Copyright Power - History

Copyright Power - History

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The White House

"The Congress shall have power ... to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."This section of the Constitution instructs the Congress to establish copyright and patent laws. Copyright laws protect artistic works such as books, paintings and motion pictures from unauthorized copying. Patent laws protect inventions from being copied without permission of the inventor.


Over the past decades Congress has repeatedly extended the length of copyright, primarily to protect the copyrights of companies such as Disney who did not want the copyright of Mickey Mouse extended. The extension has been challenged claiming that the lengthy and effective copyrights that last forever violate the inention of the framers in writing for a "limited time". The courts have decided that it is up to Congress to decide the meaning of "limited time".

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Colonial copyright law Edit

It is unclear to what extent British copyright law, or imperial law, starting with the 1709 Statute of Anne, applied to its colonies (including Canada), [1] but the House of Lords had ruled in 1774, in Donaldson v Beckett, that copyright was a creation of statute and could be limited in its duration. The first Canadian colonial copyright statute was the Copyright Act, 1832, passed by the Parliament of the Province of Lower Canada, [2] granting copyright to residents of the province. The 1832 Act was short, and declared ambitions to encourage emergence of a literary and artistic nation and to encourage literature, bookshops and the local press. After the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada (Ontario and Quebec) were reunified to form the Province of Canada, the 1832 Act was repealed and with minor changes enacted as the Copyright Act, 1841. [3] [4]

The 1841 Act only granted copyright in books, maps, charts, musical compositions, prints, cuts and engravings. Copyright was only awarded if it was registered and a copy of the work deposited in the office of the registrar of the province before publication. The author or creator was required to be resident in the province in order to obtain copyright under the Act, though the Act was unclear on whether the work needed to have been first published in the Province. The objective of the colonial copyright statutes was to encourage the printing of books in Canada, though this was not made explicit to avoid conflict with imperial copyright law, which was primarily designed to protect English publishers. Britain forcefully demanded guarantees that British and Irish subjects were eligible for protection under Canadian colonial copyright law in the same way residents of the Canadian colony were. [5]

One year after Canada passed the 1841 act, the UK Parliament passed the Copyright Act 1842. The statute explicitly applied to "all Parts of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Islands of Jersey and Guernsey, all Parts of the East and West India, and all the Colonies, Settlements, and Possessions of the Crown which now are or thereafter may be acquired". Any book published in London would therefore be protected by copyright law in the entire British Empire, including Canada. [4] The 1842 Act had an immediate impact on Canada and became infamous because it effectively prohibited the importation and sale of reprints of any book under British copyright printed in other countries. Previously Canada had mostly imported books from the United States, but it was now unlawful for Canadian merchants to engage in this trade. Instead merchants were required to import books under British copyright from printers in Britain, though British market prices were unaffordable for most residents of Canada. As British publishers systematically refused to license books for printing to Canadian printers, the Canadian Government questioned the responsible self-government arrangement. [6] In a provocative move Canada passed An Act to extend the Provincial Copyright Act to Persons Resident in the United Kingdom in 1847, granting British authors protection only if their works had been printed and published in the Province of Canada. [7] The 1841 and 1847 statutes were subject to minor revision in 1859 and the requirement for the works to be printed in Canada, buried in the text, was later noticed and denounced by the imperial British government. [5]

Confederation Edit

Upon Confederation, the British North America Act, 1867 granted the federal government power to legislate on matters such as copyright and patents. In 1868 the Parliament of Canada passed the Copyright Act of 1868, [8] which granted protection for "any person resident in Canada, or any person being a British subject, and resident in Great Britain or Ireland." [9] It re-established the publication requirements of the 1847 statute, prompting demand from the British government that Canada should revise its laws so as to respect imperial copyright law. [10] Under Imperial copyright London printers had a monopoly and attracted most authors from the colonies to first publish with them because imperial copyright law granted protection in all colonies. London printers refused Canadian printers the license to print books first published in London and authors had little incentive to first publish in Canada, as colonial copyright law only granted protection in Canada. The Canadian government sought to further strengthen the Canadian print industry with an 1872 bill that would have introduced a projected licensing scheme that allowed for a reprinting of books under foreign copyright in exchange for a fixed royalty. The British government opposed the bill and it never received royal assent. [11]

In order to encourage the local printing and publishing industry Canada made a number of diplomatic and legislative efforts to limit the effects of the 1842 Imperial Act. In a compromise arrangement Canada passed the Copyright Act, 1875, [12] which provided for a term of twenty-eight years, with an option to renew for a further fourteen years, for any "literary, scientific and artistic works or compositions" published initially or contemporaneously in Canada, and such protection was available to anyone domiciled in Canada or any other British possession, or a citizen of any foreign country having an international copyright treaty with the United Kingdom, but it was contingent on the work being printed and published (or reprinted and republished) in Canada. [13] By registering under the Canadian Act, British and foreign publishers gained exclusive access to the Canadian market by excluding American reprints. [9]

In 1877, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that the Imperial Act of 1842 continued to have effect in Canada, despite the passage of the Canadian Act of 1875. [14] This effectively meant that Canadian copyright was a local scheme, whereas Imperial copyright conferred general protection throughout the British Empire. [15] The application of Imperial copyright was strengthened by the earlier decision of the House of Lords in Routledge v Low, [16] which declared that residence of an author, no matter how temporary, anywhere in the British dominions while his book was being published in the United Kingdom, was sufficient to secure it. As the United States was not then a signatory to an international copyright treaty (thus rendering its citizens ineligible for Canadian copyright), many Americans took advantage of this ruling by visiting Canada while their books were being published in London (and thereby obtaining Imperial copyright). [17]

There were other significant differences between the Canadian and Imperial régimes: [9]

Provision Copyright Act, 1875 (Canada) Copyright Act 1842 (Imperial)
Term Initial term of 28 years, with option to renew for another 14 years Life of the creator plus 7 years, or 42 years from publication (whichever was greater)
Registration of copyright Required for grant of copyright Required in order to sue or claim copyright infringement
Copyright notice required Yes No

