The Compleat Canadian Copyright Act: Present, Past & Proposed Provisions

1710 - 2018

ISBN 978-0-9921335-1-1

Compiler Press

In the Public Domain subject only to my moral right to the integrity of the work and its paternity.

THIS is a reference work documenting the legislative history of copyright in Canada.  It begins with the Statute of Queen Anne passed by the Imperial Parliament in 1710, the same year as the Imperial Conquest of the French colony of Acadia, parts of which now form the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.  It ends as the Act was January 1, 2018.  The shifting power balance of interests between creators, users, proprietors, Parliament and foreign interests is reflected in the changing provisions of the Act.    This is the legislative record of attempts to accommodate new technologies that fix the expression of ideas, a.k.a., knowledge, in a new material matrix creating a new ‘work’ to which protection has been progressively extended, e.g., photographs, piano rolls, ‘talking’ pictures, radio, television, VCRs, DVDs, WWW, et al.  In the process new streams of royalties are created and eagerly sought after. 

The work is timely in that Parliamentary Review of the Copyright Act has been initiated while a study of the Copyright Board is underway. It is ‘Compleat’ in that it provides provenance of the Act, subsection by subsection, from 1921 to January 1, 2018.  It is, however, incomplete in that it does not provide such in-depth coverage from 1710 to 1921, the record of parliamentary debate or case law.

The Work

The work consists of nine separately numbered units to facilitate updating.

A - Introduction

The Introduction previews the work including necessary legislative terminology, summaries of its 9 distinct units, the work's limitations and summary conclusion.

B - Statutory Chronologies

Four chronologies are presented.  The first reports 59 Imperial Copyright & Performing Rights statutes passed by the Imperial Parliament.  Each citation includes the title and date of passage as well as the date of amendment or repeal.  The first entry is the Statute of Queen Anne (8 Anne, c.19) passed in 1710 and the last is the Imperial Copyright Act of 1911 (1 & 2 George V, c. 46).  The later consolidated over 200 years of Imperial statutes and liberated the Canadian Copyright Act from the authority of the Imperial Privy Council.

The second chronology reports 36 Provincial Copyright & Performing Rights statutes and Imperial Orders in Council from 1832 to 1949.  The first entry is an 1832 statute of the Province of Lower Canada entitled An Act for the protection of Copy Rights, (S.L.C. 1832, 2 Will IV,  c. 53), the last, the 1926 Newfoundland Newspaper and Book Act (Consolidated Statutes, c. 15, 17 Geo. V, c. 15).  Newfoundland was subject to the Imperial Copyright Act of 1911 until it joined Confederation in 1949.

The third chronology reports 26 Canadian Copyright and Performing statutes, Bills and Imperial Orders in Council from Confederation in 1867 to 1919.  The first entry is the British North America Act of 1867 formally entitled An Act for the Union of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, and the Government thereof; and for Purposes connected therewith (Imperial Parliament 30 & 31 Vic., c. 3).  The last entry is a 1919 Senate Bill entitled An Act Respecting Copyright (13th Parliament, 2nd Sess, June 27).  Relevant highlights of each statute, bill and Order in Council are reported.

The fourth chronology reports 84 Canadian statutes and bills between 1921 and 2018 including relevant highlights.  The first entry is the initial ‘made-in-Canada’ Copyright Act - An Act to amend and consolidate the Law relating to Copyright (S.C. 1921, c. 24, 11-12 George V) - which, among other things, repealed all copyright enactments of the Imperial Parliament still operative in Canada.

C - The Act as of S.C. 2016, c. 4: 1921-2018

Present, Past & Proposed Provisions

This is the heart of the work documenting the Canadian Copyright Act subsection by subsection from 1921 to 2018.  It provides the provenance of each subsection as it currently stands as Law, as it was in the past and as it was proposed to be.  Arguably, S.C. 2012, c. 20 - The Copyright Modernization Act - represents completion of Phase III of a copyright reform process initiated by the government of the day with S.C. 1988, c. 15.

D - The Act as of S.C. 1997, c. 24

This Part reflects completion of Phase II of copyright reform.  An Index by subsection is provided, exclusive of Compulsory & Serial Licensing, ss. 15-26.

E - The Act as of S.C. 1988, c. 15

This Part reflects completion of Phase I of copyright reform.  An Index by subsection is provided, exclusive of Making in Canada of Records, ss. 29-33.

F - The Act as of R.S. 1985, c. C-42

This Part reflects the Act before commencement of contemporary copyright reform.  An Index by subsection is provided, exclusive of R.S. 1985 (1988), c. 10 (4th Supp.), s. 7;  R.S. 1985 (1987), c. 1 (3rd Supp.), s. 13; R.S. 1985 (1987), c. 41 (3rd Supp.), ss. 116-117

G - Benchmark Recommendations

Debate over copyright reform began in earnest a decade before the three phase reform process began.  To provide insight into preliminary debate the recommendations of four major studies are reported by subsection of the Copyright Act as of S.C. 2016, c.4.  The four reports are:

1977 - Copyright in Canada: Proposals for a Revision of the Law (Keyes/Brunet Report)

1984 - From Gutenberg to Telidon: A White Paper on Copyright: Proposals for the Revision of the Canadian Copyright Act

1985 - A Charter of Rights for Creators

1986  - Government Response to the Report of the Sub-Committee Report on Revision of Copyright

H - Canadian Multilateral Copyright& Related Agreements

Copyright reform in Canada is driven not just by domestic concerns but also by Canada’s international obligations.  These are contained in 20 multilateral agreements and their associated protocols.  An Index by subsection is provided for each.  In addition to the 2014 Canada-European Union: Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement (CETA) they include the 2011 Anti-Countefeiting in Trade Agreement (ACTA), the 1988 Canadian-United States Free Trade Agreement and the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA),  2 United Nations agreements plus associated protocols, 6 UNESCO agreements, 5 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) agreements and 2 World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements.  For the text, fully titled and indexed, of such agreements including those to which Canada is a party, please see our sister publication: The Compleat Multilateral Copyright & Related Agreements, Conventions, Covenants & Treaties 1886-2016, 2nd edition, August 31, 2016, ISBN 978-9921335-0-4.

I – Other Compiler Press Publications

This is a listing of other publications available from Compiler Press treating intellectual and cultural property in the global village.


Dr. Harry Hillman Chartrand, PhD

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