Sunday, September 20, 2009

Twenty Years and Counting

2009 happens to be the twentieth anniversary year of two copyright institutions.

The Nigerian Copyright Commission recently celebrated its twentieth anniversary. The celebrations featured a visit from WIPO DG Francis Gurry.

It turns out the copyright discussions in Nigeria are even more dramatic than in Canada. Here is a report about all of the intrigue and plans for a week long hunger strike and a "No Music Day" to coincide with the public celebrations of the Commission's 29th anniversary and to wage war on piracy.

I doubt that there will be anything quite so intense in Canada to mark our Copyright Board's 20th anniversary or the current round of copyright consultations and possible revision. Even the recent Toronto town hall meeting, reportedly packed and stacked by the music industry, was apparently more restrained than recent events as reported in Nigeria.

Canada's Copyright Board also has now been existence for 20 years, since February 1, 1989. It is an institution with full time members and staff that has oversight of almost half a billion dollars worth of annual tariffs. It is the successor to the Copyright Appeal Board, which traces back to 1936 and which functioned for 63 years without any full time staff or members. Times have changed. Here's a snapshot of the Board in 2008 prepared by me for the Law Society of Upper Canada.


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