What is copyright?

In the simplest terms, "copyright" means "the right to copy." In general, only the copyright owner, often the creator of the work, is allowed to produce or reproduce the work or to permit anyone else to do so.

What is covered by copyright?

Copyright applies to all original, dramatic, musical, artistic and literary works (including computer programs). It also applies to performances, communication signals and sound recordings.

Copyright protection

Copyright exists automatically when an original work is created; however, registration gives you a certificate that states that you are the owner, which can be used in court as evidence of ownership.

What is the role of CIPO's Copyright Office?

CIPO's Copyright Office processes applications and issues registration certificates. We also maintain the official Register of Copyrights and a record of all registrations of assignments and licences for public use.

How long do copyright last?

The general rule is that 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 the calendar year.

What's New

Why register your copyright?

A poem, painting, musical score, performer's performance and a computer program are all valuable creations worth protecting.

Although copyright in a work exists automatically when an original work is created, a certificate of registration is evidence that your creation is protected by copyright and that you, the person registered, are the owner. It can be used in court as evidence of ownership.

How to register

Before you apply to register your copyright, consult the Guide to Copyright to learn about the registration process.

Once you're ready, register your copyright.

Copyright information

At CIPO, we can provide you with information about the registration process. For information about all other matters related to copyright (policy, royalties, licences), refer to the following sites: