Canadian Copyright: A Citizen's Guide
by Laura J. Murray and Samuel E. Trosow
2007, Between the Lines, Toronto
224 pages, plus notes, legal citations and index; $24.95 IBSN 978-1-897071-30-4
a review by Barbara Florio Graham, www.SimonTeakettle.com
This book promises to offer clear guidelines for the layman, "in accessible language with familiar examples and case studies." But unfortunately, despite cute graphics and friendly introductory paragraphs at the beginning of each chapter, the text gets bogged down in legal language.
These two academics are also clearly on the side of users, many of whom are students who patch together research from a variety of sources without sufficient concern for plagiarism.
Murray and Trosow defend freedom of information, and call for a better balance between the rights of users and creators. They are critical of major writers' organizations who have banded together (with other artistic disciplines) to form the Creators Copyright Coalition to address revisions to the Copyright Act.
I do agree that there's a place for public licensing, such as the Creative Commons license, but creators who produce original work of any type deserve fair compensation for both the first use and subsequent uses of what they write, paint, draw, sculpt, compose, choreograph, or design. Without laws in place to protect those rights, all cultural life would wither as those creators turn to other jobs to earn a living.
The real value of this book lies in its many charts and tables, as these provide clear explanations of such things as Rules Governing First Ownership, Limitations and Exceptions to Owners' Rights, and the difference between civil and criminal cases concerning copyright.
In fact, the 45 pages of notes, citations and index at the back of the book indicate just how complex this situation is. For that reason alone, this book is a useful reference which belongs in every writer's office.
Please contact us for permission to reprint this review. Any reprint must include the following credit line: Barbara Florio Graham is an award-winning writer, teacher and publishing consultant whose website contains a wide variety of copyright resources. See: www.SimonTeakettle.com.