FAQ

1. Who owns the copyright?
2. When does copyright take effect?
3. Do I have to do anything to be protected?
4. What are economic rights?
5. What are moral rights?
6. Are there any limits on the rights of copyright owners?
7. What rights do I have to distribute or allow copies of works that I myself have published?

1. Who owns the copyright?

Generally, the creator owns copyright unless it has been assigned to another entity, such as a publisher or other person. If the work was created in the course of employment, the employer will own the copyright. University of Saskatchewan faculty own copyright in their own works, including course material and lectures in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement between the university and the U of S Faculty Association (USFA). For non-faculty staff, the university retains copyright in works created during the course of employment. Undergraduate students retain copyright in all works created during their course of study. Graduate students retain copyright in their own works (including theses) unless a research contract in support of the student’s work dictates otherwise.


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2. When does copyright take effect?

In Canada, an original work is automatically protected by copyright as soon as it is created in a fixed form (e.g. written down on paper, saved on a computer, recorded, videotaped, or painted on canvas) except for a sound recording, performer’s performance or communication signal (which may be transmitted instead of fixed). The work does not have to be in its final form.
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3. Do I have to do anything to be protected?

No. Copyright in a work exists automatically when an original work is created, so the owner is protected under copyright law. Registration in the Canadian Copyright Office does not preclude or enhance protection. However, it is still a good idea to register your copyright and to indicate notice of copyright on your works.
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4. What are economic rights?

Economic rights are held by the owner of the copyright and include the right to produce, reproduce, present, communicate, publish, or authorize works depending on the type of work and to benefit financially from the work.

Economic rights can be licensed (temporarily) or assigned (permanently) to another entity.


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5. What are moral rights?

Different from economic rights, the creator of a copyrighted work is entitled to moral rights, which 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); the right of association (to control activities associated with your work).

Even if a creator has assigned his or her 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 can’t be assigned.


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6. Are there any limits on the rights of copyright owners?

Yes. Copyright can expire (e.g. the “life plus 50” rule) and works will become part of the public domain. Material in public domain may be freely copied without permission or payment of royalties. There is also an important exception to the rights of copyright owners known as "fair dealing." The fair dealing exception attempts to balance the rights of the copyright owner with the needs of others, such as students and researchers, who require access to copyrighted material to pursue their studies and research activities.


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7. What rights do I have to distribute or allow copies of works that I myself have published?

This depends on whether your works have been published and the agreements that you signed with the publisher. If you retained copyright, you can give or withhold permission at your discretion. If you've signed copyright over to a publisher then you must get permission from the publisher to reproduce your work.
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