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.