May 25, 1921

UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

Would it not be necessary to define the meaning of "edition"? How many constitute an "edition"?

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

The author himself is the judge of the number.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

We fix the number as being an edition.

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UNI L
UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

I think that comes under sub-clause 12.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I did not grasp the suggestion. Is it that we should define how many copies should be looked upon as an edition?

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

It seems to me the remainder of your clause is dependent upon that. You say if he has published an edition already he shall have the right to protect himself. The question immediately arises how many copies constitute an "edition." I do not want to be too critical in the matter but I think it would be necessary to define the term. A man may publish a dozen copies and he may call that an edition. There should be some definition of what constitutes an edition.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

The word " edition " is very often confounded with the word " reprint." An edition is technically where an author revises his book and issues a second edition, but very often some of these books have ten, twenty or thirty reprints. The first edition may consist of one thousand or three thousand copies. Then there would be in a month or so another reprint of five thousand copies

and it goes on like that. There is no definition to distinguish clearly between what is called a reprint, and an edition where the author makes a revision and perhaps adds some new matter.

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L LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR (Guysborough) :

Subclause 7 of Section 13 gives to the publisher the right to publish not only an edition but as many editions as he may wish to publish for five years. For example it reads:

Such license when issued shall entitle thf licensee to the sole right to print and publish such book in Canada during such term, no exceeding five years or for such edition or edi tions as may be fixed by the license.

The license, of course, will deal with the question as to how many editions he has published. I wish to draw to the attention of the minister that he has not dealt with the main Objection made on 'behalf of the authors. I expected to hear him say something on the principle of withdrawing from the writer the sole and complete control of the book or serial produced by himself, and I think we ought to have some information from the minister on that point. Neither the publisher nor any one else assists the writer, the book is the product of his own brain, and he has the same right as the maker of any article has always had to sell it to whom he pleases; in other words, he has the right to control what belongs to him and to no one else; but we are removing from the author this control. I have before me a petition which was addressed by Thomas Carlyle to the British House of Commons in 1839 on the Coypright Bill then under consideration, and I think it would not be out of place for me to read it, because it expresses I believe, the view of Canadian authors on this matter. This is the petition:

Petition on the Copyright Bill (1839)

To the Honourable the Commons of England in Parliament assembled, the Petition of Thomas Carlyle, a Writer of Books,

Humbly showeth.

That your petitioner has written certain books, being incited thereto by various innocent or laudable considerations, chiefly by the thought that said books might in the end be found to be worth something.

That your petitioner had not the happiness to receive from Mr. Thomas Tegg, or any Publisher, Republisher, Printer, Bookseller, Book-buyer, or other the like man or body of men, any encouragement or countenance in writing of said books, or to discern any chance of receiving such; but wrote them by effort of his own and the favour of Heaven.

That all useful labour is worthy of recompense ; that all honest labour is worthy of the chance of recompense; that the giving and assuring to each man what recompense his

labour has actually merited, may be said 1o be the business of all Legislation, Polity, Government, and Social Arrangement whatsoever among men;-a business indispensable to attempt, impossible to accomplish accurately, difficult to accomplish without inaccuracies that become enormous, insupportable, and the parent of Social Confusions which never altogether end.

That your petitioner does not undertake to say what recompense in money this labour of his may deserve; whether it deserves any recompense in money, or whether money in any quantity could hire him to do the like.

That this his labour has found hitherto, in money or money's worth, small recompense or none ; that he is by no means sure of its ever finding recompense, but thinks that, if so, it will be at a distant time, when he, the labourer, will probably no longer be in need of money, and those dear to him will still be in need of it.

That the law does at least protect all persons in selling the production of their labour at what they can get for it, in all market-places, to all lengths of time. Much more than this the law does to many, but so much it does to all, and less than this to none.

That your petitioner cannot discover himself to have done unlawfully in this his said labour of writing books, or to have become criminal, or have forfeited the law's protection thereby. Contrariwise your petitioner believes firmly that he is innocent in said labour; that if he be found in the long run to have written a genuine enduring book, his merit therein, and desert towards England and English and other men, will be considerable, not easily estimable in money; that on the other hand, if his book proves false and ephemeral, he and it will be abolished and forgotten, and no harm done.

That, in this manner, your petitioner plays no unfair game against the world; his stake being life itself, so to speak (for the penalty is death by starvation), and the worlds stake nothing till once it sees the dice thrown; so that in any case the world cannot lose.

That in the happy and long-doubtful event *ft the game's going in his favour, your petitioner submits that the small winnings thereof do belong to him or his, and that no other mortal has justly either part or lot in them at all, now, hence forth or forever.

May it therefore please your Honourable House to protect him in said happy and long-doubtful event; and (by passing your Copyright Bill) forbid all Thomas Teggs and other extraneous persons, entirely unconcerned in this adventure of his, to steal from him his small winnings, for a space of sixty years at shortest. After sixty years, unless your Honourable House provide otherwise, they may begin to steal.

And your petitioner will ever pray.

Thomas Carlisle.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I should like to have some reason from the minister to show that it is the right of the House of Commons to interfere with the author's absolute control of his own works. This Bill professes to give a license to some person to publish the work of the author, whether the author is willing or not. It strikes me that any person wishing to publish a book should come to the author for leave to do so, and that the author ought to have

complete control over the product of his own labour.

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UNION

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Unionist

Mr. MORPHY:

Referring to the suggestion of the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's as to defining the number of hooks that would constitute an edition, I see a great deal of difficulty. Sub-section (c) of the interpretation clause reads:

"book" shall include every volume, part or division of a volume, pamphlet, sheet of letterpress, sheet of music, map, chart, or plan separately published.

