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Monday, 18 December 1905

Mr REID (East Sydney) - I think that there is a great deal in the criticism which has been expended on this clause, and it is open to further objections. Who is to define what is a report ? My experience is that it. is unprecedented1 for a newspaper here to report verbatim the lectures of prominent men visiting Australia; but a paragraph of a. few lines, giving the briefest summary of a. lecture, might be a technical breach of this provision, which is a very clumsy one to administer. I sympathize with those who think that it is being proposed to carry the protection of- copyright too far. As a rule, the personality of a lecturer is a more valuable asset to him that the mere words of his lecture. If we read the report of a lecture delivered by a great preacher or orator, it stimulates us to hear him, instead of keeping us from doing so. So far as the mere words of a lecture are concerned, they can be copyrighted by making a book of them, and copyrighting it. The greatest service that can be done to a lecturer is to report his lectures in the press. Moreover, any member of his, audience may take down the words of his lecture, and make it his own property. Of course, it will be said that if it is of service to lecturers to have their lectures reported in the press, the clause will be inoperative, because lecturers, - with the exception of, perhaps, an occasional crank - will not prohibit the reporting of their lectures ; but how absurd it would be to pass legislation merely for the benefit of a crank who might think that the lecture he had produced was such a monument of wisdom that, unless his rights in it were protected, it would be repeated all over the world, and1 he would .lose thousands Such persons can protect their lectures by copyrighting them in book form.

Mr Groom - If that is done, the lecturing rights cease.

Mr REID - I think that the clause goes too far, and I shall be quite willing fo vote against it.

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