CAPIC is the collective voice and advocate for professional photographers, illustrators, and digital artists in Canada. We work hard to maintain industry standards, create a community, fight for copyright protection, and much more. Our work helps all the professionals in our industry, but only members benefit fully. As a professional association, CAPIC’s mission is to promote quality and creativity, as well as good business practices.

CAPIC was founded in 1978 as a national not-for-profit association dedicated to safeguarding and promoting the rights and interests of photographers, illustrators, and recently, digital artists, working in the communications industry. Starting as a single group in Toronto, CAPIC has grown to six chapters, spanning the country from Halifax to Vancouver.

As a member of CAPIC, you will be a part of a strong network of professionals. CAPIC is THE reference for professional image creators in Canada and the business practices that result. Throughout the years, CAPIC has worked hard to improve the recognition of image creators in Canadian Copyright Law and to educate its members, partners, and the public about Artists’ Rights. Thanks to these efforts, Canadians image creators now officially own the copyright to all of their work whether the photograph is commissioned or not.

CAPIC continues its efforts to support image creators through the creation or resources such as fee schedules and business practice surveys which are designed as a necessary reference for any illustrator or photographer getting started in the industry.

A principal requirement of membership is reproduction and distribution of members work. CAPIC members create visual content for the Canadian communications industry and play a key role in defining the Canadian identity and point of view.

History of work with Copyright Law:

In 1992-1993, CAPIC participated in the Department of Communications Consultative Committee advising the government with respect to revisions of the Copyright Act.

In early 1994, CAPIC created a Digital Technology Committee (DTC) to bring together leading stakeholders in the digital revolution. The members of the Committee included representatives from the major hardware, software, and imaging technology companies in addition to the legal, publishing, and design sectors. Finally, the committee included CAPIC members of national reputation in the development of visual communications.

In 1995, CAPIC formalized relations with the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). CAPIC developed “reciprocal membership” to encourage worldwide dialogue on the issues affecting visual communicators today.

In 1996, under the Status of the Artist Act, CAPIC was recognized as the sole bargaining representative for commercial photographers and commercial illustrators working with the federal government and all agencies and crown corporations.

Also in 1996, CAPIC worked with the Professional Photographers of Canada and other industry allies, under the banner of the Canadian Creators Coalition, to seek changes to the Canadian Copyright Act.

In April 1997, the amendments to the Canadian Copyright Act were passed into law by the Parliament of Canada, including two proposed by CAPIC extending the term of copyright in photographs and blocking the transfer of rights to a photograph until the photographer has been paid in full for the work.

In the summer of 1997, CAPIC formally became involved in the creation of a new copyright collective that would license electronic rights for creators. This group was called The Electronic Rights Licensing Agency (TERLA). TERLA was absorbed by CANCOPY, now known as Access Copyright, in 1999.

In September 2001, CAPIC, along with the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC), formed the Canadian Photographers Coalition (CPC) to push the Government of Canada to a final resolution of the Copyright Act as it relates to photographers and commissioned work.

Currently, the Act states that “…where, in the case of an engraving, photograph or portrait, the plate or other original was ordered by some other person and was made for valuable consideration, and the consideration was paid, in pursuance of that order, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, the person by whom the plate or other original was ordered shall be the first owner of the copyright.”

There are also two other issues that the CPC is driving to have changed:

Section 10(2): “…the person who was the owner of the initial negative or other plate at the time when that negative or other plate was made, or was the owner of the initial photograph at the time when that photograph was made, where there was no negative or other plate, is deemed to be the author of the photograph…”.

The term of copyright protection in photographic works needs to be changed to bring Canada’s Copyright Act into compliance with the World Intellectual Property Organization’s copyright guidelines.

In 2004, the Heritage Review Committee recommended to Canada’s Parliament that Canadian photographers be given the right to automatically own the copyright in commissioned works.

On the 20th of June 2005, Bill C-60, an Act to amend the Copyright Act, had its first reading in the First Session of Canada’s 38th Parliament. The Bill died on the Order Paper when Parliament was dissolved on November 29th, 2005.

Since November 7, 2012, the Canadian Act finally recognizes professional freelance photographers ownership of copyright works they produce as part of their work.

The law on copyright was amended in Spring 2012, Bill C-11, correcting the injustice that prevailed hitherto, while the copyright of the photographs, the subject of a command, belonged default client.

Canadian photographers are now the first owners of the copyright of the images they produce rights, and by default, as are particular illustrators, musicians, painters and writers. This applies to both photographs commissioned by a client and paid by him as photographs taken outside of a commercial context.