Friday, February 26, 2010

Average length of copyright reform

I noted recently that ACTA could actually slow down copyright reform in Canada. That made me wonder, how long does copyright reform in Canada take, on average?

Reform 1: 36 years . Canada's first copyright act was put in place in 1868, just after Confederation. Attempted overhauls began with bills introduced in 1888 and 1889, but these failed or were blocked by the British. Only minor revisions were made until a completely new act came into effect in 1924.

Reform 2: 34 years. Canada began to contemplate copyright reform again in 1954, when it created a Royal Commission to investigate copyright and other forms of intellectual property. This was followed by a major study by the Economic Council of Canada that came out in 1971. All of this studying didn't amount to a major copyright reform until another round of consultations that culminated in the reform of 1988.

Reform 3: 9 years. The next phase of Canadian copyright reform took place in record time, and was done in 1997.

On average, that's 26 years.

Reform 4: 13 years and counting. If history is any guide, Canadians should be expecting a new copyright act somewhere around 2023.

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