Crown copyright protected works managed by National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces
National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) hold copyright protected Works. Follow the instructions below for permission to use them. This page is meant for general guidance only. It should not be considered a legal document.
Crown copyright protects the following works created under the direction and control of the Government of Canada for 50 years from first publication:
- artistic works
- literary works
- musical works
- dramatic works
- sound recordings
- performances by performers
For the legal text, read the Copyright Act, section 12
In the context of the DND and CAF, this includes, for example, photographs and videos at Combat Camera and text and images on this website.
These definitions that follow will help you understand the rest of the page:
Personal or public non-commercial use: means to reproduce a Crown copyright protected Work held by DND/CAF for your own use or for display to the public that does not generate revenue.
Even if your business does not charge a fee for the reproduction, if it is used in conjunction with a commercial enterprise it would be considered “commercial use”.
Cost-recovery: means to charge a fee to recover printing and other costs of reproducing the work.
For example, a not-for-profit organization charging a fee to recover printing costs would be “cost-recovery”. In contrast, a commercial enterprise charging a fee to recover costs would be considered “commercial use”.
Commercial use: means use of the Crown copyright protected Work held by DND/CAF in any way to generate revenue.
For example, the Crown copyright protected Work held by DND/CAF may be:
- reproduced and sold separately
- incorporated into a product or service
- used in advertising a product or service
Reproduction: means making a copy of the Crown copyright protected Work held by DND/CAF in the manner that it is originally published. The reproduction must remain as is, and must not be altered in any way.
Gross annual revenue: means the total invoice value of sales of products or services incorporating one or more Crown copyright protected Work(s) held by DND/CAF in a twelve (12) month period. Calculate this value before deducting:
- customer discounts
Moral rights: means the right of paternity, which includes:
- the right to claim authorship
- the right to use a pseudonym
- the right to remain anonymous
- the right of integrity, which includes the right to prevent changes prejudicial to the honour or reputation of the author, such as:
- other modifications to the work
- the right of association, which includes the right to prevent the use of a work in association with a:
When you need permission
There are two times when you always need permission to reproduce a Crown copyright protected Work held by DND/CAF.
You always need permission when the Work is being:
You always need permission when the reproduction will be used commercially and the anticipated gross annual revenue generated from the use of the copyright protected work(s) exceeds $10,000*. In such cases, a formal consent or royalty-bearing license may be required.
(*Note: If the work is used in advertising, revenue generated by the product or service associated with the advertising counts towards the $10,000 annual threshold).
When you do not need permission
This applies to all works, unless otherwise specified in the material you wish to reproduce. Please also refer to the list of exemptions below that always need permission. You do not need permission to reproduce Crown copyright protected Work held by DND/CAF, in part or in whole, by any means, if you meet all of these criteria:
- the reproduction is used in a lawful manner (for example, complying with section 291 of the National Defence Act)
- the reproduction is used in accordance with Defence Administrative Order and Directive 7021-1 (see section 3.2 regarding “Preferential Treatment”)
- the reproduction is used for personal or public non-commercial use or for cost-recovery use
For example, DND policy prohibits endorsing or appearing to endorse any person, organization or entity outside of government. The use of Crown copyright protected Work held by DND/CAF in association with any such endorsement is prohibited. The reproduction of a Crown copyright protected Work held by DND/CAF is also prohibited where the use of the reproduction would be:
- in an undignified context
- considered unfair, misleading or inaccurate
- used in a context that may prejudice or harm a third party
- considered inappropriate by the author department or agency
Important for non-commercial reproduction:
You must comply with the following specific non-commercial reproduction requirements:
- exercise due diligence to ensure the accuracy of the Work reproduced
- show both the complete title of the Work reproduced and the author organization
- state that the reproduction is a copy of an official Work that is published by DND/CAF
- Make clear that the reproduction has not been produced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of, DND/CAF
Important for commercial reproduction:
The terms above for non-commercial reproduction also apply to commercial usage. When the anticipated gross annual revenue is under $10,000, you are granted permission to commercially benefit from the Crown copyright protected Work held by DND/CAF. This permission is:
- is royalty-free
- Canada wide
- subject to the following terms:
- No right, title or interest in the copyright protected Work will accrue to you
- The Work is provided "as is", and DND/CAF excludes all representations, warranties, obligations and liabilities in relation to the Work to the maximum extent permitted by law
- DND/CAF is not liable for any errors or omissions in the Work, and shall not be liable for any loss, injury or damage of any kind caused by its use
- You agree to indemnify (i.e. reimburse) DND/CAF and hold DND/CAF harmless against and from any and all claims by third parties for damages or injuries of any nature whatsoever, including, but not limited to, claims arising in connection with your commercial use of the Work
- You agree to credit the source of the Work in the following manner:
© All rights reserved. (Title of Crown copyright protected work) reproduced with the permission of DND/CAF (year permission granted)
The permission described above does not grant any right to use:
- Canadian Armed Forces badges, crests, flags and insignia, as well as the yellow ribbon associated with the “Support Our Troops” program. This intellectual property is protected under the Trade-marks Act. You must apply for a license (See "Licenses and Requests from Media" section below)
- Personal data in a Crown copyright protected Work held by DND/CAF
- Third party rights (i.e. rights not owned by the Crown) associated with a Crown copyright protected Work held by DND/CAF
- A Crown copyright protected Work held by DND/CAF subject to other intellectual property rights including, but not limited to, patents, trade-mark or industrial design rights (e.g. the CAF camouflage pattern CADPAT®)
DND/CAF retains the right to revoke this permission at its sole discretion.
