How to Copyright Something in Canada

by David Carnes
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office will register your copyright for a fee.

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office will register your copyright for a fee.

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Under Canadian law, a copyright is created as soon as you reduce an original work of authorship to tangible form. Full legal protection, however, does not attach until you register your copyright with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. You don't have to be a Canadian citizen or resident to obtain copyright protection or register your copyright. Copyright protection in Canada guarantees you copyright protection in any nation that has signed an international copyright treaty.

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Step 1

Reduce your work to tangible form. If it is a song, for example, record it; if it is a story, create a written manuscript. Your work does not have to be published to be eligible for copyright protection.

Step 2

Create a user account on the website of Industry Canada by selecting a username, password and secret question. Provide your name, company name, job title, email and address.

Step 3

Follow the on-screen prompts to access the Canadian Intellectual Property Office "Application for Registration of a Copyright in a Work."

Step 4

Complete the application. You must select a title for the work and identify it by category -- literary, musical, artistic, photograph or dramatic. You should categorize a computer algorithm as a literary work. You must supply publication details if the work has been published. You must identify the work's author and copyright owner by name and contact details; these two parties might be different if, for example, the author sold his copyright to someone else. You must identify yourself as the copyright owner, author, assignee or licensee. If you are an agent acting on behalf of the applicant, you must supply your name and contact details.

Step 5

Submit your application online, along with a filing fee of $50 per work. You may pay by credit or debit card. You don't have to submit a copy of the work.

Step 6

Obtain your Copyright Certificate and retain it for your records. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office will mail it to the address listed in the application. You will need your Copyright Certificate to submit as evidence if you file a copyright infringement lawsuit.