Under the Copyright Act 1911, the Parliament of Canada was granted authority to either extend its application to Canada or to repeal (subject to the preservation of all legal rights existing at the time of such repeal) any or all enactments passed by the Imperial Parliament (including the Act of 1911) so far as operative within the Dominion. Canada opted to exercise the latter choice, and, upon passage of the Copyright Act, 1921, it assumed complete jurisdiction over copyright and Imperial legislation in the matter ceased to have effect. [18]

Canada did not join the Buenos Aires Convention of 1910 adhered to by most Pan-American countries

Copyright Act, 1921 Edit

The Copyright Act, 1921, came into force in 1924. Though Canada was no longer subject to imperial copyright law, it was closely modelled on the UK Copyright Act 1911:

  • the term of copyright was extended to 50 years after the creator's death [19] (but, where a work was not yet published at the time of death, its term was extended to 50 years after publication) [20]
  • sound recordings were protected "as if such contrivances were musical, literary or dramatic works" [21]
  • in the case of an engraving, photograph or portrait, the initial owner of the copyright was the person who commissioned the plate or other original [22]
  • any remaining rights (if any) at common law were abolished [23]

Following the UK Carwardine case, [24] rights in performer's performances were also held to exist under the Canadian Act (although they were never enforced). This was abolished in 1971. [25]

New technological developments and the emergence of computers, photocopiers and recording devices led to a recognition that copyright law needed to be updated. Between 1954 and 1960 the Royal Commission on Patents, Copyright, and Industrial Design, known as the Ilsley Commission, published a series of reports. [26] Its brief was "to enquire as to whether federal legislation relating in any way to patents of invention, industrial designs, copyright and trade-marks affords reasonable incentive to invention and research, to the development of literary and artistic talents, to creativeness, and to making available to the Canadian public scientific, technical, literary and artistic creations and other adaptations, applications and uses, in a manner and on terms adequately safeguarding the paramount public interest." [27] [28]

Reform (1988–2012) Edit

Between 1977 and 1985, a series of reports and proposals were issued for the reform of Canadian copyright law. [27] [29] [30]

Eventually a copyright reform process was initiated in two phases: Phase one was started in 1988 and saw several amendments to the Copyright Act. Computer programs were included as works protected under copyright, the extent of moral rights was clarified, the provision for a compulsory license for the reproduction of musical works was removed, new licensing arrangements were established for orphan works in cases where the copyright owner could not be found, and rules were enacted on the formation of copyright collecting societies and their supervision by a reformed Copyright Board of Canada. [27]

Phase two of the reform took place in 1997 and saw the Copyright Act amended with a new remuneration right for producers and performers of sound recordings when their work was broadcast or publicly performed by radio stations and public places such as bars. A levy was introduced on blank audio tapes used for private copying and exclusive book distributors were granted protection in Canada. New copyright exceptions were introduced for non-profit educational institutions, libraries, museums, broadcasters, and people with disabilities, allowing them to copy copyrighted works in specific circumstances without the permission of the copyright owner or the need to pay royalties. Damages payable for copyright infringement and the power to grant injunctions were increased, and the 1997 reforms introduced a mandatory review of the Copyright Act. [27] Copyright in unpublished works was limited to 50 years after the creator's death, but unpublished works by creators who died after 1948 but before 1999 retain their copyright until 2049. [31]

After becoming a signatory country of World Intellectual Property Organization Internet Treaties in 1996, Canada implemented its terms in 2012 with the passage of the Copyright Modernization Act. [32] The 2012 act focuses on anti-circumvention provisions for technical protection measures, the protection of authors' rights, and the public's rights concerning the copying of legally obtained materials. [33] During consideration of the bill, many groups publicly stated their opposition to its digital lock specifications, [34] arguing that such measures infringed on legitimate usage of copyright holding. [35]

Copyright review and consultation process (2017–2019) Edit

The 2012 amendments to the Copyright Act included an updated provision for a recurring 5-year parliamentary review of the Act. Section 92 of the Act mandates the establishment of a Senate or House of Commons committee for the purpose of carrying out this review. [36] On December 14, 2017, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and the Minister of Canadian Heritage announced plans to commence a parliamentary review of the Copyright Act. [37] The Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology was given charge of the parliamentary review. The Committee collected 192 briefs (written submissions) and heard testimony from 209 witnesses, concluding its consultation process in December 2018. [38] Submissions were received from a wide variety of interested parties, including associations representing students, universities, libraries and researchers unions, associations and collective management organizations representing writers, artists, and performers corporations from the communications sector associations representing the film, theatre and music industries media organizations government departments and representatives of the Copyright Board of Canada. [38] The final report of the Committee has not yet been released.

As part of the review, the Committee also requested that a parallel consultation be conducted by the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, which announced its launch of a Study on Remuneration Models for Artists and Creative Industries in the Context of Copyright on April 10, 2018. [39] The testimony of Canadian musician Bryan Adams given on September 18, 2018 as part of this consultation garnered significant media attention. [40] Adams proposed an amendment to s. 14(1) of the Copyright Act to change the period after which an assignment of copyright would revert to the author 25 years after assignment, rather than 25 years after the death of the author. [41] Adams invited law professor Daniel Gervais to present arguments in support of his proposal. One of the rationales put forward by Professor Gervais was to permit a reasonable period for those assigned copyright to exploit the commercial interest in a work and recoup their investment, while at the same time incentivizing and supporting the creativity of artists by allowing them to regain control within their lifetime. [41]

In addition to the legislated parliamentary review of the Copyright Act, separate consultations were held with respect to the Copyright Board of Canada. In August 2017, Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada, the Department of Canadian Heritage, and the Copyright Board of Canada issued "A Consultation on Options for Reform to the Copyright Board of Canada," a document outlining the potential scope and nature of reforms to the legislative and regulatory framework governing the Copyright Board of Canada and soliciting comments from the public. [42] The consultation period concluded September 29, 2017. A fact sheet published by Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada summarized the key issues raised in the consultation and announced a 30% increase to funding to the Board to address significant time delays in tariff-setting. [43] Bill C-86, an Act implementing provisions of the 2018 federal budget, received royal assent on December 13, 2018. [44] The Act implemented amendments to the Copyright Act in relation to the administration of the Copyright Board. [44]

