendum is a template you can fill in and attach to the agreement provided by the journal (or book) publisher to retain some of your rights. The guide gives the background info about how to best use the addendum template.
- SHERPA/RoMEO provides information on publishers’ copyright and self-archiving policies.
- The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is responsible for the administration and processing of intellectual property in Canada, including copyright, patents, trademarks, industrial designs and integrated circuit topography.
- Creative Commons provides information for creators to consider to facilitate the dissemination of their works while preserving ownership rights.
- Licensing your images (for example, photographs, diagrams, graphs, drawings, etc.) under a Creative Commons license before you publisher them elsewhere is a great way to retain your copyright for images that you create.
- The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) is an American organization with an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to correct imbalances in the scholarly publishing system (NOTE: not all of the information will be applicable in Canada).
Protecting your own work
In Canada, the law protects a work as soon as it has been created and there is no requirement to mark it as copyrighted or to formally register the work. However, by placing a statement of copyright on your work, it serves as a reminder to others that the work is indeed protected by copyright. The standard statement to include on a work is something to the effect of “Copyright © 2018 [this will be the year of creation or publication]. All rights reserved.”
Registering your work may provide additional benefits. In Canada, a creator may choose to register a work through CIPO, which provides a certificate of registration as evidence that your creation is protected by copyright and that you are the registered copyright owner. It can also be used in court as evidence of ownership.
You can also monitor the internet for instances of infringement, by performing an online search for the title or excerpts of your work. If you find that it has been used without your permission, you can contact the person or organization to discuss the removal or licensing of your work.
If you are concerned about predatory publishers or predatory journals, please visit this USask Predatory Publishers research guide that includes practical information on how to avoiding publishing your work with “questionable or disreputable” journals and publishers.
Licencing or assigning rights
Permanently assigning rights to another person or entity (for example, a publisher) will allow that person/entity to reproduce your work through a legal agreement. You may assign some or all, of the economic rights for the work for the whole term of copyright (that is, until copyright expires for the work) or for a shorter period of time.
You may also license the use of your work for certain purposes and under certain conditions. As the creator, you would still retain the ownership and moral rights over the work. To be valid, the licence must be in writing and signed by the copyright owner.
You may also choose alternative licensing options, such attaching a Creative Commons licence to your work. Creative Commons is a non-profit organization committed to providing licencing alternatives which fall between full copyright ownership and the public domain. It allows you to easily create your own licence (for free!) and allows you to reserve some rights based on the type of licence you choose.
If you have any questions or concerns about copyright, please let us know!
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