Licenses and requests from media
This section applies to you if you are an individual or a representative of a company and you are either:
- revising, adapting, modifying or translating a Crown copyright protected Work held by DND/CAF
- using the Work in a commercial nature and exceeding the $10,000 annual threshold
If you meet either of these two criteria, you must apply for a license by completing the on-line form. The DND Intellectual Property Manager will determine if a license will be granted. The department has a policy of fairness and non-discriminatory licensing practices. Therefore, it typically grants a non-exclusive license at a 5% royalty rate on standard terms.
Requests from media:
Section 29.2 of the Copyright Act states that fair dealing for the purpose of news reporting does not infringe copyright if the source is mentioned.
If you need clarification or assistance using a Crown copyright protected work held by the DND/CAF, please contact the Media Relations Office.
Moral rights apply whether personal or public non-commercial use or commercial use is involved. If your proposed use of the Crown copyright protected Work held by DND/CAF might potentially violate the moral rights of the author, then you must get a waiver from the author.
(NOTE: Any implicit permission granted on this page does not include a waiver of moral rights).
Privacy and personality rights
Many Crown copyright protected Works held by DND/CAF depict identifiable CAF members or civilians who may not want their image to be used outside the department. In accordance with the Privacy Act, you need a release from the identifiable person(s) before using their image publicly, whether for commercial on non-commercial use. In addition, unauthorized use of a person’s image could result in a lawsuit by the identifiable person for appropriation of personality.
For questions related to the commercial or non-commercial use of copyright protected works managed by DND, please contact us.
Permission flow chart
Text version of Permission flow chart
Determine if the requested material is subject to an exemption, for example:
- Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) badges, crests, flags or insignia
- personal data
- third party intellectual property
- Works that may be subject to other intellectual property rights (patents, trade-marks, industrial design, etc.)
If the answer to step 1 is “yes”, then reproduction is not permitted. You must apply for a license.
If the answer to step 1 is “no”, then determine if any copyrights remain in the Work. (Note: The term of a Crown copyright protected Work is the remaining portion of the year in which it is first published, plus 50 years.)
If the answer to step 3 is “no”, then the Work is in the public domain, so you do not need permission from the DND/CAF to use it.
If the answer to step 3 is “yes”, determine if your anticipated use is commercial. It is commercial if its use is tied to revenue generation. Even if your business does not charge a fee for the reproduction of the Work, if it is used in conjunction with a commercial enterprise, it would be considered commercial use. The use is not commercial if you intend to use the Work yourself or for display to the public for a purpose not tied to revenue generation.
If the answer to step 5 is “no”, you may reproduce the Work without express permission from DND/CAF.
If the answer to step 5 is “yes”, determine if the sale of the reproduction or the product / service which incorporates the Work will generate less than $10,000 in gross annual revenue. (Note: If the Work is used in advertising, you must count the revenue generated by the sale of products / services associated with the advertising.)
If the answer to step 7 is “no”, then you must apply for a license.
If the answer to step 7 is “yes”, then reproduction of the Work is permitted, subject to the terms outlined above.
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