While the Copyright Act review was being carried out, trade negotiations leading to the USMCA were ongoing. Law professor Michael Geist noted that the terms of the USMCA relating to intellectual property would need to be taken into consideration by the review Committee and would require changing provisions of the Copyright Act that were amended in the last round of copyright reform in 2012. [45]

Extension of copyright for certain sound recordings (2015) Edit

From June 23, 2015, the rules governing copyright protection were modified to provide that copyright in unpublished sound recordings created on or after that date would last for 50 years after fixation, but if the sound recording is published before the copyright expires, the applicable term would then be the earlier of 70 years from its publication or 100 years from fixation. [46] By implication, this will also extend the copyright for performer's performances contained in such recordings. [46]

Extension of copyright for published pseudonymous or anonymous works (2020) Edit

From July 1, 2020, the rules governing copyright protection for published pseudonymous or anonymous works were extended by 25 years. This extension did not have the effect of reviving a copyright. [47]

Proposals for extension of copyright term Edit

Under the conditions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement [48] the copyright term would have been extended to life plus 70 years. Although it was signed by Canada in February 2016, this treaty was not ratified, and did not go into effect. Under its successor, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, Canada's copyright term did not change. [49] Canada continues to hold to the Berne Convention standard, which is life of the author plus 50 years. [50] In addition the Berne Convention provides that extensions of terms will not have the effect of reviving previously expired copyrights. Article 14.6 of the TRIPs Agreement makes similar provision for the rights of performers and producers in sound recordings.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement proposes extension of Canada's copyright term to life plus 70 years, while performances and sound recordings will be protected for 75 years. It has been signed and ratified. [51] This agreement will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. [52] In its May 2019 report, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage has recommended that the extension be implemented. [53] The bill introduced to implement the USMCA does not include the extension language. This was reportedly done to allow a 2.5 year transition time to determine the best way to meet the extension obligation. [54]

The Writers' Union of Canada has expressed strong support for copyright extension. [55] Canadian singer/songwriter Bryan Adams argues that extensions may increase profits to intermediaries such as major record labels, but do not benefit the actual creators of copyrighted works. He believes that copyright law should include a change to revert rights back to the creator after 25 years. [56] Proponents of a strong public domain argue that extending copyright terms will further limit creativity and argue that “there is no evidence to suggest that the private benefits of copyright term extensions ever outweigh the costs to the public.” [57] The Canadian Confederation of Library Associations disagrees with the extension. But it believes some of the problems can be mitigated by, among other things, requiring each work be formally registered in order to receive the 20 year extension. [58]

On February 11, 2021 the Canadian Government launched a public consultation on how to implement copyright term extension. A consultation paper was made available online with public responses accepted until March 31, 2021 at 11:59 pm. [59]

The Act confers several types of rights in works:

Copyright includes the right to first publish, reproduce, perform, transmit and show a work in public. It includes other subsidiary rights such as abridgment and translation. [60]

Moral rights were instituted upon Canada's accession to the Berne Convention, and they possess several key attributes: attribution, integrity and association. They allow the author of a work to determine how it is being used and what it is being associated to. [60]

Neighbouring rights — generally discussed in the music industry (e.g. performer's rights, recording rights) — are a series of rights relating to one piece of work, and were established upon Canada's accession to the Rome Convention. They do not relate to the creative works themselves, but to their performance, transmission and reproduction. [60]

Similar protection is extended to copyright holders in countries that are parties to:

A work must be original and can include literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works or compilations. Copyright is granted the moment the work is created and does not distinguish work of a professional or that of an amateur. There is also no distinction between for profit or commercial use or for hobby purposes. Literary work includes anything that is written, such as speeches, essays and books and may be in any form. However, a short string of words or spontaneous speech is not covered. Dramatic works include the characters, scenes, choreography, cinematography, relationship between characters, dialogue and dramatic expression. Artistic works include sculptures, paintings, photographs, charts and engravings. Musical works include any musical compositions with or without words. Unexpressed ideas are not protected work. [60]

Copyright also extends to incomplete creations such as proposals, treatments and formats, and infringement can occur when subsequent audiovisual works use their elements without ever actually literally copying them. [61]

It is unclear whether the subjects in interviews have copyright in the words they utter (and thus be considered to be their authors), as the courts have not definitively ruled on the issues of originality and fixation in such cases. [62] However, in Gould Estate v Stoddart Publishing Co Ltd, the Ontario Court of Appeal noted that "offhand comments that [the interviewee] knew could find their way into the public domain . [were] not the kind of disclosure which the Copyright Act intended to protect." [63]

Ownership of a creative work may be assigned to a corporation or other employer as part of an employment contract. In such a cases, the employer retains ownership of the creative work even after the contract ends. The new copyright owner is therefore free to make changes to the finished product without the creator's consent. [64]

A creative employee, meanwhile, may continue to use his or her experience, expertise, and memory to create a similar product after the conclusion of a contract. In 2002, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a literal interpretation of the word "copy" and found that a software engineer's creation of a "similar" product from memory did not constitute infringement of his former employer's copyright. [65]

Fair dealing Edit

Unauthorized copying of works can be permissible under the fair dealing exemption. In CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada, [66] the Supreme Court of Canada made a number of comments regarding fair dealing, and found that the placement of a photocopier in a law library did not constitute an invitation to violate copyright. In Alberta (Education) v Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright), the Court further clarified this exemption from copyright law in the context of education, finding that a teacher may photocopy a brief excerpt from a textbook in circumstances where it would be impractical to purchase a text book for each student.

