Canada’s Orphan Works Regime

Orphan children bound to Canada
Canadian orphans: In one of the most Draconian movements in the history of emigration, Britain’s “surplus children,” including orphans were sent to Canada as farm labour (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/PA-41785). Click on the image to learn more.

On ordinary days, s. 77 of the Copyright, dealing with orphan works (or in the Act‘s terms “owners who cannot be located”), is probably one of those provisions that get very little attention. But as Howard Knopf reports, not only did Canada’s orphan works regime get some unusual attention during the last couple of weeks, it also stirred some heated mini-controversy at the recent Fordham IP Conference.

Two years ago I wrote an entire section about the Canadian orphan works regime in an article published in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, so I would be remiss if I chose to miss the opportunity to weigh into the debate. After all, how often may one’s writings on a rather obscure topic be brought into the limelight, albeit temporarily?

And since I have already written all that I have to say more or less, my work today is an easy one, and I simply reproduce that section here.

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If you’re interested in reading the entire article, you can download it from here.

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2 Comments on “Canada’s Orphan Works Regime

  1. I made my thesis doc in university about the “home children”. it is a terrible legacy that has mostly gone unreported.

    • Yes, I didn’t know about it until I was looking for an image for this post, and that’s why I decided to link the image to the story so that others could learn about it too.

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