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From: Rian Fennell
Sent: March 11, 2021 9:59 PM
To: copyrightconsultation / consultationdroitdauteur (PCH)
Subject: Copyright Consultation Response
I possess no professional or institutional background in this field; I am a commoner who happens to be an enthusiast of intellectual property law. The tone the following comments convey is generally reflective of such.
A registration/renewal requirement allows rightsholders to make mindful and selective decisions about the works they wish to continue exploiting. Such a requirement is not necessarily in violation of the principles of the Berne convention; even without such formalities, the standard term of Life plus 50 years still applies, no matter the Country of Origin of a given work. In addition, registration and renewal signify that a copyright owner asserts its intention to actively exploit a given work, or multitude thereof, commercially or otherwise, for the additional 20 years. As such, this registration cannot extend to unpublished works.
Furthermore, the time a creative work could be made available for renewal could be specified to a given number of years before the post mortem auctoris period ends, meaning that authors never need to concern themselves with the topic, only their designated heirs, and only when the specified time period arrives. For example, such a time period could be restricted to a period of up to two years before the year marking a work's eve of copyright expiration. In other words, speaking from the year 2022, rightsholders of published works whose last surviving authors died in 1973 or 1974 would be allowed to register any number of them for renewal, however, such works authors who died in 1972 will not be eligible, as they have reached the aforementioned "eve of expiration." This approach instigates decisive, yet considerate action on the part of the rightsholders while providing notice to the Canadian general public about which works are subject to the Life + 70 years term. Although the registration/renewal requirement means that it will no longer be the case where allcreative works are subject to the Life + 50 years term, 99.9% of creative works will continue to fall out of copyright under it.
Applying the provisions of Article 18 of the Copyright Act, the renewal shall extend the copyright term of a given work to Life + 70 Years or the copyright duration provided in the Country Of Origin of a given work, whichever is shorter. In other words, works that originate from Venezuela or India (which currently grant Life + 60 Years) that is registered in Canada would be granted a 10-year term extension, while those from Belarus, China, or New Zealand would not receive any term extension. In any case, the renewal requirements serve to promote copyright registration in Canada, particularly from foreign countries containing "work for hire" regimes, as it allows said hiring parties to, for the purposes of Canadian copyright law, recognize human authors of corporate-owned creative work.
Regarding the second proposal regarding remuneration models etc. contained within the consultation text, the scope of "libraries, archives, and museums" may be further broadened to include the general public. In this case, Canada would introduce the concept of Domain Public Payant or "Paying Public Domain"in a modified form. "Modified," meaning, that instead of being indefinite, it applies only for the last 20 years of the 70 -year post mortem auctoris period. This results in a work gracefully and more gently entering the Public Domain; by retaining the work's subjection to royalty but obviating the requirement for authorization from the relevant rightsholders, it actively facilitates creative use of the work in question by individuals and collective bodies alike, while ensuring relevant monetary dues are paid to entitled parties.
Commercial licensing would in turn become frictionless, in particular, if the term for moral rights conferred in Article 14.2 (1) remains unchanged.
Citing the intention of the Copyright Act, any and all amendments must consider the balance between authors, rightsholders, and consumers of creative works. There are moments in every person's life where they are professionals; a working, productive member of society, and those when they are private individuals; people relaxing, enjoying themselves, and nurturing their kin. Painters, musicians, and novelists, to say nothing of so-called "creative bots," are all people. The same applies to Members of Parliament, By simply imposing a 20-year long moratorium on copyright expiration, a select few collective bodies reap any tangible benefit, while the entirety of a nation's people, including those who represent those collective bodies, is deprived of a generation's worth of creative material. For this reason, all amendments to the Copyright Act must remain mindful of the impacts on the general public, as even those who propose them or enact them comprise it.