On Dec. 30, 2022, after years of consultation and debate, legislation passed by the Parliament of Canada comes into effect to extend the term of copyright protection in literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works from 50 years to 70 years after the end of the year of the author’s death.

The move to a “life plus 70“ term, which fulfills a key commitment made by Canada in the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), brings Canada in line with the vast majority of its major trading partners, as a worldwide standard of copyright protection. That allows Canada to meet its international obligations and create new investment and export opportunities for its creative industries. The change follows earlier extensions to the term of copyright in published sound recordings and performers’ performances and in certain screen works.

The necessary amendments to the Copyright Act were included in Bill C-19, the Budget Implementation Act, 2022, No. 1. Term extension will not be retroactive, which means that any works whose copyright expired on or before Dec. 31, 2021, will remain in the public domain. Works that would have fallen into the public domain at the end of 2022, however, will remain subject to copyright protection for another 20 years, and all other existing and future works will benefit from the longer term.

SOCAN thanks the government of Canada for making this happen.