Fair dealing is to be examined on a case-by-case basis. The purpose of the dealing, character of the dealing, amount of the dealing, alternatives of the dealing, nature of the work and effect of the dealing are factors that can contribute to fair dealing. Those favouring a broad interpretation of fair dealing argue there ought to be reasonable unauthorized reproduction of works because it facilitates creativity and free expression. They also argue that fair dealing provides reasonable access to existing knowledge. Those arguing that fair dealing ought to be more restrictive and specific state that fair dealing will reduce revenue to those creating works. They also argue the reproduction of works and sends a wrong message to the public that works are free as long as it falls under this banner. Their economic argument is that fair dealing should not compensate for the market's inability to meet the demand for public knowledge. [67]

The impact of the CCH analysis has been problematic, and many users have attempted to simplify the administration through the adoption of guidelines quantifying what amounts of a work may be acceptable. The Federal Court of Canada pointed out in 2017, when invalidating guidelines that had been adopted by York University, [68] that this is not an easy exercise. Emphasis was given to the fact that the CCH six-factor test was the second part of a two-stage analysis in which a user must first identify whether a use was allowed before then assessing whether dealing is fair, and stressed that users must not conflate the two stages. [69]

Public domain Edit

General rule Edit

Subject to other provisions of the Act, a work will fall into the public domain: [70]

  1. 50 years after publication, in nearly all cases, if it was subject to Crown copyright. [71]
  2. 50 years after the death of its creator.
  3. if the author is unknown, 75 years after publication or 100 years after its creation (whichever is less), otherwise (if not published) 75 years after its creation. [72]
  4. if it is a communications signal, 50 years after the signal is broadcast.
  1. copyright expires at the end of the calendar year in which the relevant date falls.
  2. in the case of joint authorship of a work, copyright extends from the death of the last surviving author. [73]
  3. in the case of a pseudonymous or anonymous work where one or more of the creators have become commonly known, the normal rules governing authorship apply. [74]
  4. where the author is the first owner of the copyright and has subsequently assigned it (other than by will), the assignment will only extend to 25 years after the author's death, after which copyright will revert to the author's estate. [75]
  5. moral rights in a work have the same term as the copyright in it, and cannot be assigned (other than by inheritance), but can be waived in whole or in part. [76]

Posthumous works Edit

Before the 1999 reform of the Act, works that were published after the death of the author were protected by copyright for 50 years after publication, thus granting perpetual copyright to any work not yet published. This was revised so that protection is limited as follows:

Duration of copyright with respect to posthumous works [77]
Where an author dies. with an unpublished work that is. Term of copyright
before December 31, 1948 published before December 31, 1998 50 years from date of publication
not published on or before December 31, 1998 protected until December 31, 2003
on or after December 31, 1948 protected until December 31, 2049
after December 31, 1998 protected until 50 years after the end of the year of death

Photographs Edit

The Copyright Modernization Act, which came into force on November 7, 2012, altered the rules with respect to the term of copyright with respect to photographs so that the creator holds the copyright and moral rights to them, and the general rule of life plus 50 years thereafter applies all such works. However, there are two schools of thought with respect to how copyright applies to photographs created before that date:

  1. Some commentators believe that the transitional rules implemented in the 1999 reform still apply. [78]
  2. Others assert that such rules were ousted when the 2012 act came into force, and that the general rule under s. 6 of the Copyright Act governs. [79] This may also have had the collateral effect of reviving copyright in some works that had previously lapsed. [79]

The differences between the two points of view can be summarized as follows:

  • a photograph is in copyright if the photographer is still alive
  • a photograph is in copyright if the photographer has died within the past 50 years
  • a photograph is not in copyright if the photographer died more than 50 years before December 31 of the current year

There is some controversy as to the legal status of photographs taken before 1949 in the first scenario, as it can be argued that the current practice of statutory interpretation in the courts would hold that copyright protection was moved to the general rule by the 1999 reform to such photographs that were taken by individuals or creator-controlled corporations. [80] In any case, this argument states that the 2012 act effectively removed all such special rules that were formerly contained in s. 10 of the Copyright Act. [80]

There has not yet been any jurisprudence in the matter, but it is suggested that previous cases, together with the 2012 act's legislative history, may favour the second scenario. [81]

Sound recordings and performance rights Edit

Before September 1, 1997, copyright in sound recordings was defined as being in "records, perforated rolls and other contrivances by means of which sounds may be mechanically reproduced." [82] From that date, they are defined as being "a recording, fixed in any material form, consisting of sounds, whether or not of a performance of a work, but excludes any soundtrack of a cinematographic work where it accompanies the cinematographic work." [83] Subject to that observation, such recordings will fall into the public domain:

  1. for sound recordings created before 1965, 50 years after fixation, but if the sound recording is published before the copyright expires, 50 years after its publication (but only where copyright expires before 2015). [46]
  2. for sound recordings created otherwise, 50 years after fixation, but if the sound recording is published before the copyright expires, the earlier of 70 years from its publication or 100 years from fixation. [46]

Performance rights (in their current form) subsisting in sound recordings did not exist until 1994 (with respect to their producers) or 1996 (with respect to their performers). [84] Performer's performances that occurred in a WTO member country only received protection after 1995. [84] Effective September 1, 1997, performance rights were extended to performances captured on communication signals. [85] Subject to that, such performances will fall into the public domain:

  1. for performer's performances before 1962, the earlier of 50 years after its first fixation in a sound recording, or 50 years after its performance, if not fixed in a sound recording (but only where copyright expires before 2012).
  2. for performer's performances created on or after 1962 but before 2015, 50 years after the performance occurs, but (a) if the performance is fixed in a sound recording, 50 years after its fixation, and (b) if a sound recording in which the performance is fixed is published before the copyright expires, the earlier of 50 years after publication and 99 years after the performance occurs (but only where copyright expires before 2015). [46]
  3. for performer's performances created otherwise, 50 years after the performance occurs, but (a) if the performance is fixed in a sound recording, 50 years after its fixation, and (b) if a sound recording in which the performance is fixed is published before the copyright expires, the earlier of 70 years after publication and 100 years from fixation. [46]

