Copyright is the set of laws that govern who owns content and therefor governs its use.
Licensing is a legal agreement that allows for the use of content, outlining who can use content, for what purpose, where, how much, etc.
This means that if you have a legal agreement in place that outlines the permitted or forbidden uses of content, it doesn't matter what copyright law says. A good example of this is end user license agreements (EULA), aka Terms and Conditions. If you click "I agree" to the EULA or Terms & Conditions, regardless of whether or not you read them, you are bound by the conditions they state.
Animators have many layers of content which require copyright, trademark and licensing consideration:
Each one of these areas is complicated with many layers. For example, images are multi-faceted:
You will often not own copyright when you create content as part of "regular employment". The exact rules vary from country to country, but in Canada:
Regular employment is determined by factors like:
Again, license beats law - if you have a terms of employment contract that specifically awards you copyright of your content, you own that copyright. On the flip side, if you are not in regular employment with an employer, but your contract states that the employer will own copyright of the content created within the terms of the contract, they own copyright of that content.