3382Copyright in Photos
- Nov 1, 2004
This is another Bill in the Senate which will makes things very, very difficult for us. I already have an insurmountable problem explaining to the clerk at London Drugs that the snap shots I have which have the stamp of a photography studio on the back are NOT copyright protected creations by that studio. The studio just stamped all the photographs it processed in its mail order developing business. She does not believe me. Imagine having to prove who took the photograph and that you inherited the rights to it in order to get a copy made. Imagine not being able to get copies of photographs of your family and your family's house, school, church, etc. found in archives and libraries.
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Subject: [CCC] Copyright in Photos -- Bill S-9 -- URGENT action needed [off topic] Resent-Date: Mon, 01 Nov 2004 12:25:56 -0700 Resent-From: CANADA-CENSUS-CAMPAIGN-L@... Date: Mon, 01 Nov 2004 14:26:01 -0500 From: Robber <robber@...> Reply-To: robber@... To: CANADA-CENSUS-CAMPAIGN-L@...
Hello everyone, I am forwarding the e-mail below although it is off-topic because I believe it will be of interest to genealogists who are engaged in trying to influence the government on the census issue. It relates to a bill before the Senate now that will re-assign copyright from the owner/commissioner of a photograph to the photographer. It would mean that copyright in family portraits, baby pictures, wedding pictures, etc. would reside with the photographer and not the family. Thus, use of the photographs in family histories, publications, genealogy web sites, or distribution by e-mail, would all be illegal, ie. an infringement of the photographer's copyright. This is a simplification of the bill but more detail is available below in the original e-mail from Wallace McLean. Thanks, Rob -----Original Message----- From: owner-arcan-l@... [mailto:owner-arcan-l@...]On Behalf Of Wallace J.McLean Sent: Thursday, October 28, 2004 11:56 PM To: Wallace J.McLean Cc: ARCAN-L@... Subject: Re: Copyright in Photos -- Bill S-9 -- URGENT action needed The members of the Senate Committe on Social Affairs, Science and Technology are: Kirby, Michael Chair - Lib. kirbymjl@... Keon, Wilbert Joseph Deputy-Chair - C keonw@... Callbeck, Catherine S. - Lib. callbc@... Cochrane, Ethel M. - C cochre@... Cook, Joan - Lib. cookj@... Fairbairn, Joyce - Lib. fairbj@... Gill, Aurélien - Lib. gilla@... Johnson, Janis G. - C johnsj@... LeBreton, Marjory - C lebrem@... Morin, Yves - Lib. moriny@... Pépin, Lucie - Lib. pepinl@... Trenholme Counsell, Marilyn - Lib. counsm@... They are under the impression that Bill S-9 and its changes to copyright in photography are benign and uncontroversial. Here's the committee hearing from last spring, in the House, where Nancy Marelli delivered the archival concerns re copyright in photographs: http://www.parl.gc.ca/committee/CommitteePublication.aspx? SourceId=80458 She said in part -- and this is absolutely fantastic, dynamite stuff: I'm here because there are millions of photographs in the holdings of archival institutions across Canada. There are more than 21 million photos in the National Library and National Archives of Canada alone, just a short walk down the street. There are millions more in provincial, municipal, university, and other archives across the country, and even more in family archives, in shoe boxes, photo albums, envelopes, and small paper bags. These photographs are an integral part of the heritage and culture of Canadian society. They tell us and show us who we are, what we do, and where we come from. The recommendations members of Parliament will make on copyright protection for photographs will have immediate economic implications for professional photographers, but they will also affect Canadian culture and heritage. The status report discusses Bill S-16, a private member's bill in the Senate. The amendments to the Copyright Act in that bill reflect the needs and interests of professional photographers. We believe the bill and the status report outline the issues in a very narrow way, addressing specific problems but leaving out other important considerations, considerations that are important to us. Committee members have heard the view of professional photographers and will hear that of newspapers. They have important and legitimate interests the committee needs to hear, and we agree with that. What I can bring to you this afternoon is quite a different perspective: the archival point of view. Archival holdings contain photographs by professional photographers, but these represent only a small fraction of the photographs taken in this country and a small fraction of the historical photographs found in Canadian archives. The vast majority of the photographs in our archives are taken by ordinary people like you and me, non-professional photographers. Let me tell you a little bit about my world. The stakeholders I represent are the people who are entrusted to collect, preserve, and make available for historical research photographs taken by ordinary Canadians as well as by professional photographers ten, twenty, fifty, a hundred, and even more years after a photo is taken. This is what archivists do; it's what I do. These photos are an integral and important part of our national heritage. Any recommendations the committee makes concerning copyright protection for photographs must ensure that the photographs in archives can be used for research and study purposes and don't descend into a bureaucratic black hole where they are not accessible to Canadians. And I'm talking about over the long term, not the short term, necessarily, or even the medium term. There are many copyright problems with archival photographs taken by ordinary Canadians. Most often, the person who took the photograph is unknown. Your uncle Joe, your cousin Sally, and your next-door neighbour don't sign their photographs. I don't know who took most of the photographs in my own family albums, particularly the ones that are a little bit older than I am. Without the information about who took the photograph, it is impossible to locate the copyright owner. It is therefore impossible to get permission for or to give permission to our researchers to use the photograph. If a researcher cannot get permission to use the photo, it sits in copyright limbo, and valuable historical research becomes impossible. * * * THIS SAME MESSAGE HAS TO GET THROUGH TO THAT LIST OF SENATORS ABOVE. And it has to be done on or before next Tuesday. * * * Some more of what Nancy had to say (again, this is dynamite stuff): The same questions are much more difficult and complex