The Compleat Canadian Copyright Act Present, Past & Proposed Provisions

1709 - 2013

ISBN 978-0-9921335-1-1

Compiler Press


THIS is a reference work documenting the statutory history of copyright in Canada.  This history begins with the Statute of Queen Anne passed by the English Parliament in 1709 and that came into force in April 1710, the year of the British Conquest of the French colony of Acadia that was to become the modern provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.  Current history ends with Bill C-56 An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trademarks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.  Known by its short title as the Combating Counterfeit Products Act, this Bill was introduced for first reading in the House of Commons on June 2, 2011 and remains under consideration as of September 2013.

The work reflects the shifting power balance between creators, users, proprietors, Parliament and foreign interests reflected in the changing provisions of the Act.  This is the legislative record of attempts to accommodate new technologies that fix the expression of ideas, a.k.a., knowledge, in a new type of material matrix creating new ‘works’ to which copyright protection has been progressively extended, e.g., photographs, piano rolls, ‘talking’ pictures, radio, television, VCRs, DVDs, WWW, et al.  In the process new streams of royalties are created. 

The work is ‘Compleat’ in that it provides a complete provenance of the Act, section by section, from 1921 to 2013.  It is, however, incomplete in that it does not provide such in-depth coverage from 1709 to 1921 and does not include the record of parliamentary debate.

502 pages, 2.84 MB PDF, 1.94 MB WORD

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The Work

The work consists of nine separately numbered sections to facilitate future updating.

A - Introduction

The Introduction defines basic terms of Canadian statutory law, e.g., Statute, Bill, Reading & Royal Assent, as well as explaining the limitations of the work.

B - Statutory Chronologies

Four chronologies are presented.  The first reports 59 Imperial Copyright & Performing Rights statutes passed by the English Parliament.  Each citation includes the title and date of passage as well as the date of amendment or repeal.  The first entry is the Statute of Queen Anne passed in 1709 and the last is the Imperial Copyright Act of 1911 (1 & 2 George V, c. 46) that consolidated over 200 years of Imperial statutes and liberated the Canadian Copyright Act from the authority of the British Privy Council.

The second chronology reports 36 Provincial Copyright & Performing Rights statutes and British Orders in Council from 1832 to 1949.  The first entry is an 1832 statute of the Province of Lower Canada entitled An Act for the protection of Copy Rights, (S.L.C. 1832, 2 Will IV,  c. 53), the last, the 1926 Newfoundland Newspaper and Book Act (Consolidated Statutes, c. 15, 17 Geo. V, c. 15). 

The third chronology reports 26 Canadian Copyright and Performing statutes, Bills and British Orders in Council from Confederation in 1867 to 1919.  The first entry is the British North America Act of 1867 formally entitled An Act for the Union of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, and the Government thereof; and for Purposes connected therewith (Imperial Parliament 30 & 31 Vic., c. 3).  The last entry is a 1919 Senate Bill entitled An Act Respecting Copyright (13th Parliament, 2nd Sess, June 27).  Relevant highlights of each statute, bill and Order in Council are reported.

The fourth chronology reports 66 Canadian statutes and bills between 1921 and 2013 including relevant highlights.  The first entry is the initial ‘made-in-Canada’ Copyright Act - An Act to amend and consolidate the Law relating to Copyright (S.C. 1921, c. 24, 11-12 George V) - which, among other things, repealed all copyright enactments of the British Parliament still operative in Canada.  The last entry is the 2013 Bill C-56 an Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trademarks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts generally known by its short title: the Combating Counterfeit Products Act.  Among other things this Bill is intended to implement the 2011 Anti-Counterfeiting in Trade Agreement (ACTA). 

C - The Act as of S.C. 2012, c.20: 1921-2013

This is the heart of the work documenting the Canadian Copyright Act subsection by subsection from 1921 to 2013.  It provides the provenance of each subsection as it currently stands, as it was in the past and as it was proposed to be.  In effect, Part C reflects the results of Phase III of contemporary Canadian copyright reform. 

D - The Act as of S.C. 1997, c. 24

This Part of the work reflects completion of Phase II of copyright reform.  An Index by Subsection is provided. 

E - The Act as of S.C. 1988, c. 15

This Part of the work reflects completion of Phase I of copyright reform.  An Index by Subsection is provided. 

F - The Act as of R.S. 1985, c. C-42

This Part of the work reflects the Act before commencement of contemporary copyright reform.  An Index by Subsection is provided. 

G - Benchmark Recommendations

Debate over copyright reform began in earnest a decade before the three phase reform process began.  To provide insight into preliminary debate the recommendations of four major studies are reported by subsection of the Copyright Act as of S.C. 2012, c. 20.  The four reports are:

1977 - Copyright in Canada: Proposals for a Revision of the Law (Keyes/Brunet Report)

1984 - From Gutenberg to Telidon A White Paper on Copyright: Proposals for the Revision of the Canadian Copyright Act

1985 - A Charter of Rights for Creators

1986  - Government Response to the Report of the Sub-Committee Report on Revision of Copyright

H - Canadian Multilateral Copyright& Related Agreements

Copyright reform in Canada is driven not just by domestic concerns but also by Canada’s international obligations.  These are contained in 20 multilateral agreements and their associated protocols.  An Index by Subsection is provided for each.  In addition to the 2011 Anti-Countefeiting in Trade Agreement (ACTA), the 1988 Canadian-United States Free Trade Agreement and the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada’s multilateral agreements include 2 United Nations agreements plus associated protocols, 6 UNESCO agreements, 5 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) agreements and 2 World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements.

I – Other Compiler Press Publications

This is a listing of other publications available from Compiler Press treating intellectual and cultural property.



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Content Summary (Full Table of Contents)



The Work





Statutory Chronologies

Imperial Copyright & Performing Rights 1709-1911

Provincial Copyright & Performing Rights 1832-1949   

Canadian Copyright & Performing Rights




The Act as of S.C. 2012, c.20: 1921-2013


By Section         

By Subsection     

Short Title & Interpretation   

Part I: Copyright and Moral Rights in Works    

Part II: Copyright in Performer’s Performances, Sound Recordings & Communications Signals    

Part III: Infringement of Copyright and Moral Rights and Exceptions to Infringement 

Part IV: Remedies       

Part V: Administration      

Part VI: Miscellaneous Provisions  

Part VII: Copyright Board and Collective Administration of Copyright     

Part VIII: Private Copying    

Part IX: General Provisions   

Not in Force, Orphaned & Transitional Provisions 


The Act as of S.C. 1997, c. 24

Index by Subsection            


The Act as of S.C. 1988, c. 15

Index by Subsection        


The Act as of R.S. 1985, c. C-42

Index by Subsection     


Benchmark Proposals

Index by Subsection as of S.C. 2012, c. 20: 1977, 1984, 1985 & 1986      


Canadian Multilateral Copyright & Related Agreements 


Other Compiler Press Publications 


Dr. Harry Hillman Chartrand, PhD

Pre-Payable to: Compiler Press

215 Lake Crescent

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

S7H 3A1

Tele/Fax: (306) 244-6945