Wednesday, March 25, 2009

History of Copyright

Meera Nair, a doctoral candidate in Simon Fraser's Communications department, has an article in the latest (March 2009) Canadian Historical Review on the history of copyright law in Canada: "The Copyright Act of 1889: A Canadian Declaration of Independence."

It's available here ...but only if you subscribe, or by purchase ($13.00).

As the title suggests, the issue was as much diplomacy and Canadian-Imperial relations as copyright itself. Copyright turned out to be one of the first places where the Canadian government actually stood on the principles of the British North America Act and asserted that Canada really was a self-governing nation, entitled to legislate in the national interest without regard to the conflicting national interest of Great Britain. The key figure in that rare self-assertion was the shortlived prime minister John Thompson.
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