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[d@DCC] Bill C-8 (formerly C-36)
From: ag737 _-at-_ freenet.carleton.ca (Wallace J.McLean)
On Monday, debate resumed at second reading in the Senate on Bill C-8, formerly C-36, the Act to establish the Library and Archives of Canada, to amend the Copyright Act and to amend certain Acts in consequence. During debate, Sen. Laurier Lapierre (Lib.) said: "Honourable senators, I urge you to join me in giving this bill speedy passage. Already this bill has been subjected to numerous delays both here and in the other place. The only section of the former Bill C-36 that provoked debate is now obsolete. With the start of the New Year, the affected works are now in the public domain. Therefore, the amendments proposed to section 21 of the Copyright Act are no longer applicable and will now be dropped." Second reading debate concluded yesterday, and the bill was referred to Committee. During debate, Sen. David Tkachuk (Con.) said: "Why has the bill been reintroduced with the same Copyright Act amendments? It would appear that there could be one or two possible reasons for this. The government either intends to give retroactive copyright protection to those unpublished works, or it does not intend to do so and wants the Senate to delete the clauses in its consideration of this bill. The first possibility poses significant questions as to the legal and political ability of the government to extend copyright protection once it has been lost. The second possibility suggests that the government is just looking for a way to get around having to start from the beginning with this bill. The truth is that we do not know the intention of the government in this matter, perhaps because the government does not know itself. I do know that Senator LaPierre alluded to the fact that that section of the bill - section 28, I believe it is - on copyright would no longer exist. In fact, they did exist, and perhaps by getting rid of the copyright section it would become a new bill and they would have to start again at first reading in the House of Commons, because the substance of the bill would have changed to such an extent that it would not be allowed to fall back to where it normally should be. In the United States, every time the Walt Disney Company has been in danger of losing its copyright protection for its landmark animated movie, Steamboat Willy, it has successfully lobbied the U.S. Congress to change the term of copyright protection. I fear that a similar pattern may be established in our country with the L.M. Montgomery estate. It has successfully lobbied twice in the space of five years for the Department of Canadian Heritage to propose changes to our copyright laws, one of which was successful. Actually, the second one would also have been successful had Parliament not prorogued. The department has never pointed to another estate that has asked for similar changes. A one-time-only extension had already been given; an extension that benefited only the estates of authors who died before 1949, including Montgomery. How many more one-time-only extensions will be sought in the future? Honourable senators, it is difficult to know how to proceed with this bill until the government makes clear its intentions regarding the Copyright Act clauses. Last week's report from the Auditor General indicates that the National Library and National Archives are in desperate need of help. Merging these two institutions is one step towards improving their operations. However, the copyright changes attached to this bill must be clarified before we can proceed with what should have been the focus of this bill all along." The bill was then approved at Second reading and referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. It is probably a good measure to stress to the members of the committee the importance of striking s. 21 (not s. 28, as Sen. Tkachuk said) of the Bill, to reflect the fact that the materials in question have now expired from copyright in Canada, and to reflect the deleterious effects of retroactive revival of copyright status. The members of the Senate committee, and their email addresses, are as follows: Kirby, Michael Chair - Lib. email@example.com LeBreton, Marjory Deputy-Chair - C firstname.lastname@example.org Callbeck, Catherine S. - Lib. email@example.com Cook, Joan - Lib. firstname.lastname@example.org Cordy, Jane - Lib. email@example.com Fairbairn, Joyce - Lib. firstname.lastname@example.org Keon, Wilbert Joseph - C email@example.com Léger, Viola - Lib. firstname.lastname@example.org Morin, Yves - Lib. email@example.com Robertson, Brenda - C firstname.lastname@example.org Roche, Douglas - Ind. email@example.com Rossiter, Eileen - C firstname.lastname@example.org -- For (un)subscription information, posting guidelines and links to other related sites please see http://www.digital-copyright.ca
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