Anti-circumvention Edit

Any circumvention of technical protection measures designed to protect a copyrighted work is unlawful, even if the action was not for the purpose of copyright infringement. The marketing and distribution of products meant to breach technical protection measures is also unlawful. Exceptions exist in situations when the circumvention is for the purposes of accessibility, encryption research, privacy and security testing, reverse engineering to achieve software compatibility (if it is not already possible to do so without breaching TPMs), [86] the creation of temporary recordings by broadcasters, and for law enforcement and national security purposes. [87] [88]

The federal court adopted a wide interpretation of the anti-circumvention rules in the case of Nintendo of America v. Go Cyber Shopping, asserting that alongside their use for enabling the use of pirated copies of software for them, a retailer of modchips for video game consoles could not use the availability of homebrew software as a defence under the interoperability provision, because Nintendo offers official manner for developers to create games for their platforms, thus making it possible to achieve interoperability without breaching TPMs. [86]

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), part of Industry Canada, administers intellectual property laws concerning the registration of patents, trade-marks, copyrights, industrial designs and integrated circuit topographies. [89]

Copyright Board Edit

The Copyright Board of Canada is an evidence based decision making tribunal that has four primary functions: (1) establish royalties users must pay for copyrighted works (2) establish when the collection of such royalties is to be facilitated by a "collective-administration society" (3) oversee agreements between users and licensing bodies and (4) grant users licenses for works when the copyright owner cannot be located. [90]

Collection of royalties and enforcement of copyright is often too costly and difficult for Individual owners of works. Therefore, collectives are formed to facilitate the collection of fees. [91] Collectives may file proposed tariff with the Copyright Board or enter into agreements with users.

Past Reports, Publications, and Announcements

Annual Reports
Past Annual Reports of the U.S. Copyright Office

Other Reports and Publications
Past Reports and Publications issues by the U.S. Copyright Office

NewsNet Archive
Archive of Past NewsNet articles and announcements

ML (Mailing List) Announcements
Past News articles and information related to Copyright published and sent through the Mailing List until 2003 with the introduction of NewsNet

AC Power History and Timeline

Alternating current power drives our world today. AC power was the next logical step after DC power was established. The founders, developers, and visionaries of AC power are depicted below. Click on the pioneer to learn more, or see the list below.

Below: The inventors, including the first year they developed the technology or improved the technology (most continued to improve the technology after that date, it was rarely a one time achievement)

Theory and early development :

Sabastian Ziani de Ferranti 1882
Friedrich August Haselwander 1887
C. S. Bradley 1887
Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovsky 1888
Elihu Thomson 1891
Almirian Decker 1891
Benjamin G. Lamme 1892
Charles P. Steinmetz 1892

Sabastian Ziani de Ferranti 1882
Zippernowsky, Blathy, and Deri 1883
Lucien Gaulard 1883
William Stanley 1885
George Westinghouse 1886
Oliver Shallenberger (not shown above) 1887

Oskar von Miller 1882
George Westinghouse
Galileo Ferraris 1884
Nikola Tesla 1890
Dr. Louis Bell 1892
Almirian Decker 1892

Walter Baily (not shown) 1879
Galileo Ferraris 1885 "Father of three-phase current"
Nikola Tesla 1888
Oliver Shallenberger (not shown)1888
Rudolph Eickmeyer (not shown) 1880s
Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovsky 1889

Notes: Stanley and Thomson had worked on motor, but it had a commutator.
Ferraris invented an AC three phase motor without commutator. Tesla and Oliver Shallenberger also were working on the motor a couple of months behind Ferraris.

To learn about important early sites and installations of AC power please see our History of Power Transmission and Electrification page:

1835 - Hippolyte Pixii builds the first alternator. Pixii builds a device with a rotating magnet. He doesn't know how to make his creation useful since all the other experimenters of the time were building DC devices. Others like Faraday and Henry were experimenting at the time with primitive electric motors using electromagnets.

1855 - Guillaume Duchenne uses alternating current in electrotherapeutic triggering of muscle contractions. (Paris, France) AC power is not viewed as useful for anything else at the time.

1878 - Ganz Company starts working with single phase AC power systems in Budapest, Austro-Hungary

1879 - London: Walter Baily makes a copper disc rotate using alternating current (this is a weak early AC motor) which was not effective for bearing any load.

The 1880s: This decade proved to be an exciting time for the development of electric power, read below to find out some of the major developments by year.

1882 - London, Sabastian Ferranti (Englishman with an Italian parent) works at Siemens Brothers firm in London with Lord Kelvin (William Thompson), and Ince. With the help of Lord Kelvin Ferranti pioneers early AC power technology, including an early transformer. Later on John Gibbs and Lucien Gaulard would base their designs off of Ferranti.


- Turin, Italy: Lucien Gaulard develops transformers and the power transmission system from Lanzo to Turino. The demonstration of AC power includes a 25 mile trolley with step down transformers that allow low power Edison incandescent lights to light the path along with arc lamps. Galileo Ferraris was head of the Electrical Department. The next year Ferraris would invent the polyphase motor.

1885 - Ferraris conceives the idea of the first polyphase AC motor: " In the summer of 1885 he conceived the idea that two out-of-phase, but synchronized, currents might be used to produce two magnetic fields that could be combined to produce a rotating field without any need for switching or for moving parts. "

1885 - Elihu Thomson at Thomson-Houston starts experimenting with AC power (the first company in the US to start work on AC)

1885 - George Westinghouse is intrigued by AC power and buys North American rights to Gaulard and Gibbs system for $50,000

1885 - George Westinghouse orders a Siemens alternator (AC generator) and a Gaulard and Gibbs transformer. Stanley begin experimenting with this system.

An important year for AC power

1886 - Great Barrington, Massachusetts - the first full AC power system in the world is demonstrated using step up and step down transformers. The system was built by William Stanley and funded by Westinghouse.

1886 - November - Buffalo, New York receives the first commercial AC power system in the USA. This system designed by George Westinghouse, William Stanley, and Oliver B. Shallenberger

1886 - William Stanley designs an improved version of the Siemens single phase alternator

1886 - Fall - Elihu Thomson's AC power system is rejected by the patent office. Westinghouse is already far ahead, having sold its system commercially already.

