As of January 1, 2015, the character James Bond is in the public domain in Canada.
And we, as Canadians, should be taking advantage of that shit.
Let's back up for a moment: what changed as of January 1st? Well, Ian Fleming, author of the original Bond series, passed away back in 1964. International copyright is a notoriously tricky subject, but Canada, which follows the original Berne Convention rule of "the life of the creator +50 years", still has some of the more lenient copyright laws in the world. That means that the original character of James Bond as created in the novels of Ian Fleming (but, importantly, not the later film character of James Bond) now exists in the Canadian public domain.
It's important to note that the James Bond character is still a copyrighted property of the Fleming estate in the US and Britain. This map on Wikipedia is particularly interesting, showing that most of Europe, the US, Australia, and many others have adopted a more stringent life +70 years copyright law. In the US, the adoption of longer copyright laws was largely due to the aggressive governmental lobbying of the Disney corporation. If the original "life of the author +50 years" rule of thumb had stayed in place in the States, lucrative characters like Mickey Mouse created by Walt Disney, who died in 1966, would fall into the public domain as early as January 2017. Given the flexible state of current American copyright laws, exemptions and loopholes keep getting created by Congress so that practically no lucrative properties ever hit the American public domain.
But up here? It's the wild west of copyright laws, baby!
So what does that mean for James Bond in Canada? Well, it means that we can all write our own legal James Bond stories if we feel like it. I can walk up to a publisher right now, and say "hello, here's my novel where the world-famous spy James Bond fucks around Saskatchewan, drinking Molson and watching curling." And I'd be able to publish that shit, legally, in exchange for real dollars! (Or at least, for increasingly shitty Canadian dollars. THANKS A LOT, OPEC.)
The point is, I want all of you Canadians reading this to start publishing original works about James Bond. I want to read your tales of James Bond traveling across Canada and solving mysteries, not unlike the Littlest Hobo. Go ahead and flood the market with legal James Bond knock-offs. What's the point of having lenient copyright laws if we can't take advantage of them?
After all, Ian Fleming does owe it to us. He did learn everything he knew about espionage from his training right here in Whitby, Ontario!
Quoting here from the travel site CanadaCool:
During WWII there was a secret agent training camp here called 'Camp X'. It was located right on the shore of Lake Ontario where it could be reached discreetly at night by water from the USA. One of the spy trainees was Bond author Ian Fleming, who went on to create the famous James Bond '007' character using knowledge he acquired here. Fleming couldn't be accommodated at the camp the whole time during his stay, so part of the time he stayed at a military residence in Toronto at 1107 Avenue Rd, across the street from Saint James Bond United Church. This may be where Fleming picked the name.
OK, so that last tidbit might be a little on the fanciful side. Yes, there used to be a St. James-Bond Church in Toronto, formed from the union of of a church called St. James Square and another called Bond Street. And sure, Fleming was rumoured to have at least stayed or visited near the location of the church, so it's possible the name "James Bond" was engrained in his mind from that church sign. But factoids like this should always be taken with a grain of salt. Even if the name "St. James Bond Church" was buried deep in Fleming's subconcious as he became a spy novelist, I'll opt with the conventional story - that Fleming named his famous spy after ornithologist James Bond.
Alright, alright - that's enough obscure Canadian trivia for now, sorry guys.
Let's just make some legal James Bond fiction!
POTENTIAL CANADIAN JAMES BOND TITLES:
- From Regina With Love
- Bacon Not Stirred
- Dr. No Medical Insurance
- On Her Governor General's Secret Service
- Thunderbay Ball
- The Mountie Who Loved Me
- Casino Montroyale
- The Man With The Golden Horseshoe
- A View To A Kelowna
- Leafs And Let Die
FEEL FREE TO CONTRIBUTE YOUR OWN CANADIAN JAMES BOND TITLES, THAT SHIT IS LEGAL