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What is Copyright?

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a collection of rights that protects the creator or owner of a work. It balances the rights of users with the rights of creators to ensure that works are used in a fair way and that creators are compensated for their work.


Copyright Law

Understanding copyright law and how it applies to the community at Assiniboine begins with the Copyright Act. Canada’s Copyright Act was originally enacted in 1924 and revised in 2012. It allows the use of many copyrighted materials by educational institutions such as Assiniboine. Copyright exists for most works in fixed form for 70 years after the death of the creator (new as of July 1, 2020 - Canada has two-and-a-half years to implement this change). After this time, the work goes into the public domain and may be freely used.


What is Considered Copyrighted Material?

“Copyright applies to all original works — including books, films, images, artistic works, communication signals, sound recordings, and much more” (CARL module 1).

Under copyright legislation, the author/creator is the party that not only writes something, but may also include;

  • taking a photograph, 
  • designing computer software, 
  • producing audiovisual materials,
  • composing music, 
  • designing maps, 
  • drawing plans or illustrations in either paper format or other mediums


Copyright Protection

Copyright Protection falls under the categories of:

  • literary works
  • artistic works
  • dramatic works
  • musical works (including computer programs)
  • other subject-matter known as performer's performances
  • sound recordings
  • communication signals.

It is important to note that the Copyright Act does not protect:

  • ideas
  • concepts
  • themes

However, it does protect the language and words used to express such ideas, concepts and themes. Something must be written down, saved on a hard drive, or have been expressed in a physical form.

The following short video showcases what kinds of works are protected by copyright.


Copyright Help!

Copyright can be a complicated concept to understand. Please reach out to Assiniboine's Copyright Officer at any time for support.