Plan a Copyright Day Now!

Getting the word out about copyright compliance is never easy; once a year you can be part of an international trend and plan a copyright education and awareness day with posters, discussions and more. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has helpful archives from its 2011 Copyright Day.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) lists three “special days”:

  1. World Intellectual Property Day. April 26 is a day to highlight creativity and innovation in all of our lives. WIPO has press releases, posters, bookmarks and special publications to help member States celebrate this day. The 2012 theme is: Visionary Innovators.
  2. World Book and Copyright Day. The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designates April 23 as the day each year to promote the protection of written works and to recognize authors and their rights.
  3. World Anti-Counterfeiting Day. The Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group (GACG) selects a day at the end of June each year to raise the awareness and costs of counterfeiting and piracy.

Many governments and organizations promote and have appropriate activities on the “special days” set out above. Check out the links and get ideas for your Copyright Day.


  1. Leslie:

    Many would argue that by far the most important “copyright day” is Public Domain Day, namely January 1st of each year, when the term of copyright for many works expires according to the various national laws around the world. Canada – like very many countries – still has the Berne Convention minimum term of life + 50 years. However, the US has gradually been extending its copyright term at the behest of corporate lobbyists. Indeed, in 1998, Disney led the successful campaign done in the name of the late Sonny Bono to go to life + 70 years – with a mass extension resulting effectively in a moratorium on additions to the public domain until at least 2019.

    The American Mickey Mouse movement towards life + 70 is gaining traction as the USA forces the longer term into bilateral and plurilateral trade agreements wherever possible. The next big push will be in the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (“TPPA”).
    So let’s celebrate Public Domain Day while we can. If Mickey Mouse gets his way, this event may become a thing of the past for a long time to come.

    Here’s Canada’s latest cause to celebrate:

    Here’s more general coverage:


  2. David Collier-Brown

    The Mickey Mouse problem is really rather unfortunate.

    The GTALUG (Greater Toronto Area Linux Users’ Group) political outlook group, of which I am a member, suggested…

    Canada lacks protection for “famous characters” like Mickey Mouse, and could face the same problems as the U.S. Has. In the United States, companies needing protection have found it necessary to campaign for extension of general copyright terms. This extends the lifetime of copyright well past the lifetime of the author, and is a benefit only to his distant heirs. It is an expense and a source of confusion and litigation to others.

    Canada could deal with this by amending the Copyright Act to specify that protection past the term of an individual copyright can be obtained by registering the character as a design, under the design act. This could be done any time during the term of the copyright, and priority should go to characters in the oldest copyrighted work in the rare case of a conflict.

    This is primarily a cost-avoidance strategy, to avoid the costs to business of a constantly increasing copyright term, or alternately the cost of fighting an extension of the lifetime of copyright, and finally of the legal costs of deciding whether material can regain copyright after once becoming part of the public domain.

    The advantage is that Canada will be seen as an enlightened country, having solved the problem of protecting “Mickey Mouse” without distorting the rest of copyright.

    The Copyright Act can be amended to refer applicants to the Design act, with the above tie-breaking mechanism, and the design act amended at leisure, to expand on the detailed process.

    Of course, this is by no means the only way that we might address the problem: a good legal draftsman could certainly think of better ones.