Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42)

Act current to 2014-12-08 and last amended on 2012-11-07. Previous Versions

Term of Copyright

Marginal note:Term of copyright

 The term for which copyright shall subsist shall, except as otherwise expressly provided by this Act, be the life of the author, the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies, and a period of fifty years following the end of that calendar year.

  • R.S., 1985, c. C-42, s. 6;
  • 1993, c. 44, s. 58.
Marginal note:Anonymous and pseudonymous works

 Except as provided in section 6.2, where the identity of the author of a work is unknown, copyright in the work shall subsist for whichever of the following terms ends earlier:

  • (a) a term consisting of the remainder of the calendar year of the first publication of the work and a period of fifty years following the end of that calendar year, and

  • (b) a term consisting of the remainder of the calendar year of the making of the work and a period of seventy-five years following the end of that calendar year,

but where, during that term, the author’s identity becomes commonly known, the term provided in section 6 applies.

  • 1993, c. 44, s. 58.
Marginal note:Anonymous and pseudonymous works of joint authorship

 Where the identity of all the authors of a work of joint authorship is unknown, copyright in the work shall subsist for whichever of the following terms ends earlier:

  • (a) a term consisting of the remainder of the calendar year of the first publication of the work and a period of fifty years following the end of that calendar year, and

  • (b) a term consisting of the remainder of the calendar year of the making of the work and a period of seventy-five years following the end of that calendar year,

but where, during that term, the identity of one or more of the authors becomes commonly known, copyright shall subsist for the life of whichever of those authors dies last, the remainder of the calendar year in which that author dies, and a period of fifty years following the end of that calendar year.

  • 1993, c. 44, s. 58.
Marginal note:Term of copyright in posthumous works
  •  (1) Subject to subsection (2), in the case of a literary, dramatic or musical work, or an engraving, in which copyright subsists at the date of the death of the author or, in the case of a work of joint authorship, at or immediately before the date of the death of the author who dies last, but which has not been published or, in the case of a lecture or a dramatic or musical work, been performed in public or communicated to the public by telecommunication, before that date, copyright shall subsist until publication, or performance in public or communication to the public by telecommunication, whichever may first happen, for the remainder of the calendar year of the publication or of the performance in public or communication to the public by telecommunication, as the case may be, and for a period of fifty years following the end of that calendar year.

  • Marginal note:Application of subsection (1)

    (2) Subsection (1) applies only where the work in question was published or performed in public or communicated to the public by telecommunication, as the case may be, before the coming into force of this section.

  • Marginal note:Transitional provision

    (3) Where

    • (a) a work has not, at the coming into force of this section, been published or performed in public or communicated to the public by telecommunication,

    • (b) subsection (1) would apply to that work if it had been published or performed in public or communicated to the public by telecommunication before the coming into force of this section, and

    • (c) the relevant death referred to in subsection (1) occurred during the period of fifty years immediately before the coming into force of this section,

    copyright shall subsist in the work for the remainder of the calendar year in which this section comes into force and for a period of fifty years following the end of that calendar year, whether or not the work is published or performed in public or communicated to the public by telecommunication after the coming into force of this section.

  • Marginal note:Transitional provision

    (4) Where

    • (a) a work has not, at the coming into force of this section, been published or performed in public or communicated to the public by telecommunication,

    • (b) subsection (1) would apply to that work if it had been published or performed in public or communicated to the public by telecommunication before the coming into force of this section, and

    • (c) the relevant death referred to in subsection (1) occurred more than fifty years before the coming into force of this section,

    copyright shall subsist in the work for the remainder of the calendar year in which this section comes into force and for a period of five years following the end of that calendar year, whether or not the work is published or performed in public or communicated to the public by telecommunication after the coming into force of this section.

  • R.S., 1985, c. C-42, s. 7;
  • 1993, c. 44, s. 58;
  • 1997, c. 24, s. 6.