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Information for StFX faculty and students on campus copyright policies, fair dealing, and copyright resources.

Important change to length of Copyright


Please be advised, as of , the general term of copyright protection in Canada changes from 50 to 70 years after the death of the author. This change does not affect works that are already in the public domain. For more information, please see the amendments to the Copyright Act from June 2022.

How long does copyright last?

Since December 30, 2022, the term of copyright in Canada is life-plus-seventy, which was previously a term of life-plus-fifty. This means that copyright protection now lasts for the duration of the lifetime of the author, plus 70 years from the end of the calendar year of their death. 

This extension of the copyright term is not retroactive. Any works whose copyright expired before December 30, 2022 will not receive an additional 20 years of protection (Government of Canada, 2023). 

It should be noted that there are several exceptions to this general rule. As stated by Heer Law (2023), Crown or government works in Canada are protected until published and for an additional 70 years from the date of publication. Additionally, if there is joint authorship, copyright will last for the remainder of the calendar year which the last author dies and for 50 years after that. 

Other exceptions do exist. When in doubt, contact a copyright expert. Heer Law: Intellectual Property Law & Litigation. h


Government of Canada. (2023, January 10). What copyright is. Government of Canada.  property-office/en/what-intellectual-property/what-copyright

Heer Law. (2023, June 23). Copyright FAQ. Heer Law: Intellectual Property Law & Litigation. https://www.heerlaw.come/copyright-faq 

Statement from Canadian Federation of Library Associations. (August 10, 2021)

Getting Started

Getting Started provides five questions to consider before you copy, including information on:

Copyright Resources