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In general, copyright means the sole right to produce or reproduce a work or a substantial part of it in any form. It protects the value of the work by letting the copyright holder control how the work may be used. A copyright holder may reproduce, publish or perform the work as they see fit. If another person or company wants to use that work, they must either pay the copyright holder or otherwise get permission.

Usually, the copyright holder is the same as the creator of the work. In some cases, a company may hold the rights over intellectual property produced by its employees.

In Canada, copyright is managed by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). Generally, copyright lasts for the life of the author, the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies, and for 50 years following the end of that calendar year. After that time, the work falls into the public domain, which means anyone can use it without needing to pay fees and royalties or secure the rights. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule.

More about copyright

According to the Copyright Act, the following types of works may be covered by copyright:

  • Literary works such as books, pamphlets, computer programs and other works consisting primarily of text
  • Dramatic works such as films, plays, screenplays and scripts
  • Musical works including compositions with and without lyrics
  • Artistic works such as paintings, drawings, maps, photographs, sculptures and plans
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