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Author Topic: Call for Help: Canadian Copyrights  (Read 3253 times)

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Offline John C

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Call for Help: Canadian Copyrights
« on: September 12, 2011, 04:11:24 PM »
Short Version:

When did the Canadian comic book publishers go out of business?  Where might one find such information?  There's a list of specific companies at the very end.  Thanks.

Longer:

The great American philosopher James T. Kirk once said (or will say),

Quote
...it's a mystery, and I don't like mysteries.  They give me a bellyