June 16, 1954

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James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell:

May I just read briefly from section 36 and confirm my understanding that there is a register. Subsection 1 of section 36 of the Copyright Act reads as follows:

Every register of copyrights under this act shall be prima facie evidence of the particulars entered therein and documents purporting to be copies of any entries therein or extracts therefrom, certified by the commissioner of patents or the registrar of copyrights, and sealed with the seal of the copyright office, shall be admissible in evidence in all courts without further proof or production of the originals.

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James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell:

Is that a proper and normal way of proceeding or is it not? The Secretary of State a year ago seemed to me to cast doubt on that method and it is for the purpose of being clear on it that I am raising the question.

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John Whitney Pickersgill (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I think it is a convenience that anyone can use who wants to do so. A professional writer would do it, I imagine, almost automatically; but I doubt whether the hon. member for Greenwood has ever taken the trouble to copyright his speeches.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I understand that they

belong to him and if someone reproduces them without his permission he would have a cause of action. Whether or not the courts would decide that the damages were great, I do not know. I would think they would consider that far from its being a damage, it was an advantage to him. I know that that is the view I take. If anybody, even the hon. member for Kamloops, will repro-

6110 HOUSE OF

Supply-Secretary of State duce to a larger audience the things I have said to an audience of one, in my view it is free advertising.

But to come back to the point and to be a little bit more serious about this matter, may I say this. My understanding is that the registration of copyright is simply to facilitate the proving of ownership. It has been suggested that there is, in the music-producing world, a combine or combination which, if a composer does not belong to it, is able to make it almost impossible for the composer to get any profit out of any music composed in Canada. Whether or not this is true I have no means of knowing. I have no doubt that the people who make that allegation will make representations to the Ilsley commission, that the people against whom the allegations are made will attempt to rebut them and that, in the next year or two, we shall have something to guide us in this matter which I confess I have not at the present time.

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Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

I do not wish to give any wider publicity to the remarks of the Secretary of State, but I appreciate the remarks he has made. Is the hon. gentleman in a position to give us a progress report? Is there anything on which he would desire to report progress with respect to the commission recently established?

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John Whitney Pickersgill (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Well, I understand that Chief Justice Ilsley is coming to Ottawa on Saturday to hold the first meeting of the commission which, considering it was only appointed on the 10th is, I believe, rather expeditious, and what hon. members would expect of Chief Justice Ilsley.

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Jean-Thomas Richard

Liberal

Mr. Richard (Ottawa East):

I want to say a word to confirm what the Secretary of State has just said about copyrights. He is perfectly correct that under the act a copyright subsists in any original artistic, literary or scientific work and that the registration is just a convenience to prove prima facie in court ownership of the copyright. It also must be used, under a further provision of the act, in the case of a licensee who wants to claim damages from the original author.

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Ellen Louks Fairclough

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Fairclough:

I really had not intended to enter this discussion tonight but I do have in a file on my desk the correspondence which I had with the department subsequent to my inquiry of last year, and I cannot conceive what good the registration is if the registry office does not keep a record of the actual content of the work, manuscript or whatever

FMr. Pickersgill.]

it may be. In circular No. 105, which was sent to me as an example, the final paragraph reads as follows:

Copies of the works are not required for registration of copyright and, if received, they will he returned to the sender.

I know from experience that is not the case in Washington. If you have a musical work you make a copy of it, send it to Washington and register it there. If my memory serves me correctly, you are protected for something like twenty years. I am not a lawyer either so I find it a little difficult to wade through all this stuff, but as nearly as I can tell all you can register in Canada is a name. You write to the department and say: I have a composition which I call "All of the King's Men". They say: "All right, that is yours, nobody has that name ahead of you and you are protected on that name". But it could cover Beethoven's fifth symphony or anything else as far as the department is concerned. There is not a thing on record to indicate to them what it covers.

Consequently the person who seeks to protect his own composition is not protected at all because anyone can say that it is not the composition he has protected under that name. That is something that I think should be corrected. I think our own composers should be protected against the stealing of their works.

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John Whitney Pickersgill (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I will make a point of bringing the remarks of the hon. member to the attention of Chief Justice Ilsley and I am sure they will be considered.

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Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

I hope that private members on the government side will observe the precedent established by the hon. member for Ottawa East and correct, enlarge upon and direct the remarks of cabinet ministers in the future.

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Edward Turney Applewhaite (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

Shall the item carry?

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John Alpheus Charlton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Charlton:

There is one point which I think the Secretary of State should explain. It seems quite obvious that there is quite a considerable increase in postage for each item in his department. The increase amounts to some $6,860 in all, and with the exception of two items where postage is not mentioned there is quite an increase in each one. Will the minister explain why that increase is necessary?

Supply-Secretary of State

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John Whitney Pickersgill (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I hope it is not because of Mr. Charlton: I take it that this is for mail all the mail I send to Newfoundland. sent outside of Canada. Is that true?

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John Alpheus Charlton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Charlton:

Of course that is not an explanation. When the cost of postage goes up from nothing to $3,500 in one case there is a reason for it.

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John Whitney Pickersgill (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I understand it is because of a change in the accounting system of the Post Office Department. They used to provide the service free and now they charge it to the government departments.

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June 16, 1954