Copyright basics - an overview

Copyright basics

What is copyright?

Copyright is part of a larger body of law called intellectual property, which also includes patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and industrial design.

What does copyright do?

The goal of copyright is to balance rights and protections for the copyright holder with the interests of the public.

When is something copyrighted?

Copyright automatically arises as soon a work is created in a fixed form.  Therefore, copyright exists not only in published books and movies, but also in class notes, emails, pictures taken on your phone, etc.

Where is copyright applied?

Copyright protection is based on the law of the country where the work is being used. For example, a book published in the USA that is being used in Canada will be subject to Canadian law.

Should you have any questions please contact the Copyright Office.

The Copyright Office makes every effort to provide accurate information but does not offer it as counsel or legal advice.