Copyright protects the tangible form (or “expression”) of an idea, but not the idea itself: 


“Were the law otherwise, everybody who made a rabbit pie in accordance with the recipe of Mrs Beeton’s cookery book would infringe the literary copyright in that book”: Cuisenaire v. South West Imports Limited [1969] S.C.R. 208 (Supreme Court of Canada).”

While the idea does not need to be new, the expression or “work” (e.g. a drawing, a photograph or an article or other literary work) must be “original” to be protected.

Copyright owners have an exclusive right to the use and distribution of their original works. The right is automatic upon creation of the work and lasts the life of the author plus 70 years, making copyright a very valuable form of protection.



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