Monday, September 14, 2009

An Agenda for Posterity: Copyright and the Collective Canadian Past

The redoubtable Wallace McLean has posted here his erudite and meticulously documented brief for the Copyright Consultation process. Note the remarkable charts that show how active Canada has actually been in copyright revision over the years.

He states:
Contrary to popular myth, or, more to the point, the myth promulgated by proponents of ever-stronger copyright, the Canadian copyright regime is not archaic, antiquated, or out of date. It is true that the current Copyright Act traces its origin to 19211 (not, as is sometimes claimed, the 19th century.) However, the Copyright Act is also one of the most frequently amended pieces of federal legislation. The ink was barely dry on the 1921 act before it was amended2, and there have been forty other amendments to Canadian copyright laws in the decades since — one amendment approximately every two years.
By far the majority of these amendments have been in recent decades (seven in the 1980s, eleven in the 1990s, seven in the 2000s). In fact, between 1981 and 2005 inclusive, Canadian copyright laws were amended on an average once every eleven months. And not only has the pace of amendments steadily increased in recent decades, the scope of the amendments (as measured by the number of provisions amended, added, or repealed) has increased even more dramatically, as the following figures show.3
(Footnotes omitted)


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