IP Compendium

Notes on Canadian intellectual property law

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Copyright law is a “creature of statute”. That is, there is no “natural law of copyright” - all rights and remedies arise from the words of the Copyright Act.1

The Copyright Act provides both an economic right and a "moral" right to the author of an original work. The economic rights are based on a conception of artistic and literary works essentially as articles of commerce, while the moral rights are based on a conception that original works are an extension of the author's personality.2

A copyright owner has exclusive rights over the work with respect to a number of activities listed under s. 3(1) of the Copyright Act (“…the right to produce or reproduce the work or any substantial part thereof in any material form whatever, to perform the work or any substantial part thereof in public or, if the work is unpublished, to publish the work or any substantial part thereof…”). Anyone who does anything falling within the exclusive rights of the owner without the owner's authorization infringes his copyright.3

There are certain exceptions, or “user's rights” which do not infringe copyright. Most notable is Fair dealing, which allows uses such as research, private study, education, parody or satire without infringement provided the work is dealt with fairly.

1 Théberge v Galerie d’Art du Petit Champlain inc, 2002 SCC 34 at para 5; Compo Co v Blue Crest Music Inc, [1980] 1 SCR 357 at 373; Bishop v Stevens, [1990] 2 SCR 467 at 477.
2 Théberge at paras 11-15.
3 Copyright Act, s 27.
copyright.txt · Last modified: 2015/08/22 06:23 by KPS