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Rogue James Bond book to be published in Canada due to copyright term

04-Jul-2015 • Literary

Canada is one of the few Western countries where the copyright term of written work is 'Life + 50 Years', meaning a work stays within copyright 50 years after the death of its author. In the US, UK, and many other countries, the term is 'Life + 70' years.

Many expected the Canadian government to fall under pressure from literary estates and authors groups to extend the term to match most of the Western world. And they did, but only for audio recordings and performances. Books will still fall under the original 50 year term.

What does this mean for James Bond's rights holders? Big trouble in Canada. With the character of the literary James Bond seemingly in the public domain, it's open season for authors - although they can not legally release their work countries such as the UK and USA (until the 70 year term comes around, assuming it does not get extended again).

The first to take advantage of the Canadian copyright expiry are editors Madeline Ashby and David Nickle, who have compiled the short story collection 'Licence Expired: The Unauthorized James Bond'.

Short of drizzling it with maple syrup, the blurb goes out of its way to stress its Canadian legal status: "An anthology of collected stories from various Canadian authors, based on Ian Fleming's fourteen published Bond novels, edited by Canadian genre authors Madeline Ashby and David Nickle. To be published in Canada only."

The Canadian arm of Amazon has it available for pre-order for $19.99 CAD. Amazon will presumably ship worldwide, in breach of the copyright terms in other countries.

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