Now the word "book" is used in subsection 12 of section 13, hut it means all these things, and although it might he found that an edition of 500 copies would he all right for a book, it might be all wrong for a map, chart or plan or other particular work that would not be readily sold. So to my mind it is very difficult to set down any specific number that must of necessity constitute an edition.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

I notice that subsection 3 of section 13 refers, for different purposes, to an edition of not less than 1,000 copies. I do not press the point, but t. seems to me that if the word "edition" is not defined somewhere the law may be easily evaded. However, I am content to call the minister's attention to it.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

I think there are a great many places where some changes might very well be made, but until this legislation has been in operation for a year or two I do not think it would be possible to come to a final decision on many of these controversial points. There is no doubt we need some such law. The United States by their legislation have attracted a great deal of the world's book printing, and we must do something to keep the printing of the works of our own authors in Canada. That is what we are legislating for.

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Amendment agreed to.


LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret

Liberal

Mr. RINFRET:

To dispel the impression that this clause is the result of a compromise between the authors and the publishers, I would point out that it cannot be, for the simple reason that the authors object to the system, as they did in the days of Carlyle, which my hon. friend from Guysborough (Mr. Sinclair) has pointed out. I do not want to press the point unduly because we are very anxious to have the Bill passed, and, besides, we have the promise that it will not be put in force except by proclamation. But I still think it wrong to pass the Bill with the clauses to which we object, and I feel confident

that the minister will find out that they are in contravention of the Berne Convention, and that he will have to do away with them if we wish to adhere to that convention.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

If I find I have to do that, I will. In saying it was a compromise, I did not mean to suggest that it was a compromise reached by the authors and publishers after a conference. It was a compromise effected by the committee between the respective contentions; I did not mean to say more than that. I have great respect for Carlyle, and I have the most profound sympathy for the widest interpretation of the author's right. But I may, perhaps, take the opportunity of pointing this out to the authors, that at common law they had no copyright at all -at least that was, I think, the predominant opinion. I had occasion to go into this question very carefully some years ago in a case where the point directly arose, and I felt compelled to decide that outside of statutes there was no copyright. Mind you, we are dealing not with the ownership of the manuscript, not of the ownership of the work itself, but with the question of what happens after a man has given, by way of publishing it, his work to the public. It is not so absolutely obvious that after a man has written a work and distributed it to the public he has a right to the produce of all the copies. So far as his work is a money producer and gives him an income, the community contributes to it. His work, as he wrote it, does not put money into his pocket unless the community purchases it, and he cannot get it to the community and get money for it unless somebody prints and publishes it. Now, I would suggest to the authors that if they want to preserve the sympathy which I am sure all right-minded people have with their demand that their rights be given the widest possible interpretation consistent with the public interest, they do not take too uncompromising an attitude and say to this Parliament, for instance, or to any other legislative body: You must think of nobody else but me in regard to that work and to all the copies of it, although other people contribute to produce the copies; nobody is to have any consideration from Parliament except me, the author. Now, that is not ah attitude that is going to preserve sympathy or gain it for the authors. I approach this legislation with every imaginable sympathy for the author, but I am free to say that I think the author who [Mr. Kinfret.j

takes exception to these licensing clauses, with all the safeguards that are put around them to see that he suffers no injury, is not in any more reasonable position than would be the proprietor of some other kind of property who would rise in revolt because his property was expropriated for the public interest and the public benefit, he getting ample compensation. We all submit to that, though our right to property in other things is just as absolute as the author's right can be in the work that he produces. I suggest that it is not wise or in his interests that the author should take this extreme position; it is of a nature to bring about opposition on the part of people who certainly have interests which conflict with the recognition of that principle. But apart from that, this Bill improves very materially the position of the author. Let us get for the author this substantial step in advance. Perhaps we may be able to go further as time goes on, but let us get now what can be got.

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

In addition to what the minister has said, the situation might perhaps be described as follows: if an author has written a book, has put it away, and locked it up in his desk, there is no question involved of the right of eminent domain; it remains and will remain his personal property and he may do what he likes with it. But if he sees fit to copyright it in some other country and in Canada as well, and if he publishes it in some other country but not in Canada, then the minister will have to ask himself whether there is any good reason why that book, having been published in other countries, should not also be printed and published in Canada. I cannot see that a provision of this kind can be construed as, unfair or unreasonable so far as the rights of the author are concerned. I would, however, make this suggestion to the minister: there is language here which unaccompanied by the context would indicate that an imperative duty is cast upon the minister; there is other language which indicates that that imperative duty is to be discharged by him subject to such terms and conditions as may seem to him fair and reasonable. Above all things, it seems to me desirable that we should make the section plain. I think it would be made perfectly plain if the minister would consent to add in the thirty-fourth line, clause 13, page 8, the words: "in his discretion," so that the section will then read:

The minister in his discretion may grant to the applicant a license to print and publish such book upon terms to be determined by the Minister after hearing the parties or affording them such opportunity to be heard as may be fixed by the regulations.

The addition of these words would, I think meet the position so far as the author is concerned and is thoroughly consistent with what follows. Without their addition,

I am really not quite clear as to what the section would mean.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I shall be glad to accept the suggestion of the right hon. member. I move to amend subsection 5 of section 13 by adding after the word "minister" in line thirty-four, the words "in his discretion."

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Amendment agreed to.


L LIB
UNION

Robert Laird Borden

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

The other

amendment was carried. The addition of these words will preclude the necessity of another amendment which I had intended to move, namely, that where a book has already been suppressed the minister should not grant any license. In view of the amendment which has just been assented to, the minister is perfectly at liberty to say that no license should be granted in such a case.

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May 25, 1921