Help with Copyright Law and Copyright Infringement
Copyright protects original creative works, namely those encompassed by the general categories of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works as well as performer's performances, sound recordings and communication signals. Owning the copyright to a work allows you to prohibit others from producing or reproducing all or a substantial part of your work in any form without your permission.
Our copyright lawyers have over a decade of experience in Canadian copyright law. We advise on all types of copyright law issues, including those relating to creation and subsistence of copyright in various works, ownership, infringement, and defences to infringement.
We also draft and respond to cease and desist letters relating to infringement allegations and commence and defend copyright infringement litigation. For more information about our intellectual property litigation services, please see our IP Litigation page.
Further information about our copyright services is found below. If you have any questions about our services or you are in need of copyright services not specifically described here, please contact us for a complimentary and confidential telephone appointment with a member of our team.
Copyright Infringement Notices from Internet Service Providers
We provide consultations on copyright infringement notices forwarded by Internet service providers (e.g. Rogers, Bell or Tevsavvy) to help you better understand your legal position with respect to paying the proposed settlement amount and how events could unfold if you do not. We have particular experience advising on recent infringement notices sent by CEG TEK International.
Software Self-Audit Requests from the Business Software Alliance (BSA)
We also have experience advising and representing businesses who receive a self-audit request from Vik Tenekjian of Gilbert's LLP on behalf of the Business Software Alliance (BSA). We strongly recommend obtaining advice from a copyright lawyer who has experience dealing with the BSA prior to responding to any correspondence that you have received from it.
Defence and Settlement of Federal Court Simplified Actions for Copyright Infringement
We also have experience advising and representing individuals named as a defendant in a statement of claim for copyright infringement in a cinematographic work (i.e. a movie). If you have received a letter and a statement of claim from Ken Clark of Aird & Berlis LLP, we can help. We have represented multiple individuals in settlements in cases commenced by copyright owners represented by him. We strongly recommend obtaining advice from a copyright lawyer knowledgeable about these proceedings prior to responding to any correspondence that you have received and prior to filing a statement of defence in the lawsuit.
Copyright Registration Applications
While registration of copyright is not required for copyright to subsist in a work in Canada, a certificate of registration provides evidence that your work is protected by copyright and that you are the owner of the work.
Failing to register copyright may also leave a copyright owner exposed to a section of the Copyright Act which precludes an award of monetary damages where the defendant can prove it was not aware and had no reasonable ground for suspecting that copyright subsisted in the work infringed.
Since certificates of registration typically issue within a few days of application in Canada, registration should be considered prior to enforcing your copyright against copyright infringers in Canada if a work has not been registered already.
We prepare and file copyright registration applications in Canada and can also arrange for corresponding applications to be filed in the United States and other foreign jurisdictions. We also file Canadian copyright applications for foreign clients and associates.
Irrespective of whether copyright is registered, the work may be marked with a notice consisting of the symbol ©, the name of the copyright owner and the year of first publication. It is not required under Canadian law for copyright to subsist, but it will provide notice to third parties that the work is protected as well as identify the owner.
Copyright Assignments and Licences
Assignments assign full or partial ownership of rights to another. Licences allow the owner to retain ownership of copyright while permitting another to use a work for certain purposes under specific conditions.
We draft assignments and licences for all types of works for use with employees, contractors or others. Where needed, we can also record executed copies of the assignments or licences with the applicable copyright offices.
Software and Digital Works
We are often sought out to advise on infringement issues relating to computer software and other digital works such as websites. Having a pre-existing technical familiarity with the subject matter at issue is often a great advantage as good legal advice requires an accurate understanding of the facts.
Typical Steps in a Canadian Copyright Application
Filing Your Copyright Application
In order to register your copyright, we will file an application on your behalf with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office along with the necessary registration fees. We will prepare an application classifying your work by type, declaring its originality, and submitting the date and place of first publication, if applicable.
We will submit this application online; if there are any issues with the application, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office will notify us within a few weeks of the filing date. Most applications proceed to registration without issue.
Obtaining Your Copyright Registration
In most copyright applications in Canada, once the Canadian Intellectual Property Office receives the completed copyright application along with the registration fee, it will issue an official registration certificate, including a copyright registration number, within a few weeks of the filing fee. The official registration certificate will act as legal and transferable proof of your ownership of the copyrighted work.
Recording Licence, Assignment or Other Grant of Interest Documents
If you license or assign your copyright to another entity sometime after registration, or instead have acquired one or more copyright registrations from another, we can help you register the transfer document or licence with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
Once the request and fee are received by the Copyright Branch to register an assignment or licence, or to include any other grant of interest or change of name document in the Register, the office will notify us within one week if there are any issues with the request. If there are no issues or any issues are resolved, a registration certificate will be sent to us as evidence of the recordal of the document by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
Our copyright services include:
Advising on the presence and ownership of copyright in various works
Preparing and filing copyright registration applications in Canada
Arranging and supervising the filing of copyright registration applications in the United States and other foreign jurisdictions
Assignments and licences
Advising on copyright infringement in Canada
Consultations on copyright infringement notices received from your Internet service provider
Drafting and responding to cease and desist letters
Responding to self-audit requests from the Business Software Alliance