A copyright simply means “right to copy.” Having a copyright means you have the legal right to copy or reproduce a work, such as a book, musical score, artwork, computer software or poem. Canadian copyright is automatic as soon as a work is created, but it can be difficult to prove in court that you own the copyright unless the work is registered with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). Registration is straightforward and can be done entirely online. Once it is complete, you have ironclad proof of copyright. Other forms of copyright, such as mailing yourself a copy of your work, may not stand up in court in all cases.
Obtain a copy of the copyright application. There are three ways to do this. You can navigate online to the CIPO server, create a username and password and then log on to the form. You can then fill in the form online. You can also download a copy of the form from the CIPO and print it out or obtain a hard copy of the form from the CIPO at Place du Portage I, 50 Victoria St., Room C-229, Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0C9.
Fill in the form. You will need to supply information on the title of the work and the name, contact information and address of the creator or legal owner of the work. You will also need to sign a declaration that you are the legal owner of the work. You do not need to submit a copy of the work.
Pay the filing fee. As of 2011, the fee varies from $50 to $65 Canadian, depending on how you submit the form. You can pay using a credit card, deposit account, money order or check.
Submit the form. You can do this by uploading the form or by mailing in a hard copy to the CIPO office.
Wait for your filing acceptance and registration certificate. It generally takes between three working days and ten working days for your application to be accepted. Once your application is accepted, you will receive a registration certificate and registration number for your work. This will arrive in the mail.
- Copyright application
Tips & Warnings
The CIPO website notes that when the application process is by mail, it can take from one to three weeks.
While CIPO registration provides an extra layer of protections, the CIPO does not monitor copyright infringement. That is the responsibility of the author or creator of the copyrighted work.
References & Resources
- Canadian Intellectual Property Office: How Your Copright Application is Processed
- Canadian Intellectual Property Office: Filing a Copyright Application
- Canadian Intellectual Property Office: Who Can Apply for Registration
- Canadian Intellectual Property Office: Tariff of Fees
- Canadian Intellectual Property Office: Create a New Copyright Application
- Industry Canada: Create a Username and Password
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