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Who owns copyright in a work?

Usually, the creator of a work (e.g., one who writes a book, magazine or newspaper article, play, poem, song lyrics or other writings, takes a photograph or makes a film, draws a map, or creates a painting, drawing, or sketch) is the first owner of the copyright in that work. However, ownership of copyright may be transferred in some cases, for example to a publisher. Copyright also applies to other subject matter, including sound recordings, performances and communication signals. Owning a copy of a work (e.g. a DVD or a book) does not mean that you own copyright in that work. Additionally, if material was created in the course of employment - unless there is an agreement to the contrary - the employer owns the copyright. Similarly, if a work has been commissioned the copyright will belong to the person or entity that commissioned the work.

There are exceptions built into the Copyright Act which balance the copyright owner's interests with the public interest in allowing use of works for purposes like research and education, such as fair dealing.