[d at DCC] Copyright on movies (was Re: Fair use question)
bob at rsmits.ca
Fri Aug 11 12:55:03 EDT 2006
On Thursday 10 August 2006 10:26, Jonathan Addleman wrote:
> Russell McOrmond wrote:
> > I had a long conversation with a lawyer this weekend (who will remain
> > nameless unless he wishes to say Hi) asking a simple question: since
> > movie copyright expires in Canada 50 years after publication, and music
> > 50 years after the death of the composer, then what happens when a movie
> > is in the "public domain" and yet the music behind the soundtrack is
> > not.
> Is it really true that copyright on movies expires 50 years after
> publication? Last time I looked, I couldn't find anything beyond the
> usual "life + 50" without any kind of clarification on *whose* life was
> being used. I didn't look too extensively, mind you, but it would be
> nice to have that cleared up.
> Some kind of chart or booklet that stated at least those things that
> *are* clear about our current copyright laws (few though they may be)
> would be really nice to have, actually. If it explained where the
> current laws are unclear, it might be a very useful resource for
> explaining the need for some sort of copyright reform. Most people just
> don't see that there's any problem with the current laws.
It appears to me to be clear, but I'm no lawyer, either. If you look at the
act, section 17 appears to say that once they authorize the incorporation of
the music, they can no longer exercise copyright in relation to that
performance (the one that's incorporated).
So, if the movie was being played after it's copyright was expired there's
nothing anyone could do. A recording of the same material whose copyright had
not expired would be another matter.
Here's the (I think) relevant section.
17. (1) Where the performer authorizes the embodiment of the performer’s
performance in a cinematographic work, the performer may no longer exercise,
in relation to the performance where embodied in that cinematographic work,
the copyright referred to in subsection 15(1).
Right to remuneration
(2) Where there is an agreement governing the embodiment referred to in
subsection (1) and that agreement provides for a right to remuneration for
the reproduction, performance in public or communication to the public by
telecommunication of the cinematographic work, the performer may enforce that
(a) the other party to the agreement or, if that party assigns the agreement,
the assignee, and
(b) any other person who
(i) owns the copyright in the cinematographic work governing the reproduction
of the cinematographic work, its performance in public or its communication
to the public by telecommunication, and
(ii) reproduces the cinematographic work, performs it in public or
communicates it to the public by telecommunication,
and persons referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) are jointly and severally
liable to the performer in respect of the remuneration relating to that
Application of subsection (2)
(3) Subsection (2) applies only if the performer’s performance is embodied in
a prescribed cinematographic work.
(4) If so requested by a country that is a party to the North American Free
Trade Agreement, the Minister may, by a statement published in the Canada
Gazette, grant the benefits conferred by this section, subject to any terms
and conditions specified in the statement, to performers who are nationals of
that country or another country that is a party to the Agreement or are
Canadian citizens or permanent residents within the meaning of subsection 2
(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and whose performer’s
performances are embodied in works other than the prescribed cinematographic
works referred to in subsection (3).
R.S., 1985, c. C-42, s. 17; 1994, c. 47, s. 59; 1997, c. 24, s. 14; 2001, c.
27, s. 236.
You can look at the entire Copyright Act here.
Bob Smits Ph 250-245-2553 Fax 250-245-5531 E-mail bob at rsmits.ca
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