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Possible Extension for Term of Protection for Copyright Owners

October 15, 2015

By Jill Jarvis-Tonus and Tamara Céline Winegust

In Canada, the Copyright Act currently providers owners with a term of protection lasting the life of all author(s) plus 50 years. This reflects the basic copyright term provided for in the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works—the foundational international copyright treaty—to which most countries, including Canada, are members.

That term may soon be extended in Canada under the intellectual property chapter for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (“TPP”), a proposed trade agreement between numerous countries bordering the Pacific Ocean, including Canada, a copy of which was leaked earlier this week. It proposes the minimum term be bumped up to the life of the author plus 70 years for signatory countries.

Extending the term to life plus 70 years would bring the Canadian term in line with that of its major trading partners, most notably, the United States (which extended its term of protection in 1998 through the Copyright Term Extension Act) and the EU (which extended it for authors in 1993 and, and for performers and sound recordings in 2011).

Although the parties agreed to the document in principle on October 5, 2015, Canadian Parliament must still ratify the agreement before it can be incorporated into Canadian law. Also, the outcome of the pending Federal Election could impact whether TPP is ever enacted.

Stay tuned for updates.

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Tamara Céline Winegust Tamara Céline Winegust
B.F.A., J.D.
416.957.1651  email Tamara Céline Winegust