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Copyright for Creators

FAQ for Creators

Explore Copyright for Creators FAQ below.


Don't see what you're looking for? Contact the Copyright Office


Copyright owners have the sole legal right to:

  • Produce or reproduce the work
  • Perform the work in public
  • Publish the work
  • Translate the work
  • Adapt the work to another format (e.g. novel to film, film to play)
  • Record a literary, dramatic or musical work
  • Broadcast the work
  • Exhibit the work
  • Rent out a computer program or a recording of a musical work
  • Sell a work in the form of a tangible object (in certain circumstances)
  • Authorize others to do any of these acts

Copyright Act, Section 3(1)


What are my economic rights as a creator? 

Economic rights include the right to produce, reproduce, present, communicate or publish the work, and authorize others to do these things.

They also protect the copyright owner's right to benefit financially from their work.

Creators can waive, license (temporarily), or assign (permanently) these rights to another party through a contract.

Copyright Act, Section 3(1)


What are my moral rights as a creator? 

Moral rights belong exclusively to the creator and include the right to:

  • Attribution - the creator's right to claim authorship for the work
  • Integrity - the creator's right to oppose changes to the work that could harm their reputation
  • Association - the creator's right to control activities associated with the work

Creators may waive their moral rights, but cannot license (temporarily) or assign (permanently) them to another party. Once a creator has waived their moral rights, they cannot be reinstated. 

Copyright Act, Sections 14.1 and 14.2


Do I need to register my copyright?

Not necessarily. A work is automatically protected by copyright as soon as it is fixed in physical or digital format. The copyright symbol we are accustomed to seeing (©) is a visual reminder that a work is protected by copyright.

Creators may register copyright with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. This is optional, but serves as proof of ownership should questions arise.


Not necessarily. The creator of a work is considered the first copyright owner. They can, however, choose to waive, license (temporarily) or assign (permanently) their rights to another party, such as a publisher, through a contract.

When publishing your work, see the Scholarly Publication & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) website for information about negotiating your rights as an author:

For works created during the course of employment, the employer usually owns copyright. According to Langara's Intellectual Property Policy (B3006) and LFA Collective Agreement, Langara instructors own copyright in the works they create, including class handouts, lecture slides, conference papers, etc.


Are there limits to my rights as a creator? 

Yes. Copyright in Canada is a balance between owner's rights and user's rights. For this reason, Canadian copyright law includes some limitations on creators' rights.  

The Copyright Act contains exceptions to the rights of copyright owners, such as fair dealing. These exceptions allow for freer exchange of information and ideas by permitting specific uses of copyright-protected content (for example, research and private study) without payment or permission from the copyright owner. 

For a full list of exceptions, see Section 29 of the Copyright Act.


Yes. Creators have many options today in terms of how they share their work, including: 

  • Open access
  • Open educational resources (OER)
  • Creative Commons

For more information, visit the Alternatives to Copyright page: 


How can I protect my work? 

Visit the Protect your Work page for details: 


Copyright collectives administer copyrights and related rights on behalf of copyright owners in a particular field.

In addition to collecting and distributing royalties, collectives are commonly responsible for granting permission to use their members' works and for negotiating the conditions of those uses.

There are over thirty copyright collectives in Canada, representing authors, composers, publishers, writers, photographers, musicians, and performers. The activities of copyright collectives are overseen by the Copyright Board of Canada.


Still have questions? Contact the Copyright Office

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The information obtained from or through this website is provided as guidelines for using works for educational purposes and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

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Langara's copyright website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.