Wikilivres:Shorter term in Canada

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Canada’s copyright law primarily applies to works first published in Canada. In the first instance this also applies to works published in other countries, and in the absence of contrary evidence should be presumed to apply. Nevertheless, when material is published in an other countries the rights in that other country may result in longer or shorter terms, or different rules may apply for different kinds of works. When that foreign period is longer we do not need to be overly concerned because we can rely on Canadian rules. When that foreign period is shorter we need to take a closer look at the foreign law, not only as it reads now, but as it read at some past time when the work first went into the public domain in that country.

In all discussions below it is presumed that copyrights end at the end of the year of the relevant anniversary unless otherwise indicated. Similarly, it is presumed that for works joint authorship calculations are based on the life of the author who died latest.

Links to the most relevant laws of other counties may be found at http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/national.jsp

What follows is a series of separate discussions as they apply to specific countries.

Poland

A law extending the term of copyright to 50 years after the death of the author for art works was passed on 1994-02-04. The revision of 2000-06-09 had the effect of retroactively restoring the copyrights of authors to 70 year after the death of the author, but this would not apply in Canada because of subsection 5(1.02) of the Copyright Act.

The previous act from 1952-07-10 provided a term of copyright of only 20 year after the death of the author, and its 1975 revision - to 25 year after the death of the author. To sum up, before the law revision of 2000-06-09 took effect, the works of Polish authors who had died from 1930 to 1968 year were in Poland in the public domain already, but their copyright has been restored retroactively.

Following this, the works of Polish authors who had died before 1969 have already fallen into the public domain in Canada.

Only for photographs:

According to the Art.3 of copyright law of March 29, 1926 of the Republic of Poland and Art. 2 of copyright law of July 10, 1952 of the People's Republic of Poland, all photographs by Polish photographers (or published for the first time in Poland or simultaneously in Poland and abroad) published without a clear copyright notice before the law was changed on May 23, 1994 are assumed to be in the public domain.

Following this, such photographs of Polish authors published before 1994-05-23 had already fallen into the public domain in Canada, as well.

Soviet Union

The Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991. Until then copyright law was under the jurisdiction of the Union government. After that the several republics assumed that responsibility. Until 1991 copyrights in the Soviet Union lasted until the end of the year of the 25th anniversary of the author’s death. (Even shorter terms may have applied for photographic or graphic works in some republics.) A law was passed by the Union in 1991 to extend that time to 50 years past the author’s death. It was due to come into effect on 1992-01-01. The Soviet Union came apart before that effective date. 1991 included the 25th death anniversary of those Soviet citizens who died in 1966. Works by these authors went into the public domain on 1992-01-01. For those who had died earlier, their work was already in the public domain. The Canadian rule of the shorter term was operative at that time, and no subsequent event serves to restore copyrights that were once lost.

For Soviet citizens who died after 1966 recourse must be made to the laws of the relevant republic.

Armenia

The Armenian copyright law passed on 1999-12-08 and published on 2000-01-12 indicated a term of copyright that ended 50 years after an author's death. This law replaced the law of 1996-05-27. I have no information about the term shown in that 1996 law, and it is only by presumption that it uses the 50-year rule. In the absence of further information it is presumed that Armenians who had died before 1971 had already fallen into the public domain.

Azerbaijan

A law extending the term of copyright to 50 years after the death of the author for Azerbaijani works was passed on 1996-06-05. It follows that the works of Azerbaijanis who had died before 1971 had already fallen into the public domain.

Belarus

A law extending the term of copyright to 50 years after the death of the author for Belorussian works came into effect on 1996-05-16. It follows that the works of Belorussians who had died before 1971 had already fallen into the public domain.

Estonia

A law extending the term of copyright to 50 years after the death of the author for Estonian works was passed on 1992-11-11, and came into effect on 1992-12-12. It follows that the works of Estonians who had died before 1967 had already fallen into the public domain.

Georgia

A 1999 Georgian law extended the term of copyright to 70 years past the author's death. It is not clear when it was previously extended to 50 years past the author's death. However, Georgia became a Berne Convention country in 1995. On this basis it may be inferred that the works of Georgians who had died before 1970 had already fallen into the public domain.

Kazakhstan

A law extending the term of copyright to 50 years after the death of the author for Kazakh works came into effect on 1996-06-10. It follows that the works of Kazakhs who had died before 1971 had already fallen into the public domain.

Kyrgyzstan

A law extending the term of copyright to 50 years after the death of the author for Kyrgyz works was passed on 1998-01-14, and came into effect on 1998-01-23. It follows that the works of Kyrgyzians who had died before 1973 had already fallen into the public domain.

Latvia

A law extending the term of copyright to 50 years after the death of the author for Latvian works came into effect on 1993-05-15. It follows that the works of Latvians who had died before 1968 had already fallen into the public domain.

Lithuania

Lithuania became a Berne treaty member on 1994-12-14. The WIPO site does not show a copyright law passed before that date, but such a law is not absolutely ruled out. In the absence of clearer detail, it is assumed that the work of Lithuanians who died before 1969 is in the public domain.

Moldova

A law extending the term of copyright to 50 years after the death of the author for Moldovan works was passed on 1994-11-23, and came into effect on 1995-03-02. It follows that the works of Moldovans who had died before 1970 had already fallen into the public domain.

Russia

On 1992-08-03 the Russian government decreed that much of the 1991 Soviet law would apply in Russia until a new Russian law could be written. Given the year-end rule, no works of authors born in 1967 would have come into the public domain in 1992. Subsequently, copyrights of authors would last for 50 years after the author’s death. The eventual 1993 Russian law would have the effect of retroactively restoring the copyrights of some Russian authors, but this would not apply in Canada because of subsection 5(1.02) of the Copyright Act.

Tajikistan

A law extending the term of copyright to 50 years after the death of the author for Tajik works came into effect on 1998-11-13. It follows that the works of Tajiks who had died before 1973 had already fallen into the public domain.

Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan, as of 2015-01-24, is not a signatory of the Berne Convention, nor is it a member of the World Trade Organization. Turkmenistan is not one of the countries scheduled for special treatment under subsection 5(2) of the Copyright Act. A new Turkmen copyright law came into effect on 2012-01-20; this provided for copyrights to last for 50 years after the death of the author. I have not found any earlier law doing so. It would appear that works of Turkmen authors are not protected at all under Canadian law, and becoming a Berne or WTO may still imply that Turkmen works by authors who died before 1989 are now in the public domain. Persons wanting to upload works by Turkmen authors should proceed with caution.

Ukraine

A law extending the term of copyright to 50 years after the death of the author for Ukrainian works was passed on 1993-12-23, and came into effect on 1994-02-23. It follows that the works of Ukrainians who had died before 1969 had already fallen into the public domain.

Uzbekistan

A law extending the term of copyright to 50 years after the death of the author for Uzbek works was passed on 1996-08-30, and came into effect on 1996-09-17. It follows that the works of Uzbeks who had died before 1971 had already fallen into the public domain.