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Monday, 18 December 1905

Mr CONROY (Werriwa) - This clause in effect throws on the purchaser the onus of seeing that he obtains the special copyright for himself. In the absenceof any agreement to the contrary, the other party retains it. Is that the effect of the provision ?

Mr Groom - Yes.

Amendments agreed to.

Mr. CONROY(Werriwa).- I think that in the circumstances indicated in this clause, the right might well be allowed to remain in the person who has produced the work in question.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 43 to 52 agreed to.

Clause53 -

(1)   A Justice of the Peace may upon the application of the owner of the copyright in any book or in any artistic work or of the agent of such owner appointed in writing : -

(a)   If satisfied by evidence that there is reasonable ground for believing that pirated books or pirated artistic works are being sold, or offered for sale - issue a warrant, authorizing any constable to seize the pirated books or pirated artistic works.

Mr. CONROY(Werriwa). - I think that this is far too great a power to vest in a justice of the peace. Men have gone down to the gutter and, unfortunately, have been still allowed to remain on the roll. Such a justice of the peace who wrongfully issued one of these warrants could be punished only by the removal of his name from the roll. Justices of the peace for the Commonwealth may be selected with greater care than has been exercised by some of the States Governments. It may fairly be argued that this is a proposal to place in the hands of magistrates over whom we have no control the right to take a very serious action:. I ask the Minister to agree to confine this power to stipendiary magistrates.

Mr Groom - That would mean far too great a limitation. A stipendiary magistrate is frequently engaged in Court, and is not always available to carry out an executive act of the kind mentioned in this provision.

Mr CONROY - In some cases such a justice of the peace might be induced for half-a-crown to issue a warrant, enabling a constable to go into a man's house, without any justification whatever.

Mr Groom - Any one who authorized such an unjustifiable act might be liable to damages.

Mr CONROY - The clause provides that the justice of the peace is to be " satisfied by evidence " that there is reasonable ground for taking action. Evidence that would not convince a child might be quite sufficient for some justices of the peace. The clause is an objectionable one. It empowers a justice of the peace to authorize any one to enter any place to search for books which are believed to be pirated.

Mr Chanter - A justice of the peace' may sign a warrant taking away a man's liberty.

Mr CONROY - Is it desirable that their power be extended in the manner proposed ? The existence of pirated books has not' to be proved. I think that this provision wilt present great opportunities for black-mail. Why not make it necessary to satisfy two justices of the peace?

Mr Groom - Such a provision would make it difficult to administer the measure.

Mr CONROY - I have been told that justices of the peace are as plentiful as. blackberries. The person whose house is entered will have no remedy for the trespass. I raise my voice in protest against the rushing through of legislation like this. It is going too far to confer a power of this kind on justices of the peace.

Mr Chanter - Does not the honorable member think that his statements are an insult to the whole body of justices?

Mr CONROY - No. I do not say that all justices of the peace are unworthy persons, but it is well known that it does not prevent a man from going to the dogs to make him a justice of the peace, and the existence of a very few unworthy members of the body of justices is sufficient for my argument. I move - ,

That the words " Justice of the Peace," line 1, be left out.

The amendment, if carried, will leave a. blank in the clause, and I shall leave it to the Minister to insert " stipendiary magistrate " or " two justices of the peace."

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