Canada’s Copyright Act protects any original work as soon as it is "fixed in any material form." The legislation protects the expression of an idea but not the idea itself.
Under the Copyright Act, authors are the first owners of copyright in their works unless the author created the content as an employee. Authors can exercise their rights themselves, assign their rights or appoint a representative such as an agent, distributor or copyright collective to exercise the rights on their behalf.
Those rights, which are often called patrimonial rights, make it possible for the copyright owner (i.e. author or representative) to determine how their content will be used. Thanks to those rights, copyright owners are able to earn income – generally in the form of royalties – so they can continue their creative work and distribute their works.
Canada has been a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) since 1970. It has also signed various international intellectual property treaties such as the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886) which lays down the guiding principles for international copyright protection.
To learn more about copyright:
- Copyright Board of Canada
- Canadian Intellectual Property Office
- World Intellectual Property Organization
- Judgment CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada,  1 SCR 339
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