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You do not need to apply for copyright for the works you create. Whenever you create an original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, copyright automatically applies.
Copyright ensures that you have the sole right to publish and reproduce your works in any form, with the exception of the user rights granted by the Copyright Act (e.g. fair dealing, educational exemption).
For a brief overview of what copyright is and how it works, please view the video below from the Government of Canada.
A license allows someone else to use your work based on conditions, and for purposes, that you have approved. You will still retain ownership if you provide someone a license to use your work.
When you publish a work with a publisher you will most likely sign an author agreement, which will dictate whether you retain or give up the copyright of your works. For resources on what to consider when choosing a journal or publisher to work with, please see RDC's Research Common website.
Creative Commons Licenses:
If you would like to make your works more openly available than copyright generally allows, you can attach a Creative Commons license to your work to indicate the ways anyone can use your works without requiring permission. For a short overview of what a Creative Commons license does, please see the video below.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License