Session II: The Impact of International Copyright Treaties and Trade Agreements on the Development of Domestic Norms (Ysolde Gendreau)

Gendreau, Ysolde

Canada's current Copyright Act still has as its basic framework its 1921 legislation, which was essentially a redrafting of the 1911 United Kingdom Act. Obviously, since that time many events have taken place, and, in particular, after the Second World War, a good number of countries started revising their copyright legislations. In the 1950s and 1960s, many studies have led ultimately to the overhaul of the existing texts. For instance, here in the United States, the 1976 Act has been part of this movement. In Canada, studies were also undertaken. There was first a royal commission on intellectual property as a whole, which was followed by more studies that focused on copyright only. However, technology was progressing at its own pace, and even though some issues had already been dealt with previously, like the protection of sound recordings (because England had it in 1911), the Copyright Act was becoming increasingly anachronistic. The real impetus came from the computer industry in the 1980s, which needed the legal certainty provided by an affirmative legal provision on the copyrightability of computer programs.

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November 2, 2017


These remarks are a transcript of a talk that was given on October 14, 2016, at the Kernochan Center Annual Symposium at Columbia Law School.