The Federal Government of Canada has moved quickly to introduce
amendments to the Copyright Act to extend the term of
copyright for sound recordings and musical and other audio
performances through the federal budget bill, Bill C-59, also known
as the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 (the
"Bill"). The Bill was tabled in the House of
Commons on May 7, 2015, and Division 5 proposes the Copyright
Act amendments. These changes are consistent with the
government's budget announcement on April 21, 2015, which we
The Bill proposes to amend the Copyright Act to provide
longer protection for sound recordings and performances fixed in
sound recordings to the earlier of the end of 70 years after the
sound recording is published (up from 50) or the end of 100 years
after the recording is first fixed. The longer term would
only be for performances recorded in sound recordings, primarily
those of musicians and singers, but also narrators of audio books,
and other spoken word productions, podcasts and the like.
Theoretically, the changes mean that these performers could
get rights for up to 150 years from the first performance if they
wait 50 years before making a sound recording of the performance,
and another 50 before publishing it. There is no extension
proposed for performances not fixed in sound recordings, which are
protected for 50 years from the date of the first performance.
There is also no proposal to extend protection for
non-dramatic cinematographic works.
The amendments make clear that the extended term of protection
is not retroactive, and will not revive rights, so right holders
will be unable to claim copyright or rights to remuneration if
protection ended before the changes are implemented.
Notably absent from the bill are provisions relating to the
Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for
Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print
Disabled, which the April 21, 2015 budget announcement indicated
would be included to enable Canada to accede to that
Stay tuned to see how quickly the bill moves through the
legislative process, and what changes are implemented.
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A recent Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench decision allowed a court-appointed receiver to sell and transfer intellectual property rights free and clear of encumbrances, finding that a license to use improvements of an invention was a contractual interest and not a property interest.
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