The Struggle for Canadian Copyright: Imperialism to Internationalism, 1842-1971 

UBC Press, 2013 [Companion Site]

First signed in 1886, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works is still the cornerstone of international copyright law. Set against the backdrop of Canada’s development from a British colony into a middle power, this book reveals the deep roots of conflict in the international copyright system and argues that Canada’s signing of the convention can be viewed in the context of a former British colony’s efforts to find a place on the world stage. In this groundbreaking book, Sara Bannerman examines Canada’s struggle for copyright sovereignty and explores some of the problems rooted in imperial and international copyright that affect Canadians to this day.

“some have argued that imperial and international copyright long ago stacked the deck…to keep Canada in this subordinate trade position, with ensuing cultural ramifications…[curtailing] both the publishing industry and Canadian autonomy.
These events were touched on in my book The Beginnings of the Book Trade in Canada [1985], but Sara Bannerman of McMaster University treats them in greater depth and in an appropriate international and political context.  These crises, “the struggle for Canadian copyright,” probe the question of how much autonomy a small nation retains in domestic, imperial, and international  law.”

“…the most thorough account of the remarkable story of…the struggle for Canadian copyright autonomy, never completely resolved…”
George L. Parker – Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada 52 no. 2 (2014): 457-459.

“The Struggle for Canadian Copyright is a rare contribution: a political history of imperial and international copyright from a Canadian perspective. Sara Bannerman has produced a richly researched, well-written, and original account.”
David Vaver – Emeritus Professor of Intellectual Property & IT Law at the University of Oxford and Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Osgoode Hall Law School

“The Struggle for Canadian Copyright is an excellent starting point for any individual looking to conduct research into the history of Canadian copyright…It is well written and clearly presented and draws attention to the historical significance of events and how they would shape Canadian policy in later years.”
Cindy Chow – Saskatchewan Law Review, vol. 77, 2014, pp. 119-121

The Struggle for Canadian Copyright is “un travail fondamental, parce qu’il ouvre un nouveau pan de la connaissance historique sur un sujet d’une grande importance. Il s’agit donc d’un ouvrage de référence qui ne nous épargne aucune des complexités et des incohérences particulières au domaine du droit d’auteur.” [Bannerman’s book will enlighten anyone who wishes to understand the origins of Canadian copyright policy. It is a fundamental work because it opens a new sphere in historical knowledge on a subject of upmost importance.It is a reference work that spares us none of the complexities and inconsistencies unique to the field of copyright (Bannerman’s translation).]
Claude Martin – Canadian Journal of Communication 40 no. 4 (2014)(3 pages).

“A much-needed summary of the various international copyright conventions, their changing terms, and their influence on Canadian policy over the last one hundred plus years.”
C. Ian Kyer – Counsel to the Toronto office of Fasken Martineau

International Copyright and Access to Knowledge

Cambridge University Press, 2016

The principle of Access to Knowledge (A2K) has become a common reference point for a diverse set of agendas that all hope to realize technological and human potential by making knowledge more accessible. This book is a history of international copyright focused on principles of A2K and their proponents. Whilst debate and discussion so far has covered the perspectives of major western countries, the author's fresh approach to the topic considers emerging countries and NGOs, who have fought for the principles of A2K that are now fundamental to the system. Written in a clear and accessible style, the book connects copyright history to current problems, issues and events.

"Sara Bannerman's thoughtful and compelling book is a must-read for all of those interested in the challenges of increasing access to knowledge. She offers historical perspective on the narrowing of the knowledge commons and identifies opportunities for positive change going forward." 
Susan K. Sell, George Washington University

'Sara Bannerman sheds new light on copyright history, from the perspective of its relationship to Access to Knowledge (A2K). Her ground-breaking research provides new insights into the problems of access to scientific knowledge and news, the importance of translations and the copyright challenges of the developing world, access to the collections of cultural institutions, and the histories of institutions and interest groups influencing copyright.' 
Graham Greenleaf, University of New South Wales, Australia

'This timely and important book carefully documents the growing erosion of the principles of access in the international copyright system. It provocatively reframes the development debate as one seeking to reclaim alternative visions and models. The book further underscores the potentially important roles of developing countries, indigenous communities, nongovernmental organizations and other nondominant players. A must-read for anybody who cares about development in the international intellectual property regime!' 
Peter K. Yu, Director, Center for Law and Intellectual Property, Texas A&M University

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