Mr. MACKENZIE KING:
May I ask
the minister whether the committee has considered the possible effect of this enactment upon the amount which a publishing house, say in the United States, would allow an author for the publication of his work? An American publisher will take work from a Canadian author because he is sure of having the market of the United States and the market of other countries as well. If this Bill goes into force, it limits to a certain extent the possible market that a publishing house may have, and, consequently, the amount which may be made on a contract.
Mr. DOHERTY The existence of this provision of law, which modifies the author s own right to the extent of subjecting it to the possibility of a license, may, of course, affect the value of that right when ha goes to sell it. It is a right affected by the existence of that law. It was, however, urged-and it seems to us that it has considerable force-that, while it may be perfectly true to-day, with no impediment in the way, the American publisher expects to get and insists on getting the rights in Canada of the book which he
buys from the author, if you had a situation such as this law creates where the publisher will know that he will be liable to come into competition with the holder of the license, but where he knows that the author cannot alter that situation, it is impossible that the publisher is going to say: " Then I will not buy the book."
Surely, the American publisher who buys a w'ork has principally in mind his immense market of 110,000,000 people, and it would seem to me a very exceptional case where the right to publish in Canada absolutely without restriction would loom so large in the transaction that the transaction would fall through. As to what the author might be paid, let me point out that if what he gets from the American publisher is reduced by the American publisher not getting the Canadian right, if this license is carried through, the author will get his compensation in Canada for the circulation in Canada; he will not foe deprived of that right without ample compensation. I am not suggesting that the author is left just as well off as if this clause did not exist. I have conceded that this is putting a limitation on the interests of the author. Might we not appeal to the author, the Canadian author in particular, not to be absolutely selfish, but to have some thought for the Canadian printer or publisher who has contributed his part to this book? Might not the author have some consideration for the publisher's interest, and even if this reduces, in some degree, the price that the author gets from the American publisher, is it an unfair thing, when we are taking all the pains that we are taking to protect the author's rights and to surround them with guarantees, to ask him to be willing to accept, without too great criticism, this provision? I may point this out also, that as the law now stands, notwithstanding the issue of this license, works may be imported from countries that are in the Copyright Union, and if we come to a satisfactory understanding with the United States, as we have every reason to expect, no doubt we shall be in a position to extend the privilege to the United States. In that case the American publisher will be able to sell those books in Canada. All that he will be called upon to submit to is competition with a Canadian publisher.
Subtopic: COPYRIGHT ACT AMENDMENT