1886 - Nikola Tesla tries to sell his AC power system to investors in New York City, but it fails to be of interest in a city which is already heavily invested in DC power systems. Other inventors around the world also promoting AC power have similar problems. This is especially due to the fact that no one has yet to invent an AC electric motor which is efficient.

1886 - Otto Blathy comes to the USA and Thomas Edison buys options on the Z.B.D. Transformer. This would put him in the position to rival Westinghouse that controlled the Gaulard and Gibbs transformer patent. Later Edison decides that it is not worth going into AC and drops his options on the Z.B.D. Transformer.

1887 - C.S. Bradley builds the first AC 3 phase generator. Up until this time Siemens and Westinghouse had been producing single phase AC generators. The 3 phase system would be a great improvement.

1887 - F. Augus Haselwander develops the first AC 3 phase generator in Europe. He is behind Bradley by a couple months and it is generally believed that he built his design independently of Bradley.

1887 - Sabastian Ferranti designs Depford Power Station in London. When it is completed in 1891 it would be an important early site in AC power history.

One of the first three phase AC generators in the world. This one was created for the Electrical Exposition in Frankfurt,Germany in 1891.

1889 and Beyond

1889 - Dobrovolsky builds his first transformer and motor to work with his 3 phase AC system

1890 - December 17th Charles Proteus Steinmetz publishes introduces new mathematic solutions to solve puzzles of the behavior of AC power with his article: "Note on the Law of Hysteresis" in Electrical Engineer issue number 137.

1891 - Frankfurt, Germany: First distance power transmission (for electric power utility) Lauffen to Frankfurt 109 miles. The entire system was designed by Dobrovolsky from generator to electric motor. Many important figures of AC power were invited to the event, at the Congress Dinner Galileo Ferraris was hailed as “the father of three-phase current.”

1892 - Charles P. Steinmetz goes before the AIEE and presents his latest paper on hysteresis. More on hysteresis >
Steinmetz was the first person to understand AC power from a mathematical point of view. After his paper he is hired by General Electric Company and joins forces with Elihu Thomson and William Stanley. Steinmetz would go on to improve and troubleshoot future AC power systems.
Paper: On the Law of Hysteresis by Chas. Proteus Steinmetz. 1892. AIEE

T he development of electrical systems is a long and winding story which I have been researching for some 48 years. From the arc light systems, now forgotten, which played a major role to the incandescent light systems of Edison and his competitors through the development of power systems in the 20th century, much has been lost or forgotten. For example, the DC transmission concepts of Rene Thury are all but gone from most reference sources, as are those of later HVDC pioneers.

When it comes to polyphase AC, it appears that there is no true "father," but rather a number of researchers. William Stanley, the inventor of the transformer in the US was funded by George Westinghouse, an industrialist in railway air brake and signal systems who sought to improve upon the limitations of the DC systems. In Germany, Werner Siemens and others took the lead and produced the first long distance transmission of AC power 1891. AC motors were a different matter and the two leading figures on opposite sides of the Atlantic approached the problem independently.

Galileo Ferraris, a physicist at the university of Turin, described in 1885 the rotating field principle. but did not publish until 1888 by which time Nikola Tesla, having conceived the concept as well, had built machines for which patents were granted two weeks after the Ferraris publication. Tesla, seeking commercial development of an AC motor, developed a two phase system of supply. Tesla in a letter to Electrical World of May 25, 1889 recognized Ferraris' work and also cited the work of Oliver Shallenberger at Westinghouse. Shallenberger claimed to have intuited the principle after the observation of the twisting of a meter spring in the field of an AC coil. Electrical World of April 15, 1893 attempted to sort this issue by giving field theory primacy to Ferraris and multiphase system primacy to Tesla. Many, including Thomas Hughes in his book Networks of Power (Johns Hopkins U Press available from Amazon) believe that the issue of primacy of the idea will never be settled completely.

The Tesla system patents, though two phase, were the basis of the Westinghouse system at the Columbian Exposition and then at Niagara Falls. At the time, Tesla's work was the most recognized, having been the subject of demonstrations to the AIEE (now IEEE) and also at Columbia University and having undergone a thorough analysis by Prof. Anthony, director of the electrical engineering program at Cornell. Tesla was subsequently feted by the science academies of London and Paris.
Elihu Thomson of Thomson-Houston arrived at AC by another path. He produced initially AC arc light systems and formed the basis for the GE effort directed by Steinmetz, for GE was an amalgamation of Edison and Sprague companies funded through T-H capital. An article in the IEEE PES from several years ago detailed the birth of 3 phase systems through both AEG and Siemens efforts. In the United States, transmission range was a paramount concern and two phase systems prevailed for several decades wherever AC was supplied to the customer, thus the Tesla/Westinghouse system found a ready market. Three phase customer connections were not common until the 1920s acceptance delayed by an inability to balance single phase customer loads on three phase AC lines. Only after the work of Charles Fortescu at Westinghouse and also that of Edith Clark at GE in the 1917-20 period were standardized equations available for the engineering of three phase distribution.

As for other AC pioneers there are many - Frank Sprague, usually associated with railways, was an early proponent of AC research. Having the mathematical skills to devise the practical formulae to adapt the British Hopkinson 3 wire system to Edison lighting applications, he went on to develop practical industrial motors which made small utility companies financially viable with the establishment of a daytime motor load. As consultant to the Edison company in NY he recommended the use of AC in a large central plant to be distributed through "receiving" stations in which a transformer would step down the voltage and apply it to a "receiving motor" (reversed alternator) to drive DC generators. That report in September ,1886, but a few months after the first Stanley installation in Great Barrington, shows how universal was the thinking toward large scale AC generation. In that sense, the conversion substation could be said to have been invented by Sprague.

Thus the story has many participants, most of whom replicated another's work, sometimes simultaneously, often with no knowledge of the other. Even the standard power converter of the day had multiple fathers. Benjamin Lamme who led development of AC at Westinghouse described his rotary converter as the overlaying of a DC generator on a synchronous motor and believed it unique until he discovered that Charles Bradley (Bradley Electric was later acquired by of GE) had applied for a patent as well and there are indications that others had the same idea.

