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What is protected

In Canada, copyright is automatic. As soon as a work is fixed in print or digital form, it is protected by copyright.  

Examples of 'fixed' works:

  • Print - written down, for example lecture notes or a diary
  • Digital - saved to a computer hard drive
  • Photographs - once a photograph is taken, analog or digital 



Copyright protects all original: 

  • Literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works (books, drawings, computer code)
  • Sound recordings (lectures, music)
  • Performances (dance, song, theatrical performance)
  • Communications (radio, broadcasts)


Registering your work with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office is optional, but can serve as proof of ownership if needed.  


Not protected

Facts and ideas are not protected under copyright law. Copyright protects the expression of an idea, not the idea itself.


Not Protected vs. Protected
The idea for a plot The expression of a plot idea, e.g., in a novel, manuscript, or movie
Facts A newspaper article containing facts  



The information in this resource should not be considered legal advice. The purpose of this guide is to provide Douglas College faculty and students with general information about copyright.