What are the rules for Canadian copyright terms?
December 9, 2007 1:45 PM   Subscribe

I've got some local postcards that are 90+ years old (as determined by postmark). Are they out of copyright -- can I sell reproductions?

I live in Canada and the postcards are of sites in Canada, and they were probably (but not certainly) printed in Canada. They do not have an individual photographer credit, but there is a company logo. Given their age, is it defensible to reproduce them, and what are the rules by which the determination is made (so I can assess other antique ephemera similarly)?
posted by seanmpuckett to Law & Government (4 answers total)
There's lots of information on this at Wikipedia.
posted by grouse at 2:03 PM on December 9, 2007

Best answer: This is easily Googleable, but all grousing aside, via this near-the-top result for a "copyright Canada" search:

Copyright comes into existence automatically, at the time the work was created, and, in the case of most works, it continues until the end of the calendar year in which the author of the work dies (regardless of whether the author has sold or assigned the copyright in the work or not), and continues for an additional period of 50 years. There are some notable exceptions to this rule however. One such exception relates to photographs, which are protected by copyright from the time the photograph was taken, up until the end of the calendar year in which the photograph was taken , and for an additional period of 50 years (that is, the termination date of copyright protection for photographs is linked to the date the photograph was taken, and not the date of the photographer's death).

So, the pix are out of copyright. Any extended wording on the back, beyond a simple identification of the subject, could conceivably still be copyrighted if the author thereof died within the last 50 years.
posted by beagle at 2:13 PM on December 9, 2007

Response by poster: Domo. My searches seemed to turn up less useful things; perhaps my history interferes.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:55 PM on December 9, 2007

OK, so the pictures are out of copyright, but the postcards may not be. They are themselves a separately created copyrighted work. You'll need the source photos. Unless of course the other timeline mentioned above has already lapsed.
posted by Gungho at 7:13 PM on December 9, 2007

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