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Crown copyright protects literary, artistic, dramatic, and musical works as well as sound recordings, performances by performers, and communication signals that have been created under the direction and control of the Government of Canada.
Section 12 of the Copyright Act[http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-42/index.html] is the legal instrument governing Crown copyright. It states:
12. Without prejudice to any rights or privileges of the Crown, where any work is, or has been, prepared or published by or under the direction or control of Her Majesty or any government department, the copyright in the work shall, subject to any agreement with the author, belong to Her Majesty and in that case shall continue for the remainder of the calendar year of the first publication of the work and for a period of fifty years following the end of that calendar year. [S.C. 1993, c. 44, s. 60(1)]
Permission to reproduce Government of Canada works, in part or in whole, and by any means, for personal or public non-commercial purposes, or for cost-recovery purposes, is not required, unless otherwise specified in the material you wish to reproduce.
A reproduction means making a copy of information in the manner that it is originally published – the reproduction must remain as is, and must not contain any alterations whatsoever.
The terms personal and public non-commercial purposes mean a distribution of the reproduced information either for your own purposes only, or for a distribution at large whereby no fees whatsoever will be charged.
The term cost-recovery means charging a fee for the purpose of recovering printing costs and other costs associated with the production of the reproduction.
You must comply with the specific non-commercial reproduction requirements set forth hereunder.
Permission is always required when the work is being revised, adapted, or translated regardless if the purpose of the reproduction is for personal or public non-commercial distribution, or for cost-recovery purposes.
Permission is always required when the work being reproduced will be distributed for commercial purposes.
The terms, non-exclusive, sole, and exclusive define the types of licenses that are typically granted in Canada. They are described in more detail below.
The term non-exclusive means that there is no limit to the number of licenses that can be granted. A non-exclusive license is the most common type of license issued by the Government of Canada in licensing works protected under Crown copyright.
When a Government of Canada work is licensed on a non-exclusive basis it means that the Crown reserves the copyright and grants rights to the licensee for a specific purpose, duration and territory.
With a sole license the Government of Canada reserves its rights to make use of and copy its own work, but agrees not to license any other person than the sole licensee.
The last type of license is an exclusive license. This means that the person receiving the permission/license will be the only one with the rights to use the work. This even prevents the person who grants the permission from reproducing his own work. This is seen as a disguised assignment, abandonment or sale of copyright.
For Government of Canada works the term exclusive may be used as long as it does not qualify the entire license agreement, and as long as the author department is aware that it is also preventing itself from using the work in areas where it has granted exclusivity, for example, a language, territory, duration, medium, or a combination of these. Exclusive licenses for the purpose of licensing out Crown copyrighted works are rarely granted by the Government of Canada.