September 7, 1903

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

If my hon. friend wants to know if the papers will be allowed to steal this news, I would say that I think not, and that those who desire the privilege of stealing that news will be denied that privilege. Those who pay for the news have a right to copyright it. It has been the habit of newspapers in Canada to scissor other newspapers and not much complaint has been made, but to insist on having the right to do that is another story. I think the principle of copyrighting news for a short time is quite legitimate. I do not know but what

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L-C

Edward Hackett

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HACKETT.

the association will endeavour to have such a copyright, and it is quite fair.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

I think that the hon. minister is putting the case very strongly when he charges newspapers with stealing. I do not think he has the right to charge them with stealing news which has become common property, and has been so regarded for years. As the hon. gentleman stated in the early part of this discussion, after news is a few days old it is not of sufficient importance to be of value. I think the hon. member for South Waterloo (Mr. Clare) has asked a very proper question, namely if the government is assisting-and it is a very proper assistance in my mind-the great newspapers in this country to obtain news at the least possible cost under conditions of copyright which might create a monopoly. It seems to me that when the government are giving any assistance they should step in and protect the people's rights even in so remote a sense, by fixing the limit to which this copyright will extend. The hon. minister (Hon. Mr. Fielding) might withdraw the expression of which he made use when he said that the different newspapers of this country are guilty of stealing.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

If a ' A ' pays for goods with his honest money and ' B ' takes the goods, I am not particular by what name you call it, but we all know what it means. I am an old journalist, and I do not think that we find the press very sensitive in this regard. The question of copyright has not been discussed between the members of the committee and the government, but if they desire to copyright news for a reasonable time, I do not think it would be objectionable.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

The hon. gentleman is again evading the point entirely. How long will the public be excluded-I mean the weekly press that may not be in the position to contribute-from using this news ?

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

It is not a question of how long. I think if men put money into a service of this kind they should be protected.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

But there is a limit as to how long they slioulcf be allowed the exclusive use of the news.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

That is a matter which I am afraid will have to be left to be dealt with by government regulations. I would not like to say the exact number of hours over which the copyright should extend. As I said, we have not discussed the question of copyright with the committee, but if they desire to copyright, it is a proper thing for them to do.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

Will the government, under such conditions, feel it their duty to protect the public as to the time ?

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I am afraid my hon. friend will have to trust the government for that.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

I fear the hon. minister will have to pursue a different course before he can get my confidence.

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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

The hon. minister knows that a certain amount of information which is of interest to Canadians now finds its way into Canada through the American Associated Press service. That service will be very largely cut off if we have our direct cable, and it is a matter of importance that newspapers should have the right, after a certain time, to use that service ; six or eight or ten hours might be put in.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I think that should be provided. I do not think my hon. friend the Minister of Finance is right in saying that these newspapers are stealing news.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

It is well known in the trade.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

It is well known that it is extremely difficult for any weekly newspaper to receive any news by the payment of any reasonable amount of money, and I think that as it is intended to provide by regulations against most of the objections to this Bill, my hon. friend should take a note of the necessity of protecting the weekly newspapers in any regulations he should make. It should be provided that these weekly newspapers should have access to the news coming in say on Friday, on reasonable terms, and of the reasonableness of these terms the government should be the judge. I do not think it is a proper position to take that because these men are trustworthy men we should leave the whole arrangement to them. My hon. friend should go down to the province of Quebec, where in the country parts we have a saying that you must have confidence in every one and trust no one, and when we are legislating on a matter of this kind, I think we should provide for the protection of the weak as well as for the protection of the strong.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

There is no question between the weekly and daily papers at all ; the question is as likely to arise between one daily and another as between a daily and a weekly newspaper, because clipping is not confined to weekly newspapers, and to a reasonable extent copyright might be proper. On all these things if hon. gentlemen cannot trust to the judgment and discretion of members of the association, they must trust to the discretion of the government. Between the two the press will be protected.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

It would be well to provide for some return which might be laid before parliament as to the operation of this service, at any rate during the first year.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

There will he no difficulty on that score ; we will undertake to see that that is done.

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Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

If a newspaper uses only one half of an article does it pay only for what it uses ?

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

That would he entirely a matter between the association and the newspaper. What I imagine will happen is that newspapers will be classified by cities, and the newspapers in Toronto and Montreal will pay a certain sum. while papers in smaller towns will receive the same news for less. Whether they use it or not will be a matter for themselves to say. But all this is a matter of internal arrangement, and I would not speak too specifically.

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September 7, 1903