Composers Canada Website for Songwriters and Info about Composers
Copyright Canada protection

Protect your Creativity Get copyright protection!

Technically you have copyright protection the moment the work is created, but registration helps you prove that to others.

See the appropriate industry website for all of the legalities. Text provided here for informational purposes only, consult with your own attorney for legal advice.

You can copyright music, lyrics, a poem, a painting, a complete musical score, a performer's performance and a computer program in Canada.

For performing arts royalties and information, contact SOCAN in Canada.


Canadian Copyright Registration

Initial Registration in Canada is $65. It is not necessary to officially register your songs in order to insure copyright protection under Canadian law, but having a work registered will assist if one ever needs to prove when the work was created. For more information and forms see the Industry Canada website. (If you leave our site here, thanks for visiting Check back regularly for updated information, seminars, and developments in the songwriting industy.)


When placing any works on the internet, include the copyright notice
ex. © Your Name 2013
with all of your works to give notice of your copyright claim.

The Canadian Copyright Act defines a musical work as any work of music or musical composition with or without words and includes compilations thereof. Lyrics without music are protected by copyright as a literary work.canadian copyright notes

Get copyright in Canada

To put it simply, a copyright is necessary to protect our interest in our intellectual property such as our song compositions, lyrics, poems or other work.

The Copyright Act prohibits others from copying your work without your permission. You can purchase a copy of the Act and Regulations here or in any federal government bookstore. In Canada, you do not have to register your copyright to benefit from the protection provided under the Act, but when you register your work(s), you receive a certificate from the Copyright Office which can help you if your work is used unlawfully.

A copyright, which automatically exists upon creation of a work in Canada, consists of several different rights.
According to the Canadian Copyright Act a songwriter has the following rights:

  • 1. The right to produce or copy a musical work (like sheet music).
  • 2. The right to reproduce the musical work, including mechanical rights (like cd, cassette and other digital audio reproductions) and synchronization rights (like music in films, videos, and multimedia productions etc.)
  • 3. The performing rights, which are the rights to perform a work in public (like a live concert, a recording or any other type of public performance) and the right to broadcast to the public.. (SOCAN, The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada administers performing rights in Canada). Note that in the U.S. performance rights organisations such as BMI and ASCAP may be consulted.

The performing right gives copyright owners of musical works (composers, songwriters, lyricists) the sole right to perform in public or communicate by telecommunication (broadcast on television or radio) their works. Only they can assign their performing rights to authorize others to do so; in return for payment, SOCAN administers these performing rights in musical works on behalf of its members. Purchasing a CD or other recording only gives one the right to listen to it in private. Playing a CD for public use is subject to copyright law and hence subject to SOCAN licensing.

In Canada, it is not theoretically necessary to affix a notice of copyright to your work, but, you must mark your work with a small "©", the name of the copyright owner, and the year of first publication to be protected in some other countries. Even though it is not always required, copyright marking is useful because it reminds everyone that the work is protected by copyright.

The Copywrite in Canada is valid in many other countries as well, as long as the country belongs to one or more of the international copyright treaties, conventions or organizations. These include the Berne Copyright Convention, the Universal Copyright Convention, the Rome Convention, and the World Trade Organization (WTO).