The Canadian Association of professional image creators Back

Jun 16, 2014

Copyright law   From ""

Until 2012, the Canadian Copyright Act discriminated against freelance photographers because it did not automatically recognize their ownership over the work they created in the course of their employment.


Due in part to CAPIC and PPOC’s lobbying activities with the federal government, Bill C-11, an Act to amend the Copyright Act, voted at third reading and signed by the Governor General in June 2012, rectifies part of this injustice.


 The new Copyright Act entered in force on November 7, 2012.

Given that the legislation is subject to certain exceptions, and that it is quite complex to enforce, CAPIC still recommends that its members continue to use standard agreements and other tools made available to them to protect their copyrights.


The Canadian Copyright Act was amended on November 7, 2012.
In Canada, copyrights are protected by the Copyright Act, c. C-42. Since November 7, 2012, the Canadian Act finally grants ownership of the copyright to professional freelance photographers for work created in the course of their employment.


The Copyright Act was amended in the spring of 2012, under Bill C-11, rectifying the injustice that prevailed hitherto, while the copyright of photographs that were ordered belonged to the client by default.


Canadian photographers are now, by default, the first owners of the copyright of the images they produce, as are illustrators, musicians, painters and writers with their respective work. This applies to both photographs commissioned and paid by a client, and to photographs taken for non-commercial purposes.


Therefore, photographers no longer have to sign an agreement with their client stating that they are the first owner of the copyright; the Act now guarantees ownership by default.


However, it is still recommended to draft a contract that will outline the various business terms, such as image use, licenses sold, and terms of payment. For information purposes, it is always useful to specify in the contract that the photographer is the first owner of the copyright of the images produced.