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The recent activities of Google, which has taken up the practice of digitizing out of print material for which they do not hold copyright, and then stating that it actually belongs to them if the copyright holder had not objected by a date they set without even directly informing the copyright holder that they had digitized his or her material directly affects me.
I am a Canadian citizen who wrote a book while employed in Canada and am the holder of the copyright for an out-of-print book; the copyright was relinquished to me by the American publisher. So, I wrote the book in Canada, published it in the United States, and according to the publisher I own it. But, I evidently have little or no rights to controlling it now. Google claims that.
I think the Government of Canada should take issue with Google's practice by countering them with our own revised copyright law. If the American courts can affirm that Google has world rights and can essentially steal anything they want; our laws can be written to state that Canadian citizens copyright cannot be infringed by monopolistic practices that deprive our citizens of the controlling rights to their own published works.
I urge the Government of Canada to take a position on this. Failure to do so is simply unacceptable — it will mean that whatever decisions you make they can be superseded by companies and courts outside of our own country.
Peter H. Stephenson
Peter H. Stephenson, Ph.D.
Professor of Anthropology,
Professor, School of Environmental Studies,
Michael Smith Foundation Researcher, Centre on Aging,
University of Victoria,
Victoria, British Columbia