Mr. Speaker, my eminent colleague, who is a member of the Standing Committee on Heritage Canada, has informed us that he was there in 1997 and therefore he participated in consideration and passage of the new Copyright Act. He will certainly be able to tell the House today what position he takes on the transition period.
What happened with the Copyright Act is that, previously, unpublished works were protected for an indefinite period. That was very frustrating for historians and researchers, who always had to ask for permission before using anything at all. That is the reason copyright on unpublished works was limited to 50 years.
We found ourselves with the situation that unpublished works by authors who died after 1948 were protected until December 31, 2048. In contrast, if the author died before 1948, protection for his or her unpublished works would expire on December 31, 2003.
The hon. member agrees, does he not, that action was needed to make this transition period more even-handed with regard to authors who died before 1948 and those who died after 1948? There was an urgent need for action. That is why we have included sections 20 and 21 in the act merging the National Archives and National Library.