Perspectives from Canada
Queen Mary Studies in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Ysolde Gendreau
Chapter 8: Moral Rights in Canada: An Historical and Comparative View
Elizabeth Adeney* INTRODUCTION To a person tracing the development of moral rights in the copyright1 countries, Canada stands as a forerunner and an example. In 1928, when moral rights were introduced for the first time into the Berne Convention, it was only the Canadian legislators who, unlike their counterparts in the UK and Australia, were prepared to accept that the law then current in Canada, whether common law or statute, did not render Canada compliant with Article 6 bis of the new Convention text. While spokespersons in Australia and the UK took the view that their common law and statute provided sufficient protection for authorial moral interests2 the Canadian parliament immediately set about upgrading its legislation. By 1931 the task was accomplished. Canada became the first of the copyright countries to enact a clear moral rights provision.3 * Some of the matters discussed in the present chapter are pursued in more detail in Elizabeth Adeney, The Moral Rights of Authors and Performers: an International and Comparative Analysis (Moral Rights) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006). English translations in this chapter are the author’s unless otherwise stated. French versions of treaties and legislation are official versions. 1 Namely the countries which have formulated their copyright legislation according to British models, these models centering on the concept of copyright ownership. Such countries can be contrasted with countries which have taken the concept of authors’ rights as the basis for their legislation. 2 The British delegates to Rome reported in 1928 that ‘no extensive changes...
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