Understanding Intellectual Property

AuthorLesley Ellen Harris
ProfessionLawyer, author, and educator
Pages1-13
1
CHAPTER 1
Understanding
Intellectual Property
A great literary work can be completely, completely unpredictable. Which can
sometimes make them very hard to read, but it gives them a great originality.
—Yann Martel
What
Is
Copyright?
Literally, copyright means the “right to copy.” The Canadian Copyright
Act grants copyright owners the sole and exclusive right to reproduce,
perform, or publish a work. These rights g ive copyright holders con-
trol over the use of their creations, and an ability to bene t, monetarily
and otherwise, from the exploitation of their works. In addition, moral
rights (which are also in the Copyright Act) protect the reputation of
creators. The rights are subject to speci c limitations as set out in vari-
ous provisions in the Copyright Act.
Copyright law is one area of a larger body of law called intellectual
property,” or IP. The word intellectual is used to distinguish it from
“physical” property. Intellectual property law refers to and protects the
intangible or intellectual nature of an object, whereas physical property
law refers to and protects the tangible or physical aspect of an object.
As an illustration, there is both an intellectual and physical property
component to a book or refrigerator. The physical component of the
book or refrigerator is the object itself, the book that you can hold in
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