Thursday, 17 September 2009

WJM on copyright

Wallace J McLean, who make frequent comments on this blog, has provided input to the federal consultation on copyright. I am especially pleased to see him address the orphan publication question. Here are the main points of the intervention, available in full at

1. There should be no extension of any copyright term currently provided for in the Act.

2. Crown copyright should be abolished, or…

3. … at very least the perpetual copyright in unpublished Crown works should be abolished, and

a. with a shorter term than the one adopted in the United Kingdom.
b. without a ―transitional‖ period, so that a public domain in historical government records will come into being immediately.

4. Address the growing orphan works problem

a. by clarifying the rules concerning copyright term in marginal cases.

b. by providing that there is no copyright in the absence of a copyright owner.

c. by extending the scope of the existing ―unlocatable‖ licensing regime.

d. by removing the collectives from the administration of ―unlocatables‖

5. Close the discrepancy in the copyright term between published and unpublished works by the same author earlier than the currently-provided transition date of 2049. Canada should also urge the United Kingdom, and any other country which inherited a similar problem from British copyright law, to do the same.

6. Recognize, and address, the very real problem of determining the ownership of copyright, and its very subsistence, in respect of photographic works.

7. Recognize, and address, the legitimate interests of the subjects or commissioners of domestic photographs to not only estop the use of the resulting image, but to positively use those images.

8. Allow for, and encourage, the collection and preservation of digital cultural materials, by removing any doubt about the copyright legality of such curatorial activities by cultural institutions.

9. Attach any legal recognition and protection for technological protection measures to the protection of copyright itself, so that there is no infringement of TPMs unless there is infringement of copyright (or a copyright to infringe).

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