Intellectual property and copyright

Consult resources developed to provide cultural heritage organizations with guidance on intellectual property and copyright matters. Subjects include licensing strategies, digital rights management, and the development of intellectual property policies.

Title Source
A Canadian Museum's Guide to Developing a Digital Licensing Agreement Strategy Archived

This resource addresses the important questions museums face in developing a licensing strategy for digital content. What fees should museums collect for the use of their slides on an organization's website? Does every museum need a digital licensing policy? What special concerns do Canadian museums face in licensing digital content worldwide?

Canadian Heritage Information Network
A Guide to Copyright

This guide explores what copyright is, the registration process and the benefits of registration. It is not intended as a complete text on Canadian law regarding copyright or a substitute for advice from a legal professional knowledgeable in the area of intellectual property. (Description taken from the website)

A Museum Guide to Digital Rights Management Archived

A Museum Guide to Digital Rights Management focuses on the technical underpinnings and strategic decisions involved in practicing rights management with the tools now available. The first section covers the history of rights management through various technical means, from the rise of computerization, through to the early collections management systems, digital asset management systems and end-to-end rights management systems. The second section reviews current practice in rights management in museums, gathered from a survey of Canadian museums and interviews with leading museums and practitioners in Canada, the US and the UK. The section is organized around the rights management workflow, from assessing the Intellectual Property (IP) that the museum owns or needs to acquire permission to use, through recording and tracking the status of those IP rights, to licensing IP to third parties and recording and tracking those licenses. Each section is followed by extrapolated recommendations.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Canadian Artists' Representation (CARFAC)

CARFAC (Canadian Artists' Representation/le Front des artistes canadiens) is incorporated federally as a non-profit corporation that is the national voice of Canada's visual artists. Its objectives are to promote a socio-economic climate that is conducive to the production of visual arts in Canada, to promote the visual arts in Canada, and to conduct research and to engage in public education for these purposes. (Description taken from the website)

Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO)

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), a Special Operating Agency (SOA) associated with Industry Canada, is responsible for the administration and processing of the greater part of intellectual property in Canada. (Description taken from the website)

Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42)

Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42) available in HTML, XML, and PDF format on the Justice Canada Web site.

Copyright Board of Canada

The Copyright Board of Canada is an economic regulatory body empowered to establish, either mandatorily or at the request of an interested party, the royalties to be paid for the use of copyrighted works, when the administration of such copyright is entrusted to a collective-administration society. (Description taken from the website)

Copyright Matters! (3rd edition)

This booklet gives teachers user-friendly information about copyright law and copyright collectives and how they relate to the use of resources in the classroom. (Description taken from the website)

Copyright Policy Branch, Canadian Heritage

The Copyright Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage is responsible, through its policy-making activities, for ensuring that Canada's copyright policy framework, a cornerstone of cultural policy, supports creativity, innovation and access to cultural works.

Canadian Heritage
Developing Intellectual Property Policies - A How-to Guide for Museums Archived

This guide offers museums critical information about developing intellectual property (IP) policies. The reader is offered information on many levels, including a comprehensive explanation of intellectual property. What is it? What kinds of IP reside in museums? What kinds of IP do museums use? This resource also delves into the many factors that affect how museums should develop their policies: the type and size of a museum; the museum's activities; and its ethical standards. Clearly, no one IP policy can work for all museums. Therefore, museums should develop policies around their own unique needs, situations and values. Developing Intellectual Property Policies shows you how.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge, and Folklore

Traditional knowledge (TK) is a living body of knowledge passed on from generation to generation within a community. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) provides a global policy forum, where governments, intergovernmental organizations, industry groups and civil society come together to address evolving intellectual property (IP) issues. (Description taken from the website)

Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage

The Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage (IPinCH) project is a seven-year international research initiative based at Simon Fraser University, in British Columbia, Canada. Our work explores the rights, values, and responsibilities of material culture, cultural knowledge and the practice of heritage research. (Description taken from the website)

Interoperability of Data for Electronic Commerce Systems (INDECS)

The Interoperability of Data for Electronic Commerce Systems (INDECS) framework was created by many organizations involved in the creation and management of digital content, for the purpose of supporting electronic commerce and the management of intellectual property rights. This model can be used to describe and identify intellectual property, the parties involved in the exchange of intellectual property, and the agreements between them.


MPEG-21 is a multimedia framework, developed by the Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG), is designed to "enable transparent and augmented use of multimedia resources across a wide range of networks and devices used by different communities". It has a similar function to METS, in that it provides a framework for structuring sets of metadata and files representing complex digital resources (in particular, audio and video files). MPEG-21 includes a Rights Expression Language and a structure for a data dictionary. It allows the integration of the processes required to generate, manipulate, use, manage, and deliver multimedia files. MPEG-21 includes elements to support identification and description of digital resources, handling and usage of content, intellectual property management and protection, etc. It is intended to be machine-actionable (able to be used with hardware and software that will enforce licence provisions).

Museums and Copyright (WIPO)

Access the 2007 World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) Guide on Managing Intellectual Property for Museums.

Nailing Down Bits: Digital Art and Intellectual Property Archived

This easy-to-understand resource about digital art and intellectual property is part of a larger series of papers commissioned by CHIN about IP issues. It takes a snapshot of how the heritage community has responded to intellectual property laws regarding digital art. It then makes recommendations about actions and practices that artists, collectors, museums, educators, funders, art centres, festivals and digital art communities can adopt to deal with complex copyright issues. Readable Source of Advice about IP: Interestingly, the paper does not examine the heritage community's response through difficult theories and abstract philosophies. Instead, it is a practical piece; it focuses on museums' daily activities and uses case studies as examples. Signpost to User-friendly Sources: The author has made an effort to open the conversation about digital art and intellectual property to the whole heritage community. Therefore, the sources they cite tend to be community websites, weblogs, and email discussions rather than books. The purpose here is to offer useful, readable information for heritage professionals who deal with digital issues and IP on a regular basis.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Picture Licensing Universal System (PLUS)

The Picture Licensing Universal System (PLUS)—a cooperative, multi-industry initiative — provides a system that clearly defines and categorizes image usage around the world, from granting and acquiring licenses to tracking and managing them well into the future. Through standardized language, a machine-readable coding architecture and a global Registry, image licenses become more transparent, more fair, and much simpler for everyone. (Description taken from the website)

Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec

The Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec's (RAAV) primary mission is to work towards improving the living conditions and professional practice of Quebec's visual artists. If you are a painter, sculptor, printmaker, art photographer, illustrator—in other words, a visual artist in Quebec—the RAAV is your professional association. (Description translated from the website) Available in French only.

Society for Reproduction Rights for Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada (SODRAC)

The Society for Reproduction Rights for Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada (SODRAC) is a collective management society within the meaning of the Copyright Act. It grants licences for all reproductions of musical and artworks. SODRAC represents authors, composers, music publishers and creators and co-creators of artistic works. Our society also represents heirs of rights, titles and interests in a work following an author's death. (Description taken from the website)


Contact information for this web page

This resource was published by the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN). For comments or questions regarding this content, please contact CHIN directly. To find other online resources for museum professionals, visit the CHIN homepage or the Museology and conservation topic page on

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