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Wednesday, 23 October 1912

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - I do not propose to move any amendment upon the clause, but I should like to have a little information from the Minister in charge of the Bill. The clause sets out that a work that is copyrighted in another Dominion, and which is an infringement of a work copyrighted here, may not be imported if the owner of the copyright here goes to the Comptroller of Customs and says that he desires that the infringement of his copyright should be kept out of the Commonwealth.

Senator Keating - In other words, as it stands, this is a big blackmailing clause.

Senator LYNCH - It appears to me that the owner of a work copyrighted here is to be the sole judge of whether a work which it is sought to import is an infringement of his copyright. If he desires that the work, which he says is an infringement, should be kept out, it is kept out, and there is no more about it. I wish to be sure that under this Bill a person introducing copies of a work copyrighted in another Dominion will be given a fair opportunity if he is challenged to show that it is not an infringement of a work copyrighted in Australia.

Senator McGregor - If the honorable senator will read sub-clause 2 of the clause he will find that everything he desires is provided for.

Senator LYNCH - The sub-clause to which 1 am referred reads -

Before detaining any such copy or taking any further proceedings with a view to the forfeiture thereof, the Comptroller-General of Customs or the Collector of Customs for the State may require the regulations under this section, whether as to information, conditions, or other matters, to be complied with, and may satisfy himself in accordance with those regulations that the copies are such as are prohibited by this section to be imported.

Senator McGregor - So that the owner of a copyrighted work here is not to be the sole judge of whether an imported work is an infringement of his copyright.

Senator LYNCH - I see that the ComptrollerGeneral of Customs is given authority to make inquiries which he may or may not avail himself of. I considered that the clause might enable an unscrupulous person to prevent the introduction of copies of a work which did not infringe his copyright by merely asserting that it did infringe it. I wished only to be sure that the clause provided a safeguard against such a thing, and the information supplied appears to me to be satisfactory.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses n to 21 agreed to.

Clause 22 -

There shall be for the purposes of this Act an office called the Copyright Office.

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