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Copyright Law Basics (2) – Owner’s Rights

October 17, 2014

By Alan Kilpatrick

Copyright is presently a hot topic in Canada. Discussions about copyright often lead to contention and controversy. A basic understanding of copyright law can help ensure fair and equitable access to law, justice, and information. Last week, we explored the principle of copyright balance. This week, we are going to look at the owner’s rights granted under the Copyright Act, RSC 1985, C-42.

copyrightCopyright owners, those who hold the copyright in a work, are granted a variety of economic rights under section 3(1) of the act,

For the purposes of this Act, “copyright”, in relation to a work, means the sole right to produce or reproduce the work or any substantial part thereof in any material form whatever…and to authorize any such acts.

Copyright owners have the sole right to reproduce a copyrighted work or a substantial portion of that work. Section 27(1) describes copyright infringement,

It is an infringement of copyright for any person to do, without the consent of the owner of the copyright, anything that by this Act only the owner of the copyright has the right to do.

Reproducing a substantial portion of a work without the owner’s consent is copyright infringement. Consequently, the act highlights a variety of punishments for commercial and non-commercial infringement. If you would like to copy a substantial portion of a copyrighted work, you will need to contact the owner and ask for permission.

It is important to highlight that the act only grants owners the sole right to reproduce a substantial portion of a copyrighted work. It is not an infringement to reproduce an insubstantial portion of a work. Copyright users are not required to seek the owner’s consent when copying an insubstantial portion. Please use reasonable judgment to determine whether the amount you would like to copy is a substantial or insubstantial.

Copyright users are also granted rights under the act. Next time, we will explore an important user right called fair dealing.

(Reposted from Legal Sourcery)



CanLII. (2002). Théberge v. Galerie d’Art du Petit Champlain inc. Retrieved from

CanLII. (2004). Law Society of Upper Canada v. CCH Canadian Limited. Retrieved from

Geist, M. (2010). From “Radical Extremism” to “Balanced Copyright”: Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda. Toronto: Irwin Law.

Justice Canada. (2014). Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42). Retrieved from

Murray, L.J. & Trosow, S.E. (2013). Canadian Copyright: A Citizen’s Guide. 2nd ed. Toronto: Between the Lines.

Trosow, S. (2010). Bill C32 and the Access Copyright Tariff: Double Trouble for Higher Education. Retrieved from

Trosow, S. (2009). The Copyright Debate: Finding the Right Balance for Teaching, Research, and Cultural Expression. Retrieved from

Kilpatrick, A. (2012). Access Copyright: What does it mean for Western? A Librarian’s Guide. Retrieved from

Kilpatrick, A. & Harrington, M. (2013). Copyright and Canadian Academic Libraries. Retrieved from

From → Copyright, Law

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