Crown Copyright and Licensing deals with all types of copyright, not just within the visual arts. Copyright is the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish and sell a work. In other words, the Copyright Act provides copyright protection to what is referred to as “authors/creators”.

Copyright lasts for the life of the author/creator plus 50 years. Copyright protection always ends on December 31 of the last year of protection. Crown copyright lasts from the date of publication of a work plus 50 years thereafter.

It is important to note that the Copyright Act does not protect ideas, concepts, or themes, but that it does protect the language and words used to express such ideas, concepts and themes.

In Canada, copyright in a work comes into existence when a work is created. Under Canadian copyright legislation, rights of the author/creator are protected whether or not he or she has marked the work with the standard copyright symbol “©”.

Copyright in works are divided into seven categories: literary work, dramatic work, artistic work, musical work, sound recording, performer’s performance and communication signal. Visual artists fall under the artistic work category, which includes copyright for patterns, art slides, maps, atlases, paintings, architectural drawings, plans, stage and costume designs, digital images, drawings, photographs, charts, mosaics, sculpture, art prints, and compilations of artistic works on CD-ROMs and on Websites.

CCL administers non-exclusive, sole, and exclusive rights to copyrights under its protection, as well as administering copyright clearance on Government of Canada works.

For more information on the CCL, including instructions on registering for Crown Copyright and on obtaining Copyright Clearance, visit their website (this site opens in a new window).

To read the Canadian Copyright Act in its entirety, click here (this site opens in a new window).