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Music publishers call on Canada to extend its copyright terms

By | Published on Monday 13 November 2017


The International Confederation Of Music Publishers swung by good ole Canada last week to suggest – maybe recommend – officially “request” – and possibly politely demand – that the country extend its copyright term for lyrics and musical compositions to life of the creator plus 70 years. It’s currently life plus 50 years in Canada.

The trade body for music publishers confirmed it had “called on Canadian policy makers to increase the term of copyright to life plus 70 years in order to be in line with the standards currently prevailing elsewhere, in particular among Canada’s main trading partners. Such harmonisation is key to achieve international consistency in the rules of copyright, which in turn improves the efficiency of copyright management and enforcement internationally”.

Meanwhile, ICMP Chair Chris Butler said: “Music publishers play a key role in developing and preserving creative talent across the world. We spend a lot of money and time in bringing writers to market, and we are only able to invest if we can be compensated for our rights. Developing this talent is however an expensive business and at the moment, we have to think twice before investing in Canada as we need to focus on countries where we see more of a return on our investment”.

The group’s Director General Coco Carmona then added: “Canada is a major cultural nation, a G7 member and one of the world’s largest economies. However, its current term of copyright protection puts investing in its creative talent at risk. If Canada wants to remain competitive, extending its term of protection for copyright is imperative”.

Those of you with a vague recollection of Canada only recently increasing its copyright terms are thinking about the sound recording copyright, which was extended in 2015 from 50 to 70 years after release, bringing it in line with Europe. It’s the separate copyrights in literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works – which are usually linked to the lifetimes of their creators – that enjoy a shorter term than in Europe.