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Monday, 18 December 1905

Mr Groom - The question has been considered in England in connexion with actions for the infringement of performing rights, and there is a series of decisions on the subject. The place where the infringement of a performing right takes place must be a place of dramatic entertainment, and in Russell v. Smith, a room in which songs were performed, and to which persons paid for admission, was held to be such a place, although not ordinarily used for that purpose.

Mr CONROY - There is a difference between the New South Wales and South Australian law as to what constitutes a performance necessary to enable a piece to be copyrighted, and I believe that the laws of the other States also differ.

Mr Groom - The provisions which we are now considering will make the law uniform throughout the Commonwealth.

Mr CONROY - But there is no definition of a performance.

Mr Groom - The English decisions will apply.

Mr CONROY - In New South Wales I have known a performance to be held at one of the minor theatres, those appearing in it merely reading their parts, and not dressing or making up, or attempting to act them, a charge of two guineas being made for admission, so that the public were practically shut out. I do not think that such a proceeding can fairly be termed a public representation.

Mr Brown - It was a compliance with the letter and not with the spirit of the law.

Mr CONROY - Yes. I do not think that the Minister is in a position to define a performing right. A piece should not be copyrighted after a performance such as I have just spoken of.

Mr Bamford - How would the honorable and learned member prevent such performances ?

Mr CONROY - There are many ways in which they could be prevented. The common law of England against fraud might be made to apply. However, I see clearly that the Committee is not prepared to discuss these points as they should be discussed, and as they would be discussed had the Bill been brought before us earlier in the session. Under the circumstances, we must leave the matter to be dealt with by the Court.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 15 (Lecturing rights in lectures).

Mr. CONROY(Werriwa).- A point arises in connexion with this clause similar to that of which I have just spoken, but I think I can deal with the matter more effectively later on.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 16 agreed to.

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