According to the copyright guide from the Canadian Intellectual Property Ofﬁce, “copyright means the sole right to produce or reproduce a work or a substantial part of it in any form”. This can be lectures, performances, recordings, and so on. Nowadays, computer programs are copyrighted too (“A guide to copyright”). This kind of right is protected by the law of a given country or nation with the aim of giving the primary creator special privileges over their work. The Copyright Act restricts others from stealing the creator‘s beneﬁts by using their work without permission In this essay, I will ﬁrst expand on copyright and its purpose, and then focus on the Canadian Copyright Act, discussing ﬁve important characteristics.
The deﬁnition of “sole right”—in many cases also called “exclusive right”—is “the power to perform an action (e.g. copy) or acquire a beneﬁt (e.g. generate revenue) and to permit or deny others the right to perform the same action or to acquire the same beneﬁt”.
This right can be considered a reward to the author for their hard work, and an encouragement to create more original work, since they are guaranteed control of their works, and thus the credit and beneﬁt for them. If there were no such right, creators would lose control of their work. To reduce their losses, they would have to put time and effort into preventing others from copying and using their work. First, this consumes both time and resources.
Second, the beneﬁts of controlling the work could decrease, as the author would not want to disseminate his work as widely in the ﬁrst place, in order to reduce risk. This could also encourage people other than the author to copy or steal new work, since they’re able to make money on it instead of paying for it. As the guide mentions, the Copyright Act includes certain terms. First, the copyright period lasts for the life of the author plus 50 years after the author’s death. In some countries other than Canada, this may be set to 70 years or 100 years instead. Therefore, the owner has a fairly long time to receive beneﬁts from his work, and also has the chance to left his work as a legacy for someone.
Copyrighted works include literary works, dramatic works, musical works, artistic works, performances, sound recordings, and communication signals. For instance, the owner of the copyright of a sound recording can publish, reproduce, rent, or authorize the work (“A guide to copyright”). Because of its scope, copyright is different from patents, trademarks, industrial designs, and integrated circuit topographies. It is especially easy to confuse copyright with patents. Patents “cover new and useful inventions (product, composition, machine, process) or any new and useful improvement to an existing invention” (“A guide to copyright”). The major difference is that copyright and patents refer to different things. There are a few very important purposes that copyright fulﬁlls. First of all, it grants creators moral rights. Moral rights are deﬁned as thoughts that are generated naturally from a deep connection, in this case, the creator with his works. From the week 6 PowerPoint, this “[p]r0tects the personal and
reputational value of a work for its creator” 0. Secondly, copyright deﬁnes and secures the author’s rights. If copyright did not exist, everyone would have the capacity to make copies of every creative work produced without seeking the author’s permission. Because of copyright, creators have the choice to decide whether their own creative work is distributed or not, and how the work gets distributed. Particularly, when a large number of people may wish to have copies of the work, the creator has the capacity to obtain native recompense for the sale of copies. The purpose of copyright is tied to the creation of mechanisms that allow the author to have control over ownership of his works, and to make sure that the author receives relevant payments for the works. Many creators develop their work because they understand that they will get paid for the copies distributed to others. Thirdly, copyright not only brings economic beneﬁts to the creator, but also is in the interest of the public.
Since copyright allows the creator to get paid, more people are able to develop other inventions and works. Creative and expressive works are good for the community, since they are essential to developing arts, knowledge, culture, and science. The purpose of copyright includes the creation of mechanisms that assist creators in controlling and receiving payments for their own work, since this results in the development of other works that are beneﬁcial to the entire society (Bailey, 2005). As copyright is crucial, the Copyright Act provides certain standards for people who own the copyrights, especially in knowing how to defend their works, and also to make sure others do not infringe on the authors’ rights. In the next section, I will introduce the ﬁve most important characteristics of the Canadian Copyright Act.