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[d@DCC] Pat Carney on Bill C-8

From: ag737 _-at-_ freenet.carleton.ca (Wallace J.McLean)
To: discuss (at) digital-copyright.ca
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2004 10:59:28 -0500 (EST)

From yesterday in the Senate:


Consequences of Removal of Clause 21

Hon. Pat Carney: Honourable senators, the Writers Union of Canada is
concerned about the removal of clause 21 from Bill C- 8, to establish the
library and archives of Canada, to amend the Copyright Act and to amend
certain acts in consequence. Clause 21 of the bill would have extended
copyright protection for the unpublished works of many Canadian authors,
such as Lucy Maud Montgomery, Stephen Leacock and World War I poet John
McCrae.

Senator Kirby has explained that this section of the bill was removed
because the copyright protection that was to be extended expired on
December 31, 2003. Had the bill passed through Parliament prior to this
date, the copyright extension provided in clause 21 would have remained.
However, the failure to pass the bill before this deadline meant that the
clause had to be removed and copyright protection lapsed.

Senator Kirby also explained that allowing clause 21 to remain would have
attempted to place copyright upon works that had already entered the
public domain as of December 31, 2003. I can empathize with the many
families of authors who have been affected by Parliament's inefficiency in
dealing with this matter.

Senator Kirby has advised that no national or international copyright
regime has successfully retroactively imposed copyrights on works that
have already entered the public domain. The Writers Union of Canada argues
that this is not the case and has provided me with two examples where
copyright has been retroactively applied after works have reached the
public domain.

First, the United Kingdom revived copyright in some public domain works in
1996 when it extended the period of copyright protection from 50 to 70
years after the author's death in order to allow the estates of authors
who had died between 50 and 70 years previously to benefit, as much as
possible, from the extended protection henceforth accorded to the works of
all deceased British authors.

When Canada joined the World Trade Organization, our own Copyright Act was
amended to establish copyright in certain performers' performances that
were previously in the public domain in Canada under section 32.4.

Now that the government has dropped the ball on copyright protection for
the works of these authors, where do we go from here? The Writers Union of
Canada suggests extending copyright protection for a further three years
in order to give rights holders and users an opportunity to discuss a more
reasonable transition period for affected authors, as this was the purpose
of clause 21 in Bill C-8. I encourage the government to do something to
rectify this difficult situation as soon as possible.


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