Written by Nick Heer.

Extension of Copyright Law in Canada Will Take Effect on December 30, Threatening Public Domain

Andrea Mills, of Internet Archive Canada:

With the passing of Bill C-19 this past June, the Copyright Act was amended to extend the term of copyright for literary, dramatic or musical works and engravings to life of the author plus a period of 70 years following the end of the calendar year in which that author dies. What was unclear at the time of royal assent was WHEN exactly this would come into force — if on or after January 1, 2023, one more year of works would enter the public domain. Unfortunately, we now know that this date has been fixed as December 30, 2022, meaning that no new works will enter the Canadian public domain for the next 20 years.

At the time, the Minister of Justice prepared a customary statement summarizing the likely effects of the bill, and blamed these changes on the 2018 revisions to NAFTA:

This legislation implements one of Canada’s obligations under the Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement, is consistent with that of many other nations, and may support Canadian creators in the international marketplace.

Timothy Vollmer of Creative Commons pointed out how much this kneecaps the public domain and threatens new creative works. A disappointing development, to be sure.