An Act to amend the Copyright Act (Crown copyright)

This bill was last introduced in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2019.


Brian Masse  NDP

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Introduced, as of April 9, 2019
(This bill did not become law.)


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Copyright Act to specify that, without prejudice to any rights or privileges of the Crown, no copyright subsists in any work that is, or has been, prepared or published by or under the direction or control of Her Majesty or any government department.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

May 30th, 2019 / 9:15 a.m.
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Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

I'm going to move to another one, but I want to thank you. I'll leave it at that. It will be for another Parliament.

There have been some improvements with regard to science, and getting a profile here on the Hill. I have seen that evolve. I've been involved in this committee for a long time. I still think as a country we're underutilizing science and sport.

I'm not saying that nothing is being done, but it's one of the things that isn't often raised here. That's my personal criticism. Science and sport don't seem to get the attention they probably deserve for a country like Canada.

With some of my time, I want to move to what wouldn't be an unexpected topic for this table. My Bill C-440 on Crown copyright in Canada is very important for the science community. It's not only with regard to the universities, but is also related to a number of different academic associations, research think tanks and so forth.

Our law on Crown copyright is based on a 1911 U.K. law, which was put in place here in Canada in 1929. This is the restriction of government publications, scientific research and other materials that the public has paid for. Over 200 research academics testified here at our committee calling for the elimination of Crown copyright. It doesn't exist in the United States or in most Commonwealth nations. It's very rare to find it in Canada.

What is your position on Crown copyright as it currently is in Canada?

May 28th, 2019 / 9:05 a.m.
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Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

The reason I have concern about that, Minister, is that it's a significant allegation, really, of 100,000 jobs being created. The problem is that we don't have any of that information and data.

I'll shift to where I'm going with this, which is with regard to Crown copyright. Again, we have an example where we have a minister of the Crown coming here, making—I guess—an argument about the creation of jobs from materials, but we have no access to any of that information.

In 2017, over 2,000 Canadians independently called for the elimination of Crown copyright. During our copyright submissions here, there were over 200 organizations that called for the elimination of Crown copyright. For more than four decades, there have been Parliaments—in 1981, 1985, 1993 as well another Parliament—calling for the abolishment of Crown copyright.

There have been continued delays of public information and Crown materials with the transition to the digital platforms that have taken place, and in fact, we're losing not only that information but our heritage, because some of this material is being destroyed. This feeds our democratic deficit and economic disadvantage, because the U.S. does not have Crown copyright.

We do have a report coming forth. Your government decided to go ahead with an order in council for Matty Moroun, a private American billionaire, to provide a new border crossing in my riding, without any stipulations to the local community and without any type of public input or even involvement.

Will you commit to moving on Crown copyright in any form necessary to abolish this procedure that's blocking Canadian innovation, access to information and democracy? The reason I point it out in your materials that you submitted here today is because there is valuable information that could be helpful. I'm not saying your business plan was not effective. However, none of that is available. Will you, then, do what's necessary? I have Bill C-440 and you can steal it. It has been done before in the past. Will you commit to abolishing Crown copyright before the next election?

Copyright ActRoutine Proceedings

April 9th, 2019 / 10:10 a.m.
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Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-440, An Act to amend the Copyright Act (Crown copyright).

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise to introduce my bill to amend the Copyright Act. In particular we would replace section 12 with the following: “Without prejudice to any rights or privileges of the Crown, no copyright subsists in any work that is or has been prepared or published by or under the direction of the control of Her Majesty or any other government department”.

As things stand right now, the government is a closed door when it comes to government publications, research and a number of periodicals that are published. In fact, this costs us a significant amount of taxpayers' money. Second, it is against open government. As well, this is based upon a law that Canada enacted in 1921, which was based on a law from 1911 from the U.K.

Therefore, this bill would save money for taxpayers. It would provide for educators, innovators and open government and bring accountability. Most importantly, it would bring Canada in line with so many other countries that have information available for businesses, for civil society and for the advancement of our nation and our country of Canada.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)