How to Register for a Copyright

A copyright is an exclusive licence granted to unique works of art, science and technology that are deemed worth protecting. Although it’s not obligatory for every creator to register for a copyright, it is considered vital for many. This is because in the age of digitalization, theft of Intellectual Property (IP) is easier and often anonymous.

Copyrights are unique in that a registration is not required for protection to exist. The simple act of creating a unique work of art lends its creator copyright protection. A copyright registration can be beneficial in the case of an infringement as it can be used to show evidence of ownership of the copyrighted material.

A copyright not only grants the creator exclusive rights to her work but also protects it in the case of violations. The Copyright Act is the legislation responsible for registering and maintaining copyrights in Canada.

Here’s a simple step by step guide to copyright registration:

Prepare the Materials

This is a crucial step that most creators skip before applying for a copyright. It’s also advisable to hire an experienced IP lawyer or agent to ensure that your copyright registration is successful. An IP lawyer or agent helps you determine whether your creation is applicable for a copyright or needs to be registered as another type of IP such as a trademark or a patent. He can also help you determine the fees of registration and the category under which your work falls.

You also need to determine whether you want to register for your copyright electronically or via mail to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO).

Obtain the Application

You can obtain the application form online at the website of the Government of Canada. However, to gain access to the automated services, you need to set up a My Industry Account at CIPO’s official website. In case you have problems finding the application, consult their Client Services or refer to your IP lawyer or agent.

Determine the Fee Involved

Based on the category your work falls under and the medium through which you submit it, the registration fee is determined. Although you can enquire about the copyright registration fee at CIPO’s website, it’s useful to consult your IP lawyer or agent about the same.

Complete the Application

Filing for the application is a comprehensive process that needs to be done carefully. Inaccurately filed applications face a higher chance of rejection. Here are a few important pointers that should be included in your submission:

  • Title of the work
  • Category of the work
  • Publication Details
  • Name of the owner
  • Name of the author (If applicable)
  • A Declaration

Copyright applications for Subject Matter such as performances and recordings need to include additional details. Your IP lawyer or agent can help you file your application more efficiently, increasing the changes of a successful registration.

Registration Process

Once you have submitted your application, electronically or manually, it is entered into CIPO’s internal processing system. In the case of error with the submission or the fees, you will be notified within 7 days of filing. If your application is submitted successfully, you will receive a registration certificate and number within 5 or 7 days of filing, depending on the medium via which the application was submitted.

Copyright registration can be a taxing process for creators. Consult an experienced law firm to help you understand it better.