How to Copyright Photos in Canada

By Robin Elizabeth Margolis

Canada does not require formal copyright registration of your photo if you are a Canadian citizen or a citizen of a country that has agreed to certain international copyright treaties. Under Canadian law, you are entitled to automatic copyright protection of your photo if your citizenship qualifies you for it. Nevertheless, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office -- CIPO -- recommends that you obtain a Canadian certificate of registration for your photo as additional legal proof that you are its owner.

Step 1

Read Canadian copyright law publications. CIPO has produced two publications, "A Guide to Copyrights" and "How Your Copyright Application Is Processed," which explain many Canadian copyright law concepts in lay terms.

Step 2

Make sure that you own the copyright to your photo. Under Canadian law, the photographer is not always the owner of a photo's copyright. If you have signed a "work-for-hire" contract with a client for a photo, under which the client paid you for the photo and received all rights to it, your client now owns the copyright to the photo. An essay by The Canadian Association of Professional Image Creators, "What You Sell," describes ways to determine if you still own the copyright on a photo.

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Step 3

Visit the websites of the Canadian Association of Professional Image Creators and the Professional Photographers of Canada to see if there are any recent changes in Canadian copyright law that affect your photo.

Step 4

Contact CIPO and get a copyright application form, titled, "Application for Registration of a Copyright in a Work." The CIPO website allows you to create a confidential account and fill out the application form online. You may also download the application form, print it and fill it out by hand.

Step 5

Send the copyright form to CIPO with the required fee. As of 2011, the fee is C$50 if you submit your application online through the CIPO website and C$65 if you mail or fax your application. Do not send a copy of your photo with the application. CIPO is only interested in receiving the application and the fee. CIPO will review your application and if it is approved, your photo will be entered into the Copyright Register and you will be sent an official certificate of copyright registration.

Step 6

Contact CIPO if you do not receive an official certificate within three weeks.

Step 7

Visit, call or email Library and Archives Canada after you receive your official certificate of copyright for your photo. Ask the Library and Archives Canada Legal Deposit staff if you are legally required to deposit a copy of your photo with that institution.

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How to Copyright Something in Canada

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How to Copyright a Webpage

Your webpage is technically copyrighted as soon as it is placed in a tangible medium such as the Internet. In order to further protect your website you should consider registering for a formal copyright so that you will have the ability to sue any third parties that might misuse your materials. Copyrighting your webpage is not a difficult task, but copyright protection will only extend to certain aspects of your webpage, such as writings, artwork and photographs. A copyright will not protect your domain name, any functional aspects of your website, or any elements of your website that are common or otherwise part of the public domain.

How to Copyright Choreography

A copyright affords protection to creators and owners of unique intellectual property that is fixed in some permanent, tangible form such as a written notation, book, video, sound recording, or drawing. To be eligible for copyright protection, your choreography must be original. Under U.S. copyright law, as soon as an original work of authorship, such as choreography, has been created in fixed form, then copyright protection exists from that time. This gives the author or his agent to rightfully claim copyright. However, it is much better to register the copyright, because it creates a public notice that you own the rights and enables you to sue in federal court if someone uses your choreography without your permission. It is important to note that choreography that has not been made into a fixed form is not eligible for copyright protection.

How to Apply for a Copyright

Copyright law protects works of authorship, including art and software algorithms. To fully protect your work, you must create it and then register it with the U.S. Copyright Office. U.S. copyright law imposes both civil and criminal penalties against infringement. If you register your work, you can obtain damages of up to $150,000 per infringement without proving that the infringement caused you any economic damages. The procedure for creating and registering your copyright is straightforward and simple.

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