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Monday, 18 December 1905

Mr GROOM (Darling Downs) (Minister of Home Affairs) . - I ask the Committee to reject the amendment. Justices of the peace already have tar greater powers than those conferred by this clause.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 54 agreed to.

Clause 55 (rower ot owner of performing right to forbid performance in infringement of his right).

Mr. CONROY(Werriwa).- This clause justified us in objecting to the extreme power conferred by clause 13. I ask the Committee to consider how this provision might be used by those interested in one dramatic organization to work injury to another which was playing in opposition to it. We know that it is no uncommon occurrence for the same idea to occur to two literary persons simultaneously. An author may prevent the dramatization of his works, but it might happen that the dramatist had written a play whose central idea was the same as that of a novel which he had never read. That play might have been secured bv a dramatic company, and those interested in another dramatic company, seeing that it would possibly be a great success, might buy the right of dramatizing the novel, and then proceed to take out an injunction restraining the performance of the play. Of course, they would wait until the last moment before doing this. That was done here only a few months back.

Mr Chanter - But they would be compelled to show cause, and if they could not show just cause would be liable to a penalty oF ^20.

Mr CONROY - A penalty of ^20 would not hinder a man from taking a course which he knew would damage his rival, to the extent of some thousands of pounds.

Mr Chanter - The Court would not grant an injunction without evidence.

Mr CONROY - No ; but it might be verv difficult to prove that there was no connexion between the play and the book, t think that we are going too" far, and I protest against the clause passing in its present form.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 56 agreed to.

Clause 57 (Request to police to seize pirated books and works).

Mr. CONROY(Werriwa). - It seems to me that we are making too many restrictions in favour of authors, and are altogether losing sight of the public interests and the rights of the great mass of the people.

Mr. GROOM(Darling Downs- Minister of Home Affairs). - In Great Britain they found that cheap pirated copies of books were being imported from the Continent and sold by hawkers in the streets. The clause enables the police to seize such works.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 58 to 61 agreed to.

Clause 62 (Importation of pirated works).

Mr. CONROY(Werriwa). - I do not know what has been done in the way of declaring what are pirated works.

Mr Groom - They are defined in the interpretation clause.

Mr CONROY - Suppose that an assignee says that a book is a pirated work, are we to take his declaration, when his object may really be to injure some one whose claim to it is better than his own ?

Mr Groom - The question is one of fact.

Mr CONROY - I submit that the fact should have to be proved in the ordinary way before a court. However, the Committee seems determined to pass the Bill holus-bolus, without giving that consideration to its provisions which they ought to receive.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 63 to 73 agreed to.

Clause 74 (Rectification of Register by the Court).""

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