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International Copyright

Americas

The United States of America

The U.S. copyright law is governed by the Copyright Act of 1976. The law grants copyright protection in original works of authorship which comes into existence once the work is fixed in a tangible medium of expression. That is, copyright exists upon “putting pen to paper” and creating an original work.

Similar to India, the copyright can gain protection with or without protection. The copyright can be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Although registration is not a precondition to owning and maintaining a copyright, registration of copyright comes with a few added benefits. If copyright is registered, the copyright holder can file an infringement lawsuit in federal court. Also, if the author registers the copyright either before publication of the work or within three months after first publication of the work, then the author can seek additional remedies in the infringement lawsuit— namely, an award of attorneys’ fees and an award of “statutory” damages instead of actual damages.

Unlike India, in the US there is no requirement to place a copyright notice on the work by the author. However the putting of a copyright notice on the work is a good practice and is advised even if the work is not registered.

Canada

Copyright protection is automatic in Canada once a work is fixed in a tangible form. Berne requires this automatic protection in all member countries hence, Canada does not require registration of a work in order to obtain copyright protection. However, there are advantages for creators and content owners to register their works when it comes to enforcing their rights.

Further, Canadian Citizens may also register their works with the U.S. Copyright Office by submitting a copy of their work, which can act as evidence in a copyright infringement suit. Although, in Canada, the registration procedure can be enabled only through the submission of an application, however, the submission or deposit of the original work isn’t a part of the application and neither is it accepted by the Canadian Copyright Office for the purpose of registration.

Canada like India and unlike the United States, have fair dealing provisions, which deals with the application of law on the basis of the circumstances and if the circumstances qualify for a leeway in the eyes of law. This provision can only be invoked if a certain sets of principles are fulfilled by the circumstances.