Let’s start out by saying that Library and Archives Canada doesn’t do copyright for you. I just felt that this topic should be included under the wing of this mini-series, because it is so important, and should be being done at the same time that you are getting your ISBN and CIP data.
So let’s start out with the definition of copyright.
According to dictionary.com:
The exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit a literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.: works granted such right by law on or after January 1, 1978, are protected for the lifetime of the author or creator and for a period of 50 years after his or her death.
So, what exactly is intellectual copyright?
It is the ideal that you have copyright over anything that you have created from your mind, such a work of literature, a painting, etc. (To find out more about intellectual property, check out the Wikipedia article here. ) The problem lies in establishing a timeline. If a suit goes to court over intellectual copyright, how do you prove that you had created it first? Well, some say to take a copy of work and send it to yourself via registered mail. Place the unopened package in a safe place, so that you have sealed proof of when it was sent to you. Is that really enough though? Is it worth taking the chance that you should rely on that alone? For myself, it wouldn’t be.
I believe that it is incredibly important to have your work registered with CIPO, aka the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. The cost is low, but the peace of mind is priceless. You can check them out on their website. They also have a great glossary of terms there, and some other interesting information on copyrights and patents.
The last step that most people would take would be to contact a lawyer to get help to even further establish copyright. Is this a necessary step? Depends on who you are asking, and what funds you have available to you, really. If you do decide to go that route and continue forward with a lawyer, you will want to look for a reputable lawyer in your area who specialises in copyright and or entertainment laws.
Now get out there and get started!