Q. What does copyright cover?
Copyright protects literary, artistic, dramatic and musical works, as well as sound recordings, performances and communication signals. This encompasses a wide range of things, ranging from books, articles, posters, manuals and graphs, to CDs, DVDs, software, databases and websites.
Copyright gives the creator of an original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work the exclusive rights to reproduce, perform, translate, publish, distribute and sell the work. Copyright applies automatically when a work is fixed in a tangible format (registration is not necessary).
Copyright ownership belongs to the creator of a work unless the creator assigns it to someone else. For example, some publishers will ask authors to sign over their copyright in a publishing contract.
In Canada, a work enters into public domain when its copyright expires 50 years after the death of the creator. It can then be freely copied and distributed. For performances and sound recordings, copyright expires 70 years after the release or publication date.
Copyright does not protect ideas and facts. For example, statistics can be copied without permission. However, copyright may apply in the way ideas and data are presented such as a table displaying statistics.