Entering the public domain in Canada in 2015

There’s been a lot in the news recently that’s depressing, to say the least. I’ve kept up with covering it, but I really need a break to blog about something a little more positive. So, here’s 2015’s version of last year’s post on what’s entering the public domain in Canada this year.

Canada’s copyright laws comply with the Berne Convention, and the WTO‘s TRIPS Agreement (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights). Both require a minimum term of 50 years p.m.a. (after the death of the author/creator). Canada’s copyright term is:

  • 50 years p.m.a. for most works.
  • 50 years from publication or 75 years from creation, whichever is shorter for anonymous works.
The painting 'Hot Still-Scape for Six Colors - 7th Avenue Style', by Stuart Davis (1940).

Hot Still-Scape for Six Colors – 7th Avenue Style, by Stuart Davis (1940).

Last year, all works by anyone who died in the year 1963 entered the public domain. The big names were C.S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley, and Robert Frost.

This year, all works by anyone who died in the year 1964 entered the public domain on January 1st. And perhaps the biggest name is Ian Fleming. Yeah, that’s right. The guy who created James Bond. That means James Bond and all the original Bond stores – Dr. No, Goldfinger, From Russia, with Love, Live and Let Die, Quantum of Solace, Casino Royale, and more – are now in the public domain in Canada. (Of course, it’s not quite that simple. All the original Bond stories are free within Canada, but beware if you intend to put them online, and avoid anything that was in the movies.)

Another big name entering the public domain is Cole Porter. That means all the songs from Anything Goes, like “I Get a Kick Out of You”, and all of his other musicals… and all of the songs from his movie scores, like for Rosalie (1937), which includes “In the Still of the Night”… and anything else he wrote is now public domain. Note that the songs are in the public domain, but that doesn’t necessarily imply that specific recordings are – the songs “I get a Kick Out of You” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” are in the public domain, but the recordings by Frank Sinatra and Diana Krall are not.

Cole Porter isn’t the only big name in music entering the public domain in 2015. Due to his untimely (and arguably suspicious) death at age 33, all of Sam Cooke‘s works are also now public domain. That’s right, the sounds of King of Soul can now be shared by everyone. Ownership of his catalogue is actually split between two labels, and they haven’t really cooperated well, so almost none of his original albums have been released on digital media. Well, now we can say to hell with them. If you’re in Canada, feel free to spin some classic rock ‘n’ roll and soul music, like “You Send Me”, “Another Saturday Night”, or “Twistin’ the Night Away”.

The biggest Canadian name would have to be Newfoundlander E. J. Pratt, one of the greatest Canadian poets of all time. He was celebrated in his lifetime – he won the Governor General’s Award for poetry 3 times, in 1937, 1940, and 1952. Pratt lived through both World Wars – arguably one of the most tumultuous periods in human history – and his poetry reflects that. For example, “Silences” describes the world as in a perpetual state of conflict, with human conflicts just another note in the symphony. Unsurprisingly, being a Newfoundlander, his works are loaded with maritime imagery, but despite being a Methodist minister they also include lots of evolutionary imagery – like in “From Stone to Steel” – and God isn’t always the good guy – as in his masterwork, “The Truant”.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, of course. Here’s a far from complete list of authors, painters, poets, songwriters, and other artistic creators whose works entered the public domain this year:

The painting 'Natura Morta', by Giorgio Morandi (1956).

Natura Morta, by Giorgio Morandi (1956).

  • Ian Fleming, English author of spy thrillers
    • The original James Bond stories:
      • Casino Royale (1953)
      • Live and Let Die (1954)
      • From Russia, with Love (1957)
      • Dr. No (1958)
      • Goldfinger (1959)
      • “From a View to a Kill” (1960)
      • “For Your Eyes Only” (1960)
      • Thunderball (1961)
    • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1964)
  • Sam Cooke, American soul and rock ‘n’ roll musician
    • “You Send Me” (1957)
    • “Only Sixteen” (1959)
    • “Chain Gang” (1960)
    • “Cupid” (1961)
    • “Twistin’ the Night Away” (1962)
    • “Another Saturday Night” (1963)
  • Cole Porter, American show tune composer
    • “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love” (1928, from the musical Paris)
    • “What Is This Thing Called Love?” (1929, from the musical Wake Up and Dream)
    • “Night and Day” (1932, from the musical Gay Divorce)
    • “You’re the Top” (1934, from the musical Anything Goes)
    • “I Get a Kick Out of You” (1934, from the musical Anything Goes)
    • “Don’t Fence Me In” (1934)
    • “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” (1936, from the film Born to Dance)
    • “So in Love” (1948, from the musical Kiss Me, Kate)
  • E. J. Pratt, Canadian poet
    • Erosion (1931)
    • From Stone to Steel (1932)
    • The Titanic (1935)
    • Silences (1937)
    • Come Away, Death (1940)
    • The Truant (1942)
  • T. H. White, English author of Arthurian fiction
    • The Once and Future King
      • The Sword in the Stone (1938)
      • The Queen of Air and Darkness (1939)
      • The Ill-Made Knight (1940)
      • The Candle in the Wind (1958)
    • The Master: An Adventure Story (1957)
  • Flannery O’Connor, American Southern Gothic short story writer
    • Wise Blood (1952)
    • “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” (1953)
    • “Good Country People” (1955)
    • “The Displaced Person” (1955)
    • “Everything That Rises Must Converge” (1965)
  • Rachel Carson, marine biologist and groundbreaking environmentalist author
  • 高群逸枝 (Takamure Itsue), Japanese Japanese poet, writer, feminist, and anarchist
  • Peter Lanyon, English landscape painter
  • Buddy Cole, American jazz pianist and band leader
  • Jim Reeves, American country musician
  • Grace Metalious, author of the controversial soap opera novel Peyton Place (1956)
  • Stuart Davis, American early pop art painter
  • Brendan Behan, Irish playwright and novelist
  • Eddie Cantor, American comedian and songwriter
  • Dame Edith Sitwell, English experimental poet
  • Giorgio Morandi, Italian still life painter
  • Ben Hecht and Jo Swerling, both American screenwriters (but take care – I’m not sure how to determine whether films are in the public domain in Canada)

All of the works created by these artists, poets, authors, songwriters, musicians, etc. are now in the public domain in Canada. (Most are not in the public domain in the US or Europe.)

So, Canadians, if you haven’t read any of these yet, grab a copy if you can find one and read freely – or watch the films, or view the artwork. And if any of them inspire you to write a re-imagining, or make an adaptation, or even a sequel or alternate story around the events or setting, let your imagination be free!

But please, do release any new works you make under a copyleft licence, like Creative Commons ccbysa 4.0.

CC BY-SA 4.0
Entering the public domain in Canada in 2015 by Indi in the Wired is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

One Response to Entering the public domain in Canada in 2015

  1. E. J. Pratt’s poetry | Canadian Atheist

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