when examined from the point of view of an archivist responsible for providing access to millions of photographs for which there is no information about who owns the copyright and who took the photo, let alone when that person died. CIPPIC, who we just heard from, has put forward an interesting solution to address some of the issues I'm raising. They suggest giving different copyright protection to domestic and commercial photographs taken by professional photographers. We think it's an innovative solution, although, as it stands, as we have seen it, we don't believe the suggestion is workable or practical for the long term. As well, we think it addresses only part of the problem. I don't have legislation to suggest to the committee. I wish I had a magic wand that could fix all of this for all of us sitting at this end of the table, but I don't. What I do suggest is that we need to identify solutions other than those found in the status report. We need a copyright law that protects the economic interests of professional photographers and at the same time provides access to the vast photographic collections that have historical rather than commercial value. That's probably most of the photographs taken in this country. I don't know what the possible solutions are. I do know that policy analysts in the Departments of Heritage and Industry are trained to do this work. We're ready and willing, and in fact eager, to sit down and work with them and with other stakeholders to come up with viable solutions. Going forward with amendments based on a private member's bill that was drafted to address the problems of professional photographers will not meet the needs of all the stakeholders affected by this legislation. This would not serve Canadians well. I want to be very clear that I think the economic interests of professional photographers and other creators have to be considered, and have to be considered very seriously. We are fully prepared to do this. However, the interests of other stakeholders also need to be considered. This means including the interests of researchers and the archives and archivists who are responsible for acquiring, storing, preserving, and making available the documentary heritage contained in the many millions of photographs in archival collections across this country. My suggestion to the committee is that it recommend to the responsible departments that policy options be identified on the ownership, authorship, and term of copyright protection for photographs that consider all the stakeholder interests affected, including the economic interests of professional photographers and the interests of all the ordinary citizens who take photographs and record the visual history of our country while expecting that these will be available in future generations. The archival community believes very strongly that there is a need for serious policy analysis and public discussion as an integral part of the process for change in copyright legislation. Copyright legislation for photographs has important implications for public policy, affecting all Canadians within our society, not just one constituency or another. There are Canadians who would not be considered traditional stakeholders who want a voice in the debate on these public policy issues. The process should include an opportunity for full and open discussion and exploration of the public policy issues by a wide representation of Canadian society rather than a pressure-cooker atmosphere where powerful lobbyists dominate the debate. We believe this approach can help build true public consensus on these important issues. Finally, I would like to leave with the committee what we think is an important guiding principle: a robust public domain is an essential element of an informed and participatory society. Copyright law grants a limited monopoly to copyright owners. Copyright protection does not extend beyond original expression, nor does it last for an indefinite period of time. Facts and ideas remain outside the scope of copyright. At the end of a specified period of time, even protected works fall into the public domain. In the view of the Bureau of Canadian Archivists, safeguarding the public domain and keeping it robust is as fundamentally important as protecting the rights of individual and corporate owners of copyright. As you said yourself, the logistical issue of trying to ascertain who the rights holder is, and is this person dead or alive, 50 years after the fact.... It sounds so simple when you're doing it for today: “Yes, this photographer has a business; yes, he or she knows when the photographs were taken and knows who the photographer was who took it.” It's very straightforward. But 50 years down the line you're in a very different situation and you are in a never-never land. That's what we're saying. We have people who show up at our door, and the photograph is there; it's in front of them. We have it and we're willing to provide access to it, but we have no idea who the copyright holder is and what the term of protection is. This is a complicated issue. It's not just a question of fixing a little bit here and a little bit there. You're putting a finger in the dike and you're exploding the ground behind you. There's a problem. Ms. Nancy Marrelli: I just want to disagree with Monsieur Cornellier, who has said several times that it is simpler to simply do this, that, or the other thing. I think the problem is that you're talking, Monsieur Cornellier, about a very particular body of photographs. There are many different kinds of photographs out there in Canada, and I think what's simple in one situation is not always simple in another. I think we all sympathize with the problem you've brought up--certainly I do--but I can't say it's okay to sort of throw out the baby with the bathwater because you have a problem. We have to find a better fix to this problem. Here are the committee documents: http://www.parl.gc.ca/committee/CommitteePublication.aspx?SourceId=80836 http://www.parl.gc.ca/committee/CommitteePublication.aspx?SourceId=80837 The way to unsubscribe from the list is as follows. Send a message to majordomo@... and in the message area, type unsubscribe arcan-l then send the message. PLEASE DO NOT SEND AN UNSUBSCRIBE MESSAGE ADDRESSED TO ARCAN-L@... --- Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free. Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com). Version: 6.0.782 / Virus Database: 528 - Release Date: 22/10/2004 ==== CANADA-CENSUS-CAMPAIGN Mailing List ==== Read Gordon A. Watts' column on Post 1901 Census issues at http://globalgazette.net
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