What do I need to know?

Copyright is a complex system with simple goals. It’s a way to promote and protect culture and its creators. 


How does copyright help culture?

It makes sure everyone can access cultural work and knowledge that enrich learning, community and our lives. Without cultural work and information in the public domain, there is no public domain.

How does copyright help creators?
It makes sure that the creators of those works get paid for them fairly, and that they get to control how they’re used. That in turn makes it possible for creators to keep creating.
Dickens
So copyright is about maintaining a balance between access and enjoyment for the public, and compensation and control for the creator.

Who? The creator of a work automatically holds copyright, but can give it away, license it, or sell it.

What? It’s set of legal rules that set out how a work can be used, reprinted, performed, adapted, translated, and so on.

When? It starts the minute the idea takes on a fixed form, and usually lasts for 50 years after the death of the creator.

Where? It varies by country. Read Canada’s act, or excerpts of the act in our Copyright Act handout.