Canadian Copyright Law

Copyright is something bloggers struggle with constantly.  People take our words, our photos, our recipes without so much as a "how'd ya do?", never a mind a "may I?".  What parts of our work are protected and what parts aren't?  What's our recourse if something gets used without permission?

And what about us bloggers?  Many of us are, unwittingly, equally guilty.  How many of us know the difference between a creative commons license and a copyright notice?  And let's be honest - have you paid for every copyright protected movie, song or book you've got sitting on your hard drive?

The truth is, sometimes it feels like trying to navigate a minefield and it's easy to take a wrong turn.  To make it even more confusing, Canadian copyright law is not the same as the copyright law our neighbours south of the border have to work with.

As somebody who designs, photographs and writes for a living, copyright is hugely important to me.  And confusing.  Enter Canadian Copyright Law by Lesley Ellen Harris.  This is the fourth edition of the book, updated most recently after major changes to Canada's copyright legislation in 2012.  It has, simply, become an invaluable resource guide to me as somebody who produces copyright protected material and who consumes copyright protected material in their line of work.

The book isn't one you need to read cover to cover but I do recommend you read the first three chapters to get a feel for  just how fluid the law can be and how it works (it's open to interpretation and it's not cut and dried - very important to understand!).

Lesley covers a lot of ground, including Canadian and International protection (by having a work copyright protected in Canada, it's automatically covered in 166 other countries!),  who owns copyright, what rights are protected and what the limitations on those rights are (did you know that mashups are allowed under Canadian copyright? I didn't!) and how they can be exploited.  And of course, what your recourse is if your rights are infringed.  There's even a chapter on the basics of American copyright law.

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The book is written in a clear, easy to understand voice with lots of examples to help clarify different scenarios.  Although, sometimes all the examples illustrate just how grey some areas of copyright law can be.  Which makes it even more important to understand what copyright is and how it's applied!

Canadian Copyright Law is an invaluable resource for the Canadian blogger, regardless of blogging genre.  Virtually everything we do as bloggers is related to creating content, whether it's photographs, stories, videos or recipes.  Understanding what your rights are is crucial to protecting your work, yourself and, in many cases your income.  It's equally important to understand when you are potentially infringing on copyright, whether it's re-posting a portion of somebody else's works,  or altering it in some form.  This book will help!

More Copyright Information

If you want more information on Canadian copyright for your blog, be sure to check out Lesley's latest post for us on Understanding Copyright For Your Photographs and her previous post for us on Who Owns Your Blog and Blog Posts.

Enter to Win a Copy of Canadian Copyright Law

Thanks to Wiley Canada, we have three copies of Lesley's book to give away.  All you need to do to enter is leave a comment below letting us know why you'd like to win a copy before 9pm pacific time February 21st.  We'll draw three names at random from the entries.  Good luck!

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It would be so handy and great to have this info on hand, as sometimes you can’t find a clear answer online.


I’ve written a book and am looking for a publisher… in the meantime I want to figure out how to protect my original ideas and photos in the manuscript

Lesley Ellen Harris

The reason I include an entire chapter in the book on U.S. copyright law is to point out both the similarities and differences between U.S. and Canadian copyright law. Not everyone realizes that much of the available information on copyright law focusses on U.S. copyright. For example, the concept of fair use is U.S. – in Canada we have fair dealing.

Sean Neild

I would love a copy of this book as it’s a great resource to have on hand to deal with the next copyright infringement I’ll be dealing with!

Ian Treuer

I would have loved to have this book last month, while dealing with Apple and an App developer who use one of my pictures in their app. Now someone is trying to use my site name in China.

K. Whitehead

I am taking a course right now on information rights, privacy and copyright law. This would be a terrific resource now and for future use.

K Cooper

Copyright is such a tricky, but important subject. This book sounds like a great resource for learning how to successfully navigate respectful content management and sharing.


Being new to the world of food blogging, and investing in a digital SLR, it would be nice to be asked if my pictures can be used someplace else, but reality is probably not. So this would be a handy reference guide to have (so violations don’t occur – both ways). Thanks for the article, and will look for it in the bookstores as well.


Huge interest in reading this! I need some definition to a fuzzy understanding of what is plagiarism in the bloggosphere. If I attribute it to the source and it’s for noncommercial use, is it ok? I dunno the fine points.

Marzia molatore

Hello seriously I would love to win it.My dream is to open a cooking school and of course a nice book with my favorite recipe so I need to learn everything about copyright and law
thank u marzia

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