Much of the AC distribution refinement which led to the practical secondary distribution network was the work of Westinghouse engineers working with the United Electric Light & Power Co. in Manhattan to develop the first practical AC networks. But even at Westinghouse, it was researchers like Guido Pantaleoni, a student of Ferraris, that bridged the ocean by licensing the Gaulard and Gibbs, Siemens, and AEG patents. Sebastian Zinni DeFerrante, a leader in British arc lighting while still in his mid teens, had installed underground 10,000 volt lines in London as early as 1891.

Moreover, in an era prior to the refined understanding of inductance, capacitance and reactive power issues, and prior to the development of steel with magnetic characteristics ideal for alternating fields, the issue of the best frequency was another major concern. Benjamin Lamme's article on the Technical Story of the Frequencies (presented Jan 1918 to the Washington Section AIEE and available online under Google Books) is the best source of 1890s thinking on the issues.

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Mission and History

POWER uses our belief in God’s goodness and compassion for the suffering to organize and empower the people of Philadelphia, Southeastern, and Central Pennsylvania to live and work together so that God’s presence is known on every block, that people work together to transform the conditions of their neighborhood, and that life flourishes for all.

Shining a light on broken systems:

POWER has come together to lift up a new prophetic voice and bear witness to the fact that these systems no longer work for too many families in too many neighborhoods. Systems that allow for 30% unemployment in some of our communities, particularly our communities of color wherein nearly 50% of our children can’t read or perform math, or graduate on time, and that appear to continually be in crisis systems that allow one of our brothers or sisters to be murdered nearly every day systems that allow more than 100,000 city residents to go without health insurance, and that allow a tenth of our properties to lie vacant or abandoned or foreclosed – these are broken systems.

And while this brokenness hurts all Pennsylvanians, POWER recognizes and seeks to address the fact that it is the poor, communities of color and working families of all kinds who suffer the brunt of declining opportunities and dysfunctional systems. POWER commits to call attention to this brokenness, to advance concrete policy changes to reform these systems and to work with public and private sector leaders to bring the necessary resources to bear to turn these systems, and our city, around.

Broader Values:

  • POWER believes in the potential for transformation of Pennsylvania – its people, its neighborhoods, its institutions, its politics. POWER congregations accept the responsibility that as people of faith, we must exercise our power to help lead this transformation.
  • We believe that power is neutral, that it can be (and is) used for either bad or good purposes. POWER believes that people should have a say in the policy decisions that shape their lives and therefore should not shy away from the exercise of power to promote justice and advance the common good.
  • POWER believes that one essential way to build and exercise power for the good of the community is to build a strong, broad-based, disciplined and democratic organization.
  • POWER trusts in democracy, believes that ordinary people know best what their families and communities need, and will work to make sure their voices are at the center of political life.
  • One of our basic principles is “never do for others what they can do for themselves.” We believe that with training, support and organization, regular people can be leaders in the movement to transform systems in their communities and their city.
  • POWER is explicitly non-partisan and seeks to hold accountable, and build strategic partnerships with, institutions and decision-makers regardless of their political persuasion or label, in order to promote justice for the marginalized and advance a common good agenda.
  • POWER believes that government can play a vital role in improving society, but that civic leaders and organizations need to have the power to shape policy and hold public officials accountable.
  • POWER believes that family is a value that motivates participation in public life and that across economic levels most American families share common concerns for good schools, affordable housing, safe neighborhoods, high quality health care, civil rights and civic participation.
  • POWER values, and intentionally capitalizes on, the racial, ethnic and religious diversity that has shaped Pennsylvanian and American society at large.
  • POWER believes that faith can bring us together more than it can divide us and that our varied faith traditions call on us to act to make our communities and our nation better places to live.

POWER History

POWER has intentionally brought together people across lines of race, income level, faith tradition, culture and neighborhood in order to build broad-based power for policy change. More than 40 congregations from every section of the city have actively participated in the building of POWER over the past year. 500 clergy and lay leaders have attended organizing trainings, planning and strategy sessions, engaged in research work, and conducted relational outreach within their congregations and communities since fall 2010.

POWER members have conducted more than 1,000 face to face conversations with fellow and sister congregants, peers and neighbors, in order to identify shared dreams and concerns, and common themes of both struggle and hope. The thousand stories we heard revolve around five key policy areas – Jobs, Schools, Safety, Housing & Health. Together, these stories weave into common narrative about pain, hope, frustration and diminishing opportunity in our neighborhoods and our city.

In the spring of 2011, more than 150 lay and clergy leaders from POWER congregations conducted forty research meetings with public and private sector leaders in these 5 areas. POWER leaders gained an understanding of how and why our key systems are failing to provide the pathways to opportunity our families need, and to learn about both the scope of the challenges we face as a city, as well as opportunities for collective action and possible transformation in our job training and employment systems, our K-12 and adult education systems, our housing and vacant land management systems, our healthcare systems and in our public safety and criminal justice systems.

During the summer of 2011, POWER leaders worked to create a vision for change in these 5 areas and prepared for their Founding Convention, which took place on September 25th, 2011 at Historic Tindley Temple United Methodic Church. POWER’s Founding Convention brought together 2,000 congregational members, allies and city officials to affirm a change agenda in 5 priority areas. The Convention also cemented commitments from labor leaders, City Councilman Bill Green and Mayor Michael Nutter, to work with POWER to address unemployment in Philadelphia. Many long-time observers and leaders of community activism in Philadelphia independently agreed that POWER’s Founding Convention was the largest grassroots civic gathering for change the city has seen in years, if not decades.

At the Convention POWER leaders:

1). Publicly announced and celebrated the formal launch of POWER – the coming together of dozens of congregations from across the city — across lines of race, income level, neighborhood and faith tradition — to build broad-based power for policy change.

2). Publicly presented our multi-year platform for change in our five priority policy areas.

3). Secured commitments from public and private sector leaders to work with POWER toward a vision of connecting 10,000 low-income Philadelphians with living wage jobs in the coming years.

4). Enlisted allies who share these aims.

