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Using a Copyright symbol: ©

Region: Ontario Answer # 317

The Copyright Act does not require that any symbols be used to indicate that works are subject to copyright. However, if you are going to distribute your work to the public, you should use the copyright symbol to let others know that the work is protected.

If you do not mark your work as copyrighted using this symbol, and later sue someone for copyright infringement, you will likely be awarded lesser damages. The person who infringes your copyright can argue that they have only done so because they were not aware and had no reasonable grounds to believe that the work was copyrighted. This is known as the “innocent infringement” defence.

The copyright symbol

The copyright symbol consists of a letter “c” in a circle, followed by the name of the owner of the copyright and the year the work was first published. For example, the copyright symbol, followed by Jane Doe, comma, 1999 – which reads as © Jane Doe, 1999 – indicates that Jane Doe is the author of the work that was first published in 1999. You can use the copyright symbol even if you have not registered your copyright.

Copyright symbols in other countries

Other countries have different requirements. If you want copyright protection in countries which require copyright registration, it is advisable that you use the copyright symbol. The United States is one of those countries which has requirements for registration and marking that Canada does not. For more information, refer to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.

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