different way, less than 2% of the current
derives, unaltered, from theact of 1921. There are some good reasons for amending the Act, yet again
being ―old‖ or ―out of date‖ are
not among those reasons.
2. Limitations to copyright have cultural and economic value.
There is no doubt that the existence of copyright is economically important,allowing copyright owners (who so desire) to monetize the works which they created(or o
therwise own). It also allows them, in a general sense, to ―control‖ their cultural
products, though only to the extent that this is possible in the real world, to theextent that they desire to do so, and within the metes and bounds of copyright andother laws.This last point is especially important. Copyright, other intellectual property rights,and other laws which govern the use of cultural material, for economic purposes orotherwise, are not unlimited. Copyright in particular is limited in scope (onlycertain cultural products are protected by copyright, and not others), breadth
(copyright consists of a specific ‗bundle‘ of rights, but not others, and there are
limitations on those rights), and extent (copyright is limited in time.)Limitations on copyright include the finite term of copyright protection; the lack of copyright protection in mere ideas, unoriginal works, or insubstantial portions of otherwise copyrighted works; and the statutory exemptions to what mightotherwise be construed as infringing acts. Copyright policy and its attendant lawsmust recognize that these limitations themselves have important cultural andeconomic value. To offer just a few examples:
A search of over 22-million listings for resale books on ABE-Advanced BookExchange, a British Columbia-based intermediary re-selling website, showsthat 3% of the listings are recent print-on-demand copies of sometimesclassic, but often obscure, public-domain works.
Digitization efforts such as canadiana.org and ourroots.ca rely on their
public-domain status to make thousands of historical sources available toCanadian researchers and students.
The Copyright Board has declined to issue licenses to users of works withunlocatable copyright owners, where no license is needed because the amountof copying is not substantial
, or because copyright no longer subsists in thework.
This has allowed published, museums, and other institutions topursue their own cultural activities which build on the cultural past.
Based on returns of searches made on abebooks.com the week of August 1-7, 2009.
See decisions of the Copyright Board in Files 2007-UO/TI-22 and 2003-UO/TI-21.
See decisions of the Copyright Board in Files 2005-UO/TI-36 and 2004-UO/TI-20.