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From: Edward Hasbrouck
Sent: March 12, 2021 4:27 PM
To: copyrightconsultation / consultationdroitdauteur (PCH)
Subject: Comment of the National Writers Union (NWU)
The National Writers Union (NWU) welcomes the opportunity to participate in your consultation on how to implement Canada's CUSMA commitment to extend the general term of copyright protection.
The NWU is an independent national labor union that advocates for freelance and contract writers. The NWU includes local chapters as well as at-large members nationwide and abroad. It works to advance the economic conditions of writers in all genres, media, and formats. NWU membership includes, among others, book authors, journalists, business and technical writers, website and e-mail newsletter content providers, bloggers, poets, playwrights, editors, academic writers, and other media workers.
Most of the members of the NWU are in the U.S., but of course many works by NWU members and other U.S. residents are distributed in Canada. And, as your consultation paper notes, the rights in Canada of U.S. and other foreign authors are protected by the Berne Convention and other treaties.
Our concerns with this consultation relate particularly to orphan works.
According to the consultation paper, "Orphan works are works that are still under copyright protection, but in relation to which the copyright owner is not known or cannot be located.............. Absent special
legislative dispositions, orphan works.... cannot by definition provide remuneration to their owners, and
they cannot be reproduced or communicated to the public since there is no one to authorize such uses."
The claim that orphan works "cannot provide remuneration to their owners"
is unfounded, and the claim that this is so "by definition" is incorrect, profoundly misguided, and based on gross ignorance of the ways that authors distribute and earn income from orphan works.
Nothing in the definition of orphan works ("works that are still under copyright protection, but in relation to which the copyright owner is not known or cannot be located") excludes works that are being actively exploited. A growing and increasingly significant number of business models are available for exploitation of rights in ways that do not publicly disclose the identity and/or contact details of of the author.
Some of our members earn a significant portion of their income from orphan works. It is important that their rights be respected in any legislative provisions for uses of these works in ways that would compete unfairly with the ways that orphan works are currently being exploited.
The Web is worldwide. Placing a work on the Internet in Canada or anywhere in the world affects the value of worldwide rights to the work, regardless of the nationality of the author or where the world was first published.
We have attached a copy of the comments we submitted recently to U.S.
Senators in response to a discussion draft of possible U.S. legislation on this subject, which go into more detail about our concerns.
We thank you for the opportunity to contribute to your consultation and to your understanding of the potential impact of Canadian legislation on U.S.
and other foreign authors, including authors of orphan works. Sincerely,
+1-415-824-0214 (San Francisco)
Co-Chair, Book Division National Writers Union
Appeal and FAQ on "Controlled Digital Lending" (CDL):
Book Division Co-Chair: Aleah Barley
NWU National Office:
+1-212-254-0279 (New York)