Effective November 7th, 2012, Canada made sweeping changes via their Copyright Modernization Act. There are many changes, but the major one for photographers is that now photographers own their own copyright rather than the commissioning party. Previously, if you hired a photographer, you owned the copyright and photographers had to transfer the copyright to themselves through paperwork.  Arrrg.

But now Canadian law mirrors copyright law in the US regarding a photographer’s right to their copyright. You shoot it, you own it.

They also expanded and defined more fair uses of copyright. As explained by the Canadian government:

“…clarify Internet service providers’ liability and make the enabling of online copyright infringement itself an infringement of copyright; permit businesses, educators and libraries to make greater use of copyright material in digital form; allow educators and students to make greater use of copyright material; permit certain uses of copyright material by consumers; give photographers the same rights as other creators; ensure that the Copyright Act remains technologically neutral; and mandate a parliamentary review of the Copyright Act every five years.”

It’s also interesting to read the Canadian Government’s stated objective with these changes:

Recognizing the critical role a modern copyright regime plays in Canada’s digital economy, the Act balances the needs of creators and users and ensures that Canada’s copyright laws are modern, flexible, and in line with current international standards.”

We find it very relevant in their objective statement that they use the words “critical role” in describing the importance of copyright in the new digital economy. Lesson for all our readers – register all your images, make sure all your paperwork is in order, always use a proper contract. While so many, including the Canadian Government, see the value of intellectual property and copyright, it’s time for the majority of photographers to abandon a mostly casual attitude to their own work.  If you’re in the minority that does register all your photos and have proper paperwork, bravo. If not, start today.

So our hats off to our neighbors in the Great White North for changing the law in their photographer’s favor. Just beautiful, eh?