Copyright:Support Guides/Public Domain/Public Domain Outside Canada

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When determining whether or not a foreign work (from a Berne Convention country) is in the Public Domain in Canada, the first step is to determine whether the work would be in the public domain if it had been published in Canada.

If the work would have been in the public domain if published in Canada, it is in the public domain in Canada. If the work would not be in the public domain if it were published in Canada, check to see whether the work is in the public domain in the country where it was published.

If the work is in the public domain in the country where it was published, then it is in the public domain in Canada. If the work is not in the public domain in Canada nor in the country where it is published, then the work is not in the public domain.

Therefore, if a U.K. author passed away 60 years ago, his work in the public domain in Canada, but not in the U.K., where works do not enter into the public domain until 70 years after the death of the author.

If a country has a copyright term that is less than 50 years, say 30 years, then the work will be in the public domain in Canada after 30 years.

If you wish to use a work that originated in a country that has not signed the Berne Convention, then you should seek permission from the copyright holder.

If you have any questions about the above information, or if you would like assistance in determining whether or not a foreign work is in the Public Domain in Canada, please contact us at copyright.services@ubc.ca.