Taken together, copyright, patent, and trademark laws protect and govern the use of intellectual property in Canada and many other countries. Copyright ensures that creators are recognized and compensated for their work, for without adequate payment and recognition, there would be less production, and therefore fewer works on which we, as educators, can draw. Copyright laws also provide for the rights of users, too, by seeking to define what constitutes fair dealing and by defining specific boundaries or exceptions for educators using copyright material.
The following is protected by copyright:
Fair Dealing Exceptions allow an individual to copy from copyright protected works for the purpose of education, research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, satire or parody. The original source must be cited. The copying is limited to short excerpts.
Refer to the Fair Dealing Guidelines for Students which provides you with general information about the Canadian Copyright Act. This document also provides guiding principles for activities that you can conduct under the fair dealing requirements without infringing copyright.
The Canadian Copyright Act provides the general rule for the length of copyright protection for published works as:
the life of the author, the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies, and a period of fifty years following the end of that calendar year. Under this life-plus-fifty rule, an author has copyright in a work they create throughout their lifetime. Their heirs or assignees enjoy copyright for a period of fifty years until the calendar year end after the author’s death.
Once copyright has expired in a work, the work is said to be in the “public domain.” The work is no longer protected by copyright and can be used freely, without obtaining permission from or compensating, the copyright owner. For example, works of Mozart and Shakespeare are in the public domain and can be copied freely (provided the works are not adaptations).
In Canada, the duration of copyright cannot be extended or renewed. Once copyright expires, moral rights also expire, and a work may be freely adapted and used without the author’s name on it. In some countries, moral rights are in perpetuity and exist even after copyright in a work expires.