Copyright Act

The photographer is the owner of every photo that they have taken. Even if 2 people take an identical photograph, each photographer will own their own photograph. This includes popular tourist attractions which have their pictures taken several thousand times per day, the photographs may not be terribly unique, but each photo taken is still the property of it’s photographer. The term of the copyright is from the time the photo was taken until the remainder of the year you die, plus 50 years.

Copyright Act:
13.(1) Subject to this Act, the author of a work shall be the first owner of the copyright therein.

6. The term for which copyright shall subsist shall, except as otherwise expressly provided by this Act, be the life of the author, the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies, and a period of fifty years following the end of that calendar year.

If you are employed, contracted, or are on an apprenticeship, and the photos were taken as part of the job, you still own the photos, unless, as part of the contract, you signed over the ownership. It is possible to grant a license or rights to the photos instead of full ownership.

Copyright Act, 13.
(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.

(4) The owner of the copyright in any work may assign the right, either wholly or partially, and either generally or subject to limitations relating to territory, medium or sector of the market or other limitations relating to the scope of the assignment, and either for the whole term of the copyright or for any other part thereof, and may grant any interest in the right by licence, but no assignment or grant is valid unless it is in writing signed by the owner of the right in respect of which the assignment or grant is made, or by the owner’s duly authorized agent.

Photography of Buildings and Public Art

It is not against copyright law to take a photo of any architectural work, for example, a building, or a permanent piece of public art.

Copyright Act, 32.2. (1):
It is not an infringement of copyright
(b) for any person to reproduce, in a painting, drawing, engraving, photograph or cinematographic work
(i) an architectural work, provided the copy is not in the nature of an architectural drawing or plan, or
(ii) a sculpture or work of artistic craftsmanship or a cast or model of a sculpture or work of artistic craftsmanship, that is permanently situated in a public place or building;


  • Copyright Act
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I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. For more information, see the Disclaimer.