The reproduction of bank note images is protected by the Criminal Code of Canada and the Copyright Act. This federal legislation empowers the Bank to authorize reproductions as appropriate.
The Bank recognizes that currency is an important symbol to Canadians and that people may wish to reproduce images of notes (or parts of notes) for special purposes — usually education, advertising, or numismatics.
A new policy (see left) developed by the Bank requires that anyone wishing to reproduce bank note images first obtain the Bank's written permission. The Bank will ordinarily consent to the reproduction of bank note images if there is no risk that the result could lead to counterfeiting.
Section 449 of the Criminal Code of Canada states that anyone who makes or begins to make counterfeit money is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.
Subsection 462(1) of the Criminal Code states that anything used or intended to be used to make counterfeit money belongs to Her Majesty. A peace officer may seize any machine, tool, instrument, or item that was used, intended to be used, or adapted, to make counterfeit money and forward it to the Minister of Finance for disposal.
The Bank of Canada is the registered copyright owner of all design elements used in Canadian bank notes, including the portraits, vignettes, and numerals. Canadian criminal and civic law governs the reproduction of bank note images. A brief summary of these laws is set out below.
Section 457 of the Criminal Code provides that anyone who makes, publishes, prints, executes, issues, distributes, or circulates, including by electronic or computer-assisted means, anything in the likeness of a current bank note is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months and a maximum fine of $2,000.
No one shall be convicted of the above offence if the likeness of the Canadian bank note is
No one shall be convicted of the above offence if the likeness was produced with the permission of the Bank.Making bank note images that infringe the Bank's copyright is an offence under the Copyright Act in certain circumstances
According to Subsection 42(1) of the Copyright Act, it is an offence to knowingly make for sale, sell, import for sale, or by way of trade, expose for sale or exhibit a copy of a work that infringes copyright. Anyone who commits this crime is punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months and a maximum fine of $25,000. If the Crown proceeds by indictment, the offender is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years and to a fine not exceeding $1,000,000. On conviction, the court may order the destruction or serving up of all infringing copies and all plates used for making infringing copies.
Pursuant to Subsection 3(1) of the Copyright Act, a copy of a bank note image will not infringe copyright if the Bank, the copyright owner, authorized its reproduction.Infringing copyright protection may lead to civil action by the Bank of Canada
Even in those cases where the reproduction of the bank note image is not an offence under the Criminal Code or the Copyright Act, the Bank is still entitled to enforce its copyright through civil action. Reproducing a bank note image without the Bank's permission may lead to civil action by the Bank for recovery of the infringing copies, as well as injunctions and the awarding of damages.
To avoid the risk of potential criminal and civil consequences, the Bank's written permission for the reproduction of bank note images must be obtained before the image is reproduced. The Bank will give permission only in writing.
Requests to produce bank note images must be submitted in writing to the Bank and must include:
It is not necessary to request the Bank's permission to use bank note images for film or video purposes, provided that the images are intended to show a general indication of currency, and that there is no danger that the images could be misused.
Although the Bank is the copyright owner of the images used on Canadian bank notes, it recognizes that currency is an important symbol of value in Canada and that people may wish to reproduce images for appropriate reasons. The Bank will ordinarily consent to such reproductions if
To ensure that the above goals are met, the Bank will ordinarily impose conditions before it will permit the reproduction of bank note images. A list is provided here to illustrate the type of conditions that the Bank may require. The list is not exhaustive, and the Bank may impose additional conditions.
For example the image must be:
The Bank will consider giving permission for the reproduction of bank note images that do not comply with the above conditions if the reproduction is for an educational, archival, museum, numismatic, or related purpose, and there is no danger that the image could be misused.
The Bank may amend or revoke these guidelines at any time.
For further information, please contact the Bank of Canada at email@example.com or toll-free at
1 888 513-8212.