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Copyright guide for Camosun College

Your Copyright

Who owns copyright?

Camosun College values creation and innovation and encourages individuals to create innovative works and inventions and related entrepreneurial activities by members of the College community, including students. 


College faculty owns the copyright or patent in all works that may be copyrighted or patented that have been prepared or created as part of their assigned duties unless

a) the College Faculty is hired or agrees to create and produce a copyrightable or patentable work product for the College; or
b) the College Faculty is given release time from their usual duties to create and produce a copyrightable or patentable work product; or
c) the College Faculty is paid, in addition to their regular rate of pay, to produce a copyrightable or patentable work product.


The College owns the intellectual property in all works created by College Employees unless otherwise provided for at law or by a written agreement approved by the College.


Student owns intellectual property in works developed as part of their normal course requirements, subject to any employment or other obligations between the student and the College, or any external parties that sponsor or support the student in the development of the intellectual property. The College shall have a right to use works developed by students in perpetuity for institutional, commercially non-competitive purposes and may retain prototypes or other original work developed by students using College resources.

For more information, please check Camosun College Commercialization of Intellectual Property

Types of works protected

In Canada, original works (Artistic, Literary, Musical or Dramatic form) are automatically copyrighted and protected when they are created in a fixed format, such as on paper, in sheet music, or files stored on a computer drive. 

  • Literary works - Books, Pamphlets, Computer programs, Software, Website content
  • Artistic works - Photographs, Maps, Blueprints, Buildings, Paintings, Sculptures
  • Musical works - Musical notations, Musical Compositions with lyrics
  • Dramatic works - Motion picture films, Plays, Screenplays, Scripts
Conditions for protection

A work must meet 3 conditions in order to be protected by copyright:

  • Originality - must be the result of your own creativity
  • Expression - must be the Expression of an idea
  • Fixation - must be in a fixed material format

Do I need to register my copyright?

As soon as your original work is fixed in a material format (Print, Digital or Photographs), it will be automatically protected by copyright until it goes into Public Domain. 

As a creator of copyrighted material, there is technically nothing to do for you. It doesn't matter if you put the copyright symbol (©) or not. It may help other people recognize your works as copyrighted materials. The copyright symbol is not mandatory.

In Canada, generally speaking, copyright lasts for the life of the creator + 50 years. Your works will enter the public domain when their copyright expires. 

There is no international copyright law, but most of countries in the world signed various international copyright treaties or trade treaties. As soon as your original works are protected by Canadian copyright law, they will be protected by each countries' copyright law standard on their territories. For example, your work will be protected by Canadian copyright law in Canada, but it will be protected by Japanese Copyright law in Japan. 

For you protection, make sure to save, print, or photocopy your original idea. Again, once you place your original works in a fixed format, copyright will be automatically exercised domestically and internationally. Okay, then how can you protect your works

Are you considering to share your works with other people? please check Alternatives to Copyright.

How to protect your work?

You must be actively protect yourself. Polices or Canadian government are not monitoring on and offline 24/7 to protect their citizens copyright. It is your responsibility to protect your works. Here are some method to protect copyrighted works.

  • Canadian Intellectual Property Office
    The first option will be "Registering your copyright." As a copyright owner, you can make extra steps to register your work with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) then just leave it as automatic protection. CIPO will provide you a record of copyright ownership. Registration requires the payment of a fee ($50 to register a work or other subject matter online, or $65 if not done online).
  • Digital Rights Management (DRM) / Technological Protection Measure (TPM)
    You can put digital watermarks or encryption on your works. Lots of photographers are using this method to protect their photos. 
  • Monitor online use of your work
    There are various online services to detect online duplication. 
  • Creative Commons License or Conditioned Permission 
    You can publish your work under Creative Commons License or state permission in condition of educational purpose only. Most of CC users communicate and respect other's license. So, this will be easier for you to manage any copyright infringement. For more information, please visit Alternatives to Copyright

Sharing your work

Would you like to share your work, or do you want more people use your work? There are many alternative choices you can use which give you and the users more flexibility and less restrictions than copyrighted materials. Most popular alternatives are:

  • Creative Commons
  • Open Access

Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) is a nonprofit organization that helps overcome legal obstacles to the sharing of knowledge and creativity to address the world’s pressing challenges.

CC provides Creative Commons licenses and public domain tools that give every person and organization in the world a free, simple, and standardized way to grant copyright permissions for creative and academic works; ensure proper attribution; and allow others to copy, distribute, and make use of those works. 

License Elements
Image Condition Description



Credit must be given to the creator


(Share Alike)

Adaptations must be shared under the same terms


(Non Commercial)

Only noncommercial uses of the work are permitted


(No Derivatives)

No derivatives or adaptations of the work are permitted

Some content in this guide has been copied and adapted from licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0)

Types of Creative Commons Licenses

From: How To Attribute Creative Commons Photos by Foter, licensed under CC BY SA 3.0

Choose your Creative Commons License

If you are still not sure which license you should choose, please try Creative Commons License Chooser. 

It is a tool developed by Creative Commons to help people to find right license for them. 

Creative Commons License Chooser

Open Access

Published research findings are meant to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, encourage innovation, enrich education, and stimulate the economy – to improve the public good. Yet, too often, research results are not available to the broadest community of potential users. This has resulted in a call for a new framework to allow research results to be more easily accessed and used—a call for Open Access.


Open Access (OA) refers to scholarly literature that is freely available on the Internet.

These resources are sustained by the academic and scientific communities that produce them. They are typically found in peer-reviewed Open Access Journals and Institutional Repositories, which act as archives of institutions' scholarly output.


The library maintains a guide that outlines sources for open education resources, open access journals and books, and sources of open culture (images, video etc.). Open Resources Guide

Who benefits from Open Access


  • Increases the visibility, readership and impact of author’s works
  • Creates new avenues for discovery in a digital environment
  • Enhances interdisciplinary research

Educational Institutions

  • Contributes to the core mission of advancing knowledge
  • Ensures all students have access to research, rather what they (or their school) can afford
  • Contributes to a better-educated workforce


  • Access to cutting-edge research encourages innovation
  • Stimulates new ideas, new services, new products


  • Provides access to previously unavailable materials relating to health, energy, environment, and other areas of broad interest
  • Creates better educated populace

* Content on this page has been copied and adapted from Why Open Access? (SPARC)

How to make your own work open access

Find a suitable OA journal. Go to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and browse by field.

  • Or paste your abstract into Open Journal Matcher and get suggestions for suitable OA journals.
  • As you consider different OA journals, bear in mind that some will be high in quality, impact, and prestige. Some will be low. In this respect, OA journals are just like conventional, non-OA journals.
  • Some will use liberal open licenses, like CC-BY. Some will use more restrictive open licenses like CC-BY-NC or CC-BY-NC-ND. Some will offer only gratis access without open licenses, that is, they will be free of charge for reading but publish under all-rights-reserved copyrights.
  • Some will charge publication fees (also called article processing charges or APCs), and some will not.

Some content in this guide has been copied and adopted from the HOAP wiki from Harvard University licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC-BY 3.0)