May 25, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)


Mr. H. M. MO WAT@Parkdal'e

Yes, 2 cents on each disc. The particular manufacturer in Canada has not to pay more than 2 cents. If the disc goes first to another country and it is shown that 2 cents, or whatever sum it is, has been paid, then there will be nothing further to pay. The author is compensated by the two cents paid in any country; that is supposed to be sufficient for him, and I
think that sum, which is found agreeable in the United States, will be found suitable and agreeable in Canada for authors for their songs.
The impulse for this legislation seems to have come first from those people who were not protected before. We have a very anomalous state of affairs in Canada as regards the copyright law, and it is this. While we were authorized as a Dominion to deal with "Copyright" matters, and while we did so in 1875, the Act of that year containing this printing clause. In a case of Smiles, the author against Belford in 1874 or 1875, as reported first in the Ontario Court of Appeal, it was held by the Privy Council that we could not prevent a British author from ignoring that provision. Therefore, until now we have had in Canada two laws, one the English law of 1842 which is declared to be in force as regards British authors, and our own Act, and there is a conflict owing to the decisions of the courts which has made the law uncertain. It is only as cases arise that the law can be made clear. This shows the importance of getting this legislation as soon as possible on the statute book. The situation is very much as described by the Royal Commission on Copyright in 1878, which describes the law in Britain as follows:
The law at present is already destitute of any sort of arrangement incomplete, often obscure and even when it is intelligible upon long study, it is in many parts so ill-expressed that no one, who does not give much study to it can expect to understand it. Obscurity of style however, is only one of the defects. Their arrangement is often worse than their style Of this the Copyright Act of 1842 is a conspicuous instance.
The same remarks would apply, it seems to me, to the copyright law of Canada which has been the despair of judges and lawyers for many years. If we can pass this legislation, we will largely do away with those difficulties. I agree with the remarks made by the right hon. gentleman who is in charge of the Bill, that this is a sincere effort to bring the two parties together. I think that has been done and that this legislation may be favourably received by the committee.

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