Monday, October 08, 2018

Crown Copyright "Outdated"?

Amanda Wakaruk, Copyright Librarian at the University of Alberta, recently published an article entitled Canada’s Crown Copyright: Outdated and unnecessary.

It appeared in Open Shelf, the journal of the Ontario Library Association.

Under s. 12 of the Copyright Act,  works “prepared or published by or under the direction or control of Her Majesty or any government department” belong to the Crown.

Like many other members of the library community, Wakaruk challenges the rationale for the continued existence of Crown copyright in Canada:
"Very few modern democracies restrict the reuse of government publications as tightly as Canada’s current regime. In fact, Canada might be the only country whose Crown copyright provision predates the First World War and allows for copyright to exist in perpetuity for unpublished government works. Section 12 of Canada’s Copyright Act was first written as a piece of UK legislation passed in 1911. And it’s long overdue for a re-write."

"The advent of digital publishing and the increased expectations related to the use and reuse of publicly available works has forced government information librarians into an awkward position. On one hand, from a technological perspective, they are now able to collect, collate, preserve, and share government publications directly from government websites. On the other hand, and from a legal perspective, they are only able to accomplish their traditional stewardship role by relying on exceptions to copyright infringement (without any supporting case law). That’s a legal risk few institutions are willing to take. And it comes with a deep social cost."
Earlier Library Boy posts on the issue include:


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:26 pm


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