Yes, and I must say that at first sight I was rather opposed to it; but the argument of the committee in their report, and the discussions that took place, convinced me that on the whole it was a fair proposition. Considerable exception was taken to it at first, but I see that it has been accepted by the imperial parliament, without any modification.
Our patent is only for 18 years. I might state very briefly the reasons for this term of copyright. It is to give fair and reasonable reward for really intellectual work. The contention is that a work that is not of great value will practically pass out of any advantages of copyright long before this period 'expires, and the existence of such copyright is no detriment to the public. In the case of a work of great value, which is generally produced when a man is mature or in advanced years, it is thought that his descendants ought to have a right to some advantage.
On section 6-license to republish or perform work in public granted by minister upon petition.
That has been done in England, and I must say that I do not quite see why the public should be deprived until the death of the author. In this country we are a little more liable to hurt if there were not this provision than they are in England, because it is quite possible that the author might not think it worth his while to publish a work for the small market in Canada, and this would give the public the right to secure the enjoyment of the work, of which we give copyright protection, and I think the public would have a right to it. In England they thought it was sufficient to do it after the death of the author, but I see no particular reason why we should wait for that. In the Act now in existence in Canada, in section 23, there is this provision, and I think it well to .maintain it and continue it for the future. . .
This is the same as the British Act with the exception of the last clause, clause 6. In the British Act there is no provision for the machinery of assignment. We have a provision requiring that the assignee shall fulfil the conditions of the law the same as the original owner of the copyright.
On section 13, penalties for dealing with pirated copies.
This corresponds practically with clause 11 of the English Act. The penalties are similar to those imposed in the Bill which this House passed two years ago, but which did not become law because not passed by the Senate. It was an amendment to the Criminal Code, and the criminal penalties are introduced into this Bill at the special request of a large number of people interested in copyright.
This is different from the English Act, and involves printing of the work in this country. In England, there is no such condition, they do not object to a work being printed abroad, provided it is published in England, and publication in England means simply sale. A foreigner may print his work in his own country, and if he sells half a dozen copies in England that gives him copyright. That is not the case in Canada, and consequently we prohibit importation.
I ought to explain that "this section, although it gives full rights as to-day existing, if an individual having such copyright at present does not fulfil the *conditions of the new Act, he will not reap the advantage of the longer period of the copyright. He would have the length of the copyright he had under the old Act.^ But if an author chose to fulfil the conditions of the new Act, he would then have the copyright for life and it would extend for the 50 years after the author is dead.
No, I think the hon. gentleman is quite right. An arrangement of this kind would mean a great deal to certain basses in the community, and I think the representatives of the people ought to have the final say. I did not intend to take this Bill out of committee to-day, and if my hon. friend would allow the clause to pass, before the final disposition of the Bill, I will draft a clause and add it.