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Managing copyright may initially seem complex. In fact, the creation of SODRAC and other organizations responsible for managing reproduction or public performance rights for musical and artistic works in Canada stems from the Copyright Act.

Management organizations have been created over the years to represent creators, publishers, producers, artists and performers by issuing licenses authorizing the use of their works and to collect on their behalf the royalties to which they are legally entitled.

Moral rights

The Copyright Act enables authors/composers to receive recognition as the creators of their works, whether under their real name, a pseudonym or, if they prefer, anonymously. Authors/composers may also take steps to protect their integrity or reputation by preventing their works from: 1) being associated with particular causes, products, services or institutions or 2) by insisting that their songs not be modified or distorted. These are known as the author’s “moral rights”.

As the primary owners, creators of musical or other works may transfer the economic use of these works to third parties (e.g., to another individual or company). However, creators may not transfer their moral rights, although they may choose not to exercise them.

Legal remedies

It should be noted that the Copyright Act sets out various legal remedies, including severe penalties for anyone who violates authors’ or composers’ legal rights. If you have any doubts concerning the legality of reproducing a work or concerning the related requirements, please contact us.

The website of the Copyright Board of Canada is a very useful source of copyright information. It includes the full text of the Copyright Act, together with a list of Canadian copyright management organizations, proposed and approved tariffs and Board decisions.

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