Copyright Law in Canada

AuthorLesley Ellen Harris
ProfessionLawyer, author, and educator
Copyright Law in Canada
I just do what I do. I like to make music.
—Neil Young
History of Canadian Copyright Law
In Canada, copyright law falls under federal jurisdiction. The copyright
law, then, does not vary from province to province but is consistent
throughout the country. This is because the Parliament of Canada was
given exclusive jurisdiction to deal with the matter of “copyrights”
under subsection 91(23) of the Constitution Act of 1867.
The current Canadian copyright legislation is found in one statute
called the Copyright Act.
This piece of legislation, based on the United
Kingdom Copyright Act, 1911, was introduced in 1921 and came into
force on January 1, 1924. Since that time, it has remained the governing
copyright legislation in Canada, along with its schedules, annexes, and
rules, and including various amendments made to it.
The Canadian Copyright Act, consolidated with amendments made
to it since its enactment in 1924, related information, and related regu-
lations are at .
Before the 1924 Act came into force, the governing legisla-
tion consisted of various pre-Confederation provincial legislation,
post- Confederation federal statutes, British statutes, and the Berne
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