Registering your Work with the CIPO

What are the advantages to registering an artistic work with Canadian Intellectual Property Office?

Copyright in a work exists automatically when an original work is created. Registering an artistic work is not a mandatory procedure for a work to be protected by copyright. However, a certificate of registration with the CIPO is evidence that your creation is protected by copyright and that you, the person registered, are the presumed owner. It can be used in court as evidence of ownership.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is a special Operating Agency associated with Industry Canada. Their offices are responsible for the administration and processing of intellectual property in Canada.
  • Registration gives you a certificate that states you are the copyright owner. You can use this certificate in court as evidence of ownership.
  • Upon registration of your work, you create a presumptive ownership. Anyone who wishes to challenge the ownership bears the burden of fighting the battle, while you are presumed to be the lawful owner.
  • This enables you to more easily protect your rights should someone challenge them since the burden is on the challenger to prove rights in any dispute.
  • Being on the Copyright Register also helps with finding an owner when permission to use a work is sought.
  • CIPO maintains an up-to-date database. It is free for anyone to see.
  • Registration, however, is no guarantee against infringement. The Copyright Office is not responsible for policing, or checking on registered works and their use, and will not guarantee that the legitimacy of ownership or originality in a work will never be questioned.
  • In Canada, registration lasts for 15 years, during which period you have an exclusive right to use your work. Upon expiry of the 15 years, registration may be renewed an unlimited number of times, with each renewal lasting 15 years.

How to register

In order to register an artistic work with CIPO you must file an application with the Copyright Office along with a prescribed fee (between 50$ and 65$).
The Copyright Office will give you the basic information you need to file your own application for copyright registration. An application form and instructions for filling it out are available from the Copyright Office or by visiting CIPO’s website (www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/copyrights)