Madam Speaker, the proposed amendment by the Bloc is a bit complicated. It amends a current amendment to the bill which amends subsection 13(2) of the act.
I have read the amendment several times. I have consulted with other people. I do not know if it is anything but what can be described as nebulous. The amendment is amending an amendment which is nebulous, to begin with.
I will try to explain what I mean. We are talking about engravings, photographs, portraits, plates and originals. The wording of the unamended amendment indicates that in the absence of any agreement to the contrary the person by whom the plate or original was ordered shall be the first owner of the copyright.
The question comes down to the "by whom". Is it the artist or the person ordering from the artist? Legal counsel would only be able to say that is unclear. It could be interpreted either way.
As a consequence we cannot build a concrete foundation on a sand foundation. It will not work. It is not that I wanted to compare the Bloc amendment to concrete necessarily, but I had a duty to point that out.
I assume that the intent of the Bloc's amendment is to empower the artist. However, we may already be empowering the artist with the original amendment. If it is an attempt to overturn that amendment, that is one thing. If it is an attempt to strengthen it, that is another thing. I am not at all clear in which direction we are going.
In any case, there is a flaw. It is an important flaw. We want to attempt to achieve clarity in our legislation. We have all been in circumstances in which we have seen draft legislation come forward, and the constructive readings of that draft legislation can come from the most unpredictable sources.
In one of the committees on which I sit a government bill was introduced that turned out to be so badly drafted when it got to committee that it was withdrawn and has yet to come back to committee. That was several months ago.
There are lots of precedents. We all know this can happen. It is important for us to look once again at this clause.