Copyright protects your creation. When you own the copyright in a work, you control how it is used in order to protect its value. Copyright is a bundle of rights that allow creators to decide how their works are used by others including the right to:
- reproduce the work
- publish the work
- communicate the work to the public (such as by posting on the internet)
- perform the work
- translate the work
- create derivative works
- authorize others to do any of the above
Copyright ownership in works created at the University of Guelph is subject to the University’s Intellectual Property Policy (Requires SSO), or for University of Guelph Faculty Association (UGFA) members, the UGFA Collective Agreement. These documents provide guidance on when members of the U of G community own copyright in the works they create, and when copyright ownership belongs to the University.
Generally, others who want to use the work you have created have to obtain your permission and pay any copyright fees that may be required. Unauthorized uses of a work will infringe copyright unless they are permitted by an exception in the Copyright Act.
An original work is automatically protected by copyright the moment you create it. Registration of your copyright is not required, however if you wish you can register your copyright with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) in order to receive a certificate that verifies your copyright ownership. In Canada, for most types of works, copyright exists for the author or creator’s lifetime, plus an additional 70 years, with some exceptions. After that, the work is in the public domain, and anyone can use it.
As the creator of a work, you can choose how you want to allow others to use your work. You may opt to designate your work as “All Rights Reserved”, meaning that you retain all of your copyrights and those who wish to use your work must ask for permission. A popular way to provide permission up front for certain uses of your work is to assign it a Creative Commons (CC) license. CC licenses allow you to retain copyright ownership of your work while at the same time enabling others to use it in specified ways. For example, you can allow others to re-use your work for non-commercial purposes, or to create a derivative work from it. In all cases, the user is required to provide attribution to you as the author, and you retain your exclusive right as the copyright owner. For more information about Creative Commons licenses, see Use Creative Commons Licenses or watch our What are Creative Commons Licenses? video.
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