For Content Creators

Copyright Ownership

Normally, the author of a work is the first owner of the copyright (Copyright Act, s.13(1)). However, there is an exception in the case of works made in the course of employment. Section 13(3) reads as follows:

s13(3) Where the author of a work was in the employment of some other person under a contract of service or apprenticeship and the work was made in the course of his employment by that person, the person by whom the author was employed shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be the first owner of the copyright, but where the work is an article or other contribution to a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical, there shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be deemed to be reserved to the author a right to restrain the publication of the work, otherwise than as part of a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical. [emphasis added]

The "agreement to the contrary" could be a specific agreement that relates to the particular work, or it could be the terms of a more general employment agreement. At the University of Alberta, the copyright terms that cover members of AASUA (Association of Academic Staff University of Alberta) are incorporated into the collective agreements (see Article 11: Copyright and Patent,  and Appendix B: Copyright Regulations) available on the AASUA website. AASUA's FAQ that relates to the copyright terms (as revised in 2016) is available here.


Publishers' Agreements

The Authors Alliance ( has developed a guide entitled: UNDERSTANDING AND NEGOTIATING BOOK PUBLICATION CONTRACTS (Authors Alliance. October 2018.)

The guide is designed to help authors to:

  • Learn about the basics of copyright law, and how copyright shapes the author-publisher relationship;
  • Evaluate the pros and cons of assigning and/or licensing their copyrights;
  • Understand the responsibilities of authors and publishers in preparing, designing, and marketing a book;
  • Clarify financial matters such as advances, royalties, and accounting statements;
  • Consider options for making their books available to readers in the short and long term;
  • Advocate and negotiate for contract terms that help them meet their creative and pragmatic goals;
  • And much more!

The complete guide is available here.


Student & Staff Guide