Canada: Copyright-Extension

W.J. McLean notified the ARCAN-L mailing list of his provocative article, The Impact of Bill C-36 on the Archival Public Domain, that summarizes the impact of Canada’s Bill C-36 around works by a selected group of author-creators on which copyright will be extended if the bill is passed this fall.

Read more in the Ten Thousand Year Blog.

Excerpt from McLean’s article:

With Bill C-36, Canadian Heritage plans to extend the term of copyright in “works” whose “authors” died between 1930 and 1948. While “work” and “author” in the Copyright Act imply literary efforts for which the author had expected commercial remuneration during his or her lifetime, the Copyright Act, in fact, operates on everything ever committed to paper, for long after the author is dead. Every document, in every archive in Canada, is “protected” by copyright.

Prior to 1998, copyright in unpublished “works” was perpetual. That’s right, forever! Recognizing the impossibility and idiocy of that rule, Parliament changed it in 1998. “Works” whose authors died before 1949 would become public domain at the end of 2003, freeing up millions of archival documents for unfettered use, including translation, publication, and digitization. “Works” whose authors died in or after 1949 will not become public domain until at least the end of 2048.

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