It was not long after Canada entered formally into international copyright relations in 1924 that a conference was called to revise the Berne Convention, and Canadian diplomats for the first time represented their country at the Berne Union directly. Throughout the proceedings, it became apparent that Canada held common interests with other countries like Australia and New Zealand on issues such as broadcasting and performance rights. However, Canadian delegates did not take a prominent position on these issues; their instructions held them to playing only a minor and uncontroversial role. Against the backdrop of Canada’s changing relationship with Britain and the United States in the 1920s and 30s, this chapter outlines the new role of Canada in international copyright relations in the 1920s.
Chapter 3 outlines the conditions of Canadian copyright prior to the establishment of the Berne Convention in 1886. In the nineteenth century copyright in Canada was governed both by Canadian legislation and British Imperial copyright. This chapter shows that in nineteenth-century Canada, alongside the vision of copyright put forth by dominant copyright powers, a counter-hegemonic view of copyright was developing in Canada. However, Canadian politicians were reluctant to confront the difficult political and constitutional issues involved in achieving legislative independence over copyright. The chapter discusses the difficulties posed by the limited legislative and institutional capacity of the Canadian government to confront these issues.
This discussion is set against a backdrop that describes Canada’s relationships with Britain and the United States during this time period and the main Canadian interest groups involved in nineteenth-century Canadian copyright.