Canadian photographers will now own copyrights to all their commissioned works

Canadian photographers can now rejoice and share some of the same rights enjoyed by their Southern neighbors. As of November 7, 2012, the Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-11) gives photographers the same rights as other creators.

Canadian photographers can now rejoice and share some of the same rights enjoyed by their Southern neighbors. As of November 7, 2012, the Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-11) gives photographers the same rights as other creators. Prior to this change, photographers were not the first copyright holder for works commissioned and paid for by another party unless a contract assigned those right back to the photographer explicitly. This exception made Canada different from how copyright is handled in the United States and other countries who abide by the Berne Convention.

In an email just sent out to member photographers, Canadian Association of Professional Image Creators (CAPIC) copyright head André Cornellier writes,

The principle of protecting photographers’ ownership rights started 65 years ago by Henri Cartier-Bresson, who founded Magnum with Robert Capa and David Seymour. Magnum assured that a photographer’s image belonged to the photographer and not to the commissioner of the work.

In Canada, all other artists have already owned the copyrights to their work and thanks to this new law, Canadian photographers, albeit the last in the industrialized world, now have all legal rights to their images.

There are other changes not directly related to photography. Some of them are highlighted here.