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Copyright trivia #2: Who owns the copyright to the national anthem?

Have you ever wondered when watching a sports event on TV: who owns the copyright for the Canadian national anthem at the beginning of the show?

Companies pay millions of dollars for the rights to broadcast events like the Olympics and the Stanley Cup. Every bit of music, every logo, is (in theory) licensed for broadcast. But, who owns the copyright for the Canadian national anthem at the beginning of the show?

If you suspected the anthem is in the public domain, you are kind of right. The words and the melody are indeed free for all to use –in fact, the National Anthem Act declares this, precisely. however musicians can copyright their own arrangements of the anthem’s melody and words. What does this mean? That unless you arranged the anthem yourself, you would be infringing on someone else’s copyright if you just made reproductions of someone else’s recording of the anthem without their authorization.

The government of Canada makes available recordings of the anthem here.

 


Copyright touches everything around us – and right now the government is running a consultation to decide the future of Copyright in Canada. Make sure to learn more and make your voice heard at letstalkcopyright.ca