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What is a copyright?

Copyright is the embodiment or expression of an idea. The idea must be expressed in some form. Ownership of the idea expressed in some form allows the owner the exclusive right to:

  • use or not;
  • copy;
  • publish;
  • translate;
  • convert;
  • adapt;
  • record;
  • broadcast;
  • reproduce; or
  • allow or prevent others to do the same in Canada.

The forms in which copyrights may exist include:

  • literary (a Harry Potter® book or a video game – Game Boy®);
  • dramatic (Film – Gone with the Wind, screenplay to Three Men & a Baby);
  • musical score (Under My Thumb by the Rolling Stones); and
  • artistic work (architectural design of the National Gallery of Canada).

As with a trademark or industrial design, copyrights form part of the umbrella of creative rights known as intellectual property.

Conversely, if you suspect that your copyright is being used without your permission, you can consider issuing a cease and desist letter with the assistance of a lawyer. We can also help if you find yourself in receipt of one. Possible options after issuing/receiving a cease and desist letter include, but are not limited to: a) early settlement and resolution and / or b) litigation through use of the courts.

Our copyright lawyers in Ottawa and Toronto can assist you with registering your copyright, licencing your copyright, and/or protecting or defending copyright matters in intellectual property litigation.