University Community

Learn how the process works, from disclosure to product!

Do I need to register my copyright?

No. Your work is automatically protected by copyright from the moment it is created.  You do not have to register the copyright, though registration does have some benefits in the event of copyright infringement.  For more information about copyright registration, visit the website of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.

Should I use the copyright symbol ©?

It's not necessary, but marking your work with some sort of copyright notice can be beneficial.  You work is automatically protected by copyright, even if you do not use the copyright symbol.  However, using the copyright symbol is a useful way to let others know that you are asserting copyright in the work and that they should contact you if they wish to use it.  A standard form of notice is ‘Copyright © 2006, University of Guelph. All rights reserved’.

What if someone requests a copy of my work?

How you respond to a request for a copy of your work or to use your work depends on the nature of the request and what your interests are.  You have many options.  You could provide your work for free, or for a fee, subject to certain conditions, or you could refuse to provide your work altogether. Before you do so, you should always consider any other people or organizations that may have an interest in the work, such as joint authors, the University, an external granting body or a publisher.


If you do decide to allow others to use your work, the most important thing is to make clear any limits or conditions on that use and to avoid any liability for what you are providing.  This can be done through a short licence agreement.  For example, you may specify that the user may only use it for educational purposes, or you may prohibit any modification of the work.  In all circumstances, you should make it clear that you are providing the work ‘as is’, without any guarantee that it will suit the user’s purposes. For further assistance in this regard, contact the Catalyst Centre.

Can the University provide me with a template licence?

It will depend on the material you wish to license. Where the copyrighted material is owned by the University or jointly owned, the Catalyst Centre can help draft and negotiate licences as the University has an interest in the work. Where a copyrighted work is developed as part of an educational program, creative endeavour or researched at or administered by the University, the Catalyst Centre can assist in determining who would have an ownership interest, based on factors such as the terms of University grants, contracts, or policies.


If it is determined that the copyright is owned by you or a group external to the University, the interest is considered personal property, and the University cannot offer any legal or commercial advice, but can provide general information. To find out what the University can do for you, contact the Catalyst Centre or, for a general idea of what a sample licence looks like, visit websites such as or


If you want to continue to improve or develop work that is considered personal property, please contact Human Resources for guidance on the circumstances in which this is possible and what reporting is expected. To consult with the University on a particular situation, contact the Catalyst Centre.

What if someone wants to use my text or images in a publication?

The first thing you should do is assess whether you have the rights to the text or images in question. If the work was created solely by you, with no input or assistance from anyone else, and it does not incorporate anyone else’s material, you may consent to the use, either for free or for a fee, provided you have not assigned the rights to someone else. For example, if you have submitted an article for publication, the journal publisher will generally own the copyright in that article, so you no longer have authority to consent to its use. In that case, you should refer the request to the publisher.


Similarly, if the work was created jointly with another person or incorporates another person’s work, you will also need the consent of the other contributor(s) before you can agree to use of the work

What should I consider if asked to sign a publishing agreement?

Most publishers will ask you to assign to them all copyright in your work in return for publication.  However, where you intend to use the work in the future (e.g., as the basis for a subsequent work), you should try to make sure whatever agreement you sign reflects your needs, as an outright assignment of your rights may limit your ability to use the work in the future. You may wish to consider retaining the copyright and only granting the publisher the right of first publication. Alternatively, if you have to assign the copyright, you should consider reserving the right to use, reproduce and distribute the work for educational purposes, and to modify, update or create derivate works from the work. Many websites provide information and tips for authors when publishing, and can be useful reference tools, such as MIT Library’s Scholarly Communication page or Science Common’s Copyright Project.

Do I own the copyright in my work at Guelph?

At U of G, the ownership of IP, including copyright, resides with the inventor/creator, with some exceptions based primarily on conditions attached to funding. Copyright ownership ultimately depend on the facts in each situation. Contact the Catalyst Centre for more information.