3.522 markup and copyright (94)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Sat, 30 Sep 89 21:01:27 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 522. Saturday, 30 Sep 1989.

(1) Date: Fri, 29 Sep 89 22:19:38 CDT (14 lines)
From: "Michael S. Hart" <HART@UIUCVME>
Subject: Re: 3.517 marking variants (78)

(2) Date: Fri, 29 Sep 89 21:48:18 MDT (59 lines)
From: "Stephen R. Reimer" <SREIMER@UALTAVM>
Subject: Canadian Copyright and Special Media

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 89 22:19:38 CDT
From: "Michael S. Hart" <HART@UIUCVME>
Subject: Re: 3.517 marking variants (78)

I checked with Prof. Rath on Bob Kraft's suggestion on an e-text of
variations. He said he did not know how any copyright issues could
arise concerning Shakespeare, at least authentic language versions,
since so many variations appear in the Variorem. I suppose that is
why Oxford put out the modern language edition, among other reasons
for the advantage of copyright protection. I had thought only that
part of a book which was original was protected, as in the comments
make about Shakespeare.

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------67----
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 89 21:48:18 MDT
From: "Stephen R. Reimer" <SREIMER@UALTAVM>
Subject: Canadian Copyright and Special Media

I am curious whether the situation of the Canadian National Institute of the
Blind with regard to copyright might have implications for the making of
electronic versions of texts and other "academic" uses of copyright materials
in Canada. An article in the this month's issue of the Canadian Library
Association newsletter, "Feliciter," tells how CANCOPY--the national photocopy
collective--(after prodding by the Writer's Union of Canada) tried recently
to collect a royalty fee from CNIB for their "Books on Tape": CNIB refused and
challenged CANCOPY's right (and that of the Copyright Act itself) to limit
access to information when no "commercial usage" is involved (that is, as a
letter by Helen Perry of the CNIB is quoted as saying, "a use that neither
creators nor publishers in Canada seem to have any interest in pursuing
commercially"; another CNIB official, Barbara Freeze, is quoted as saying, "We
are not in any way competing with the creator's market"). CNIB is now
awaiting CANCOPY's response to this letter.

I quote the article at greater length:

Marcel Masse, minister of communications, stated in a letter to the CNIB,
that the revised copyright act "will seek to ensure that an equitable
balance is struck between the rights of creators and the needs of users to
have quick and easy access to copyright materials."

Masse added that the 1985 report of the parliamentary subcommittee on the
revision of the copyright, entitled, _Charter of Rights for Creators_,
recommended the law "should permit the production of special media
materials without the authorization of the copyright owner but with royalty
payments to be established by the Copyright Board."

Masse went on to say that the government responded by endorsing the idea of
the exception, and also stated that "a full exception should be provided
without any obligation to pay royalties."

Now I don't know that "endorsing the idea" has any force in law, but it would
appear to this decidedly no-expert-in-law that there is a suggestion here
that "special media" versions of texts, used for non-profit purposes, might
be (or might by amendment of the Act be about to become) possible with no
permission and no royalty. Perhaps Canadian Humanists interested in the
question should write to Marcel Masse and to their own MPs to ensure a) that
such an amendment is passed, b) that the wording of it does not exclude
machine-readable texts used for research, and c) that other non-commercial,
"academic" uses of copyright material be granted similar exemption.

Then, while we're writing to our MPs anyway, we could mention the lead article
on the front page of this month's "Feliciter," on the effect of the proposed
Federal Sales Tax (which is to be applied even to books and journals) on
libraries and educational institutions (which are already suffering from
cuts in federal funding). The article does not mention, but I will, the
effect on Canadian academics: is it time to start lobbying for a special
Income Tax exemption for professorial expenses?

Stephen R. Reimer
Department of English
University of Alberta