Madam Speaker, I rise to speak to Motion No. 4 in the name of the member for Richmond-Wolfe which reads:
That Bill C-32, in clause 10, be amended by replacing lines 33 to 4 on page 14 with the following:
It goes on to describe different items. I would like to explain what I think is right about the several proposals of the member for Richmond-Wolfe. Also another serious flaw which the member for Kootenay East did not raise but may or may not agree with me on is a pretty obvious one.
This amendment would replace a part of Bill C-32 which, for the most part, seems well crafted. It mentions an exchange or a contractual agreement between two parties, which is a property right. It talks about the necessity of the arrangement and how one person can obviously enter into a contract on a photograph. It includes photographs as a piece of property and is a good amendment.
It has the support of most people. Professional photographers or someone who commissions a photograph should have some proprietary rights to it. It should not be used willy-nilly without their say. If there is not some kind of control professional photographers, except for the initial photograph, would have no protection from leeches who could steal their work, publish it in papers, copy it and make their pound of flesh from the artistic ability of the photographers in question.
The problem with the amendment is that it is written in the negative. They would have the right not to have. That is a poor way to describe a right someone has. The amendment is crafted backward. It should be crafted in the affirmative. It should talk about what the person has the right to do, not about what the person does not have the right to do. It is a poor way to describe that right of photographers.
To get into the body of the proposed amendment, where copyright subsists in the resulting work I am not sure if that is the same as what exists. I guess it means it can be or it could be copyrightable. I am not sure if that is wise. Copyright rules are designed so that one has to copyright something before one gets the rights to it.
Be that as it may, as we get into the body of the amendment we see that part A talks about copies of the work being issued to the public. The intent there is proper. It would protect someone from having a photograph in a gallery beside the Chateau or anywhere else in Canada retaken, recopied, sold as a work of art and profiting from it. I assume issued to the public would include things like issued for sale and not just for presentation or whatever they are doing to receive a benefit. There should be a contractual agreement. Part A is relatively easy to agree with.
Part B is the work exhibited or shown in public. This is a worthwhile amendment in that it protects people who may not want their works broadly distributed. It protects those who may want a limited audience for their photographs. It may have been very private or personal. It may be one of a kind. All photographs are but it may be something for their pleasure only.
Under that amendment they would think their work would not be shown without their permission. I think of everything from very personal photographs of babies or loved ones or some horrific pictures of car accidents they do not want rebroadcast for public gain, for propaganda purposes or for a dollar value. It is something
they do not want rebroadcast. It should be their right to step in and say they do not want that to happen.
Part C refers to the work broadcast being included in the cable program service. One concern about the Copyright Act that I have heard expressed by local cable companies is the infringement of their rights. I am thinking of a local cable service in my riding that does a good job of broadcasting public events. It is almost a public service. It works almost exclusively with volunteers. It rebroadcasts events of all kinds including parades, other public events and showings and local fairs. It takes its cameras to 4-H Club presentations. It is a real public service.
In towns such as mine with about 60,000 to 70,000 people the cable service becomes a community service. It is not a money maker per se. We count on the cable service broadcasting council meetings, for example, and all the other items I mentioned.
When such a work is included in a cable program service sometimes it is inadvertent. The broadcast of a 4-H demonstration or whatever could include original works of art or original photographs that are contest prizes. They could rebroadcast on the cable system, as paragraph (c) mentions, which could almost inadvertently infringe on somebody's rights.
In my riding these shows are often rebroadcast four or five times during the week to ensure they hit all the target audience. The concern expressed to me was about what would happen if the Santa Claus parade were rebroadcast and something copyrightable was infringed on.
There are no provisions. It is just thrown out that if the cable program services do it they are in trouble. If they repeat it four or five times they are really in trouble. They say that is unacceptable. They say they need the freedom as a community service to broadcast public events, public showings and so on. They feel that if people do not want their photograph or their product rebroadcast they cannot be expected to know that. They cannot stop the cameras, go up to someone and ask if it is all right to move past a painting or display. They cannot function in this way in a public event such as a fair, a Santa Claus parade or whatever. It is not possible.
They are concerned the Copyright Act does not give them the freedom they need to do their job as a community service. I have to agree with them.