Mr. Speaker, I wish to support the amending of clause 18 of Bill C-32 by replacing lines 15 to 22 on page 37. Our replacement reads that:
The archive may make a copy of an unpublished work that was deposited in the archive before the coming into force of this section unless the author of the work advises the archive in writing that the work is not to be copied except where the archive receives written notification from the author that the author has given permission to the person for whom the copy is to be made to obtain the copy, in which case the archive may not make a copy of the work unless it receives such a notification.
Many members on this committee have toiled with improving this massive document which deals with amendments to the Copyright Act. They must all know that deficiencies and imbalances still exist within this document, not the least of which is the section dealing with archives. As it stands now the bill is unrealistic and unreflective of the input and representation to the contrary that came before the committee.
I have received numerous representations on this element of the bill. One of my constituents who is a genealogist/archivist made a written submission to the committee on this restrictive section,Ms. Judy Norberg of Campbell River, British Columbia. Her representation characterized the issues of accessibility and freedom of information in Bill C-32 as truly regressive and a definite step backward for the work of genealogists. Without the right to photocopy unpublished documents the hands of thousands of students, historians and genealogists will be effectively tied.
The amendment before us unties this restrictive section and is reflective of conscious and realistic thought on behalf of that sector of the population that requires access to unpublished information.
As it stands now, those individuals who help all Canadians to better understand their history, their origins, their background, those people chronicling our history are at a severe disadvantage if the bill sits the way it is right now.
It is not possible for everyone to take advantage, for example, of in person viewing at an archival facility. We are all at a deficient position if this amendment before us is not supported by the House.
During committee some amendments were adopted that will benefit archivists and genealogists. Archivists are now allowed to make a copy of an unpublished work for research or private study under specified conditions.
These conditions differ according to date of deposit and the date of the author's death. For example, copies would be made of archival material deposited when the bill is proclaimed in force and whose author had died over 50 years previous to proclamation date. These dates, however, are overly onerous. There are some things that could be fixed there.
Reform feels further refinement and amendment is sought by archivists and genealogists to better reflect their need for better access and authorization to use certain documents which would really be of no consequence to the rest of the world.
It is not like this would somehow infringe on other people. It is a productive, constructive arrangement. In our view, it is not an infringement of copyright for either an archivist or a person acting under the authority of an archive to make copies for research or
private study of a work that is contained in an unpublished forum. However, the bill without this amendment would prevent this.
There is currently a fair use provision for published works. Access to non-published works is essential for archivists and genealogists in their research of family historical records for example.
The bill originally created tremendous restrictions for archivists, historians and genealogists. Amendments have improved the original bill but the conditions of the current bill still leave these researchers concerned because they would not have unfettered access to archival material such as is provided in jurisdictions outside Canada.
While some of the improvements have been made to the bill, it is essential to not hamstring archivists for making a copy of an unpublished work that was deposited into the archive before the coming into force of clause 6, unless the author of the work advises the archive it is not to be copied.
The amendment we are putting forth also states where the archive receives written notification from the author that the author has given permission to the person for whom the copy is to be made to obtain the copy, in which case, the archivist may not make a copy of the work unless it receives such a notification.
Genealogists are concerned that genealogists and family history researchers have uninhibited access to study, extract and copy archival material whether published or unpublished as part of their research efforts.
They have a concern that this bill places severe limits on rights of reproduction which would have the effect of depriving major sections of the population of this country access to the information required to learn about their Canadian backgrounds and thus inhibit the chronicling of our nation's history.
I feel that this amendment ensures that archivists and genealogists are allowed to practice their profession or hobby. It is not threatening intellectual property. It also ensures that all Canadians will benefit from a better understanding of our roots, heritage and history. I would urge all my colleagues to move forthwith and support this amendment.