As of January 1, 2023, the Canadian government has extended copyright protection for an additional 20 years. That means works that would have entered the public domain will remain outside for another 20 years – stalling the ability of Canadians to interact freely with works from authors including Gabrielle Roy, Margaret Laurence, Glenn Gould and others.
This is the result of Canadian concessions to American demands during NAFTA renegotiations – likely fueled by Hollywood lobbyists and big industrial content producers such as commercial textbook publishers.
CAUT participated in the government’s 2021 consultations about this change to copyright law. Though CAUT opposed in principle the extension of copyright term, given that it was required as part of the give-and-take of trade agreement negotiations, we supported government implementation that would cause the least harm to the public domain. We supported an opt-in option for works and oeuvres, making the 20-year extension optional with all other works falling immediately out of copyright.
Read CAUT’s recommendations in our 2021 submission to the government consultations on how to implement term extension.
CAUT “Missing” posters
- Post on social media using the CAUT “Missing Canadian authors” shareables
- Download, print and post on campus the CAUT “Missing Canadian stories” poster
- Join the post-secondary education sector to ensure copyright law is protected in the public interest. Send a letter to the federal ministers that manage the Copyright Act.
What others are saying
- “Reconsidering the Copyright Bargain” by Adrian Sheppard, director of the University of Alberta’s copyright office
- “A bizarre 20-year hiatus” by Jennifer Zerkee, Simon Fraser University copyright specialist
- “A Missed Opportunity to Revive Obscure Canadian Literature” by Andrea Mills, Executive Director of the Internet Archive
- “Interminable pause” and “Feds owe it to Canadian public to address the harm caused by copyright term extension” by Mark Swartz, Queen’s University Scholarly Publishing Librarian
- “As the US Public Domain Expands, 20-Year Pause for the Canadian Public Domain Begins” by SPARC
- “Public Domain Day Postponed 20 Years” by Michal Jaworski, partner at Clark Wilson LLP