Canada extends copyright protection another 20 years to meet new trade obligation

OTTAWA — There will be no new books or plays added to the public domain in Canada until 2043 after the government squeezed in a change to copyright laws just before the end of 2022.

Until Dec. 30, copyright protection applied to literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works for the life of their author plus another 50 years.

But as of that date, the rules now cover the life of the author plus another 70 years.

The change brings Canada into compliance with a commitment it made under the new North American free trade deal to match its copyright protections with those in place in the United States since 1998.

It means artistic works that would have become available to be republished or repurposed without permission on Jan. 1 will get another 20 years of protection.

Examples include some of the writings of former prime minister Lester B. Pearson, who died in December 1972 and whose copyright protection will now not expire until Jan. 1, 1943.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 2, 2023.

The Canadian Press