Any original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work is automatically protected by copyright the moment it’s created. The work’s creator is usually held to be the copyright owner. However, an employer has copyright for works created by employees unless there is an agreement to the contrary.

When you own copyright on a work you can control how it’s used. Others who want to use the work have to buy or otherwise get your permission. You can limit use to protect the value of the copyrighted work.

Even though copyright protection is automatic, registration gives you evidence of ownership. The certificate issued by CIPO upon registration can be used in court for this purpose.

Copyright in Canada generally exists for the life of the author plus 50 years following death. After that, the work becomes part of the public domain and anyone can use it. However, there are exceptions.