To launch this new organization, POWER congregations have already contributed over $40,000 of their own funds and have secured over $150,000 in support from local foundations and national faith-based funders.


Registration Options During the COVID-19 Pandemic

For information related to the Copyright Office’s operations during the COVID-19 health situation, answers to frequently asked questions, and a list of expanded electronic filing options, visit our coronavirus website.

Group Registration for Works on an Album of Music (GRAM)

The Copyright Office has implemented a new group registration option for musical works that are published on the same album. Read more.

In addition, the Office has implemented a separate group registration option for sound recordings, photos, artwork, and liner notes that are published on the same album. Read more.

Group Registration of Short Online Literary Works (GRTX)

The Copyright Office has implemented a new group registration option for short online literary works, such as blog entries, social media posts, and short online articles. Read more.

Group Registration of Unpublished Works (GRUW)

The Copyright Office has implemented a new group registration option for unpublished works. Read more.

Science Service Historical Images Collection

The Science Service Historical Images website launched in 1998 to provide access to one part of this unique collection of science and technology photographs. The site contained over 2,000 captioned images pertaining to a wide range of electrical technologies. Those images were reunited with the larger body of Science Service images in 2017 and the website was retired the following year.

In the 1980s, the collection of Science Service images was disbursed to various units within the museum based on subject matter. Those subjects dealing with electrical technologies came to the museum’s Electricity Collections whose staff and volunteers scanned images, transcribed captions, and built this website. The website presented over 40 years of electrical history covering large topics like radio as well as narrow topics such as image converter tubes.

History Shows That Copyright Monopolies Prevent Creativity And Innovation

We all too frequently hear that the copyright monopoly is supposed to encourage creativity and that the patent monopoly is supposed to encourage innovation. Most lawyers whose jobs depend on the belief in these myths even claim that the monopolies fulfill these functions to the letter. But when we look at history, a different pattern emerges.

Let’s start around the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. In that day and age, copyright monopoly laws were in force in the United Kingdom, and pretty much the United Kingdom alone (where they were enacted in 1557). You know the “Made in Country X” that is printed or engraved on pretty much all our goods? That originated as a requirement from the British Customs against German-made goods, as a warning label that they were shoddy goods made in Germany at the time. It spread to pretty much global use.

But Germany didn’t have copyright monopoly laws at this point in time, and historians argue that was the direct cause of Germany’s engineering excellence overtaking that of the United Kingdom. In the UK, knowledge of handicrafts was expensive to come by. Books and the knowledge they carried were locked down in the copyright monopoly construct, after all. In Germany, however, the same knowledge was available at print cost – and thus, engineering skills proliferated. With every new person learning engineering, one more person started to improve the skill set for himself and for the country at large. The result is that Germany still, 200 years later, has an outstanding reputation for engineering skills – the rise of which are directly attributable to a lack of the copyright monopoly.

There are more examples. Pharmaceutical companies argue how they absolutely, positively need the knowledge monopolies we call patents in order to survive. The company Novartis is one of the worse offenders here. The claim that patent monopolies are needed is not only false in an objective light – as in the patent monopolies not being needed at all today for the pharma industry – but more interestingly, Novartis itself was founded in a time and place when no such knowledge monopolies existed – more specifically, in Switzerland in 1758 and 1859. If the patent monopolies are so vital for success, how come the pharmaceutical giants of today were successfully founded in their complete absence?

Rather, the pattern here is that the people who have made it to the top push for monopolies that will lock in their positions as kings of the hill and prevent people who do something better from replacing them. It’s a power grab.

In Sweden, the telecoms infrastructure giant Ericsson was founded making a telephone handset that directly infringed on a German patent from Siemens – or at least, would have done so with today’s monopoly laws. A Norwegian company later copied Ericsson in turn. Nobody cared. Today, with the patent monopolies we have today, Ericsson would not have survived the first phone call. And yet, Ericsson is one of the giants pushing for more restrictive monopoly laws. Of course they are they have been successfully founded already. What innovative giants of tomorrow are we smothering stillborn through these monopoly constructs?

Indeed, the United States itself celebrated breakers of the monopolies on ideas and knowledge as national heroes when the country was in its infancy and building its industries. When the US was still a British colony, the United Kingdom had this idea that all refinement of raw material into desirable products should happen on the soil of the United Kingdom, and only there. Industrial secrets were closely guarded, and the United States sought to break the stranglehold for its own benefit. When somebody brought the British industrial secret of the textile mills to the United States, for example, he was celebrated by getting an entire city named after him and named a father of industry as such. Today, the same person would have been indicted for industrial espionage.

Or why not take a look at Hollywood and the film industry? In the infancy of filmmaking, there was a patent monopoly blanket on the entire concept of moving pictures owned by Thomas Edison, who was adamant in claiming his legal monopoly rights. In order for innovation in the area to flourish, the entire industry moved from the then-hotseat of moviemaking, New York. They moved as far away as they could, west across the entire country, and settled in a suburb outside of Los Angeles. That was outside of the reach of Edison’s patent monopoly lawyers at the time, and so, moviemaking took off big time. Today, the fledgling industry wouldn’t have been outside of the reach of those monopoly lawyers.

I could end with mentioning Internet and how monopolies try to tame it from every angle, but I am sure everybody can fill in the blanks here. Just for fun, we could mention Bill Gates’ famous quote that if people had taken out patent monopolies when the web was still in its infancy, the industry would be at a complete standstill today. It is consistent with the overall pattern.

The pattern here is clear: copyright monopolies and patent monopolies encourage neither creativity nor innovation. Quite the opposite. Throughout history, we observe that today’s giants were founded in their absence, and today, these giants push for the harshening and enforcement of these monopolies in order to remain kings of the hill, to prevent something new and better from replacing them. Pushing for copyright monopolies and patent monopolies was never a matter of helping others it was a matter of kicking away the ladder once you had reached the top yourself.

But for the rest of us, it makes no sense whatsoever to carve today’s giants in stone. We want them to be replaced by something better, and the copyright and patent monopolies prevent that.

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Watch the video: History of copyright