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Monday, 18 December 1905

Mr MAHON (Coolgardie) - I wish to know from the Minister, authoritatively, whether, if the Registrar refuses to give the author the benefit of copyright, on the ground that his publication is seditious or libellous, he may be taken to the Supreme Court under this clause?

Mr Groom - Yes.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 75 agreed to.

Clause 76 (Delivery of books to Registrar).

Mr. CONROY(Werriwa). - I should like to know whether the rights of the States to have delivered to them copies of the works proposed to be copyrighted will be affected by the clause?

Mr Groom - The existing rights of the States are not taken away. ,

Mr CONROY - So far the State Parliamentary Librarian has always been entitled to have delivered to him a copy of the book proposed to be . copyrighted, and I want to know whether that right still exists. The question in my mind is as to whether the power given to the Federal Registrar by implication takes away that now conferred upon the States.

Mr Groom - The rights of the States are not interfered with, because nothing in these provisions is inconsistent with the existing conditions.

Mr Reid - Are the volumes now furnished to the Parliamentary Library part of the performance of copyright conditions ?

Mr CONROY - Yes, I think so.

Mr Reid - In that case, the State right would be superseded.

Mr Groom - Newspapers are dealt with under States Registration Acts.

Mr CONROY - Yes ; but I do not think any one registering under the Bill need send a copy of his work to the States authorities. I do not argue whether that is desirable or otherwise. But the matter is one which should have received attention at the hands of honorable members. Some of the States may consider that they should still have copies of new works supplied to them. Of course, if that right were preserved, an author would have to supply three copies instead of two, and it is a matter for consideration whether the advantage gained by the State would compensate for the disadvantage to the individual. Some books are exceedingly valuable, and the author should not be exploited to any further extent than may be necessary to comply with reasonable requirements. If the existing rights of the States are preserved, they will be entitled to direct an author to send in, not one copy, but ten, or even to send copies to all the principal Mechanics' Institutes. I cannot conceive that any such power would rest with a State Parliament, and, therefore, it appears to me that the existing rights will be abrogated, and that all an author will be required to do will be to furnish two copies to the Federal Registrar.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 77 to 80 agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments.

Motion (by Mr. Groom) agreed to -

That the Standing Orders be suspended To enable the Bill to pass through all its remaining stages without delay.

Report adopted.

Motion (by Mr. Groom) proposed - :

That the Bill be now read a third time.

Mr. CONROY(Werriwa). - I wish to enter my protest against the manner ira which this Bill has been rushed through. Those" who have pointed out its defects have been unable to carry any of their amendments. The more I look at the measure the more I feel that its consideration should have been deferred until next session. In four of the States, representing five-sixths of the population of the Commonwealth, wc have extended the period of copyright from fourteen to fortytwo years, and we have provided no public safeguards. Need I remind honorable members that originally these rights were granted only because it was thought that the great mass of the people ought to enjoy all the advantages which were conferred by every new discovery. It was not until after the lapse of many years that it was thought that the growth of mechanical genius would be better stimulated by allowing an inventor to enjoy for a specified period the fruits of his own industry. Under this Bill, if a man has copyrighted a work fourteen years and one month prior to the commencement of the Act, he wilt enjoy no protection whatever; but the individual who has copyrighted a work thirteen years and eleven month's" prior to its commencement will be granted an extension of that period to forty-two years. I should like to know what is the reason for such an arbitrary proceeding on our part. There is no recognition of the rights of the public in this Bill. Under it we have granted to individuals rights which did not previously exist, and I say that the measure should have received more consideration than has been accorded to it. If it had not been dealt with at the fag-end of the session, the Committee would have declined to approve of it. Of course, it is impossible for me to foresee all the difficulties that will arise under it. I do not know, however, that the Bill has been ill-considered and ill-conceived. Like the Patents Act, which received some consideration, it will require amendment next year. Under that Act difficulties have arisen, despite the fact that the Bill was considered. How much more numerous are they likely to be under this measure, to which no serious attention has been given ?. I wish to place upon record my protest against the Bill being passed in its present form.

Question resolved in the affirmative'.

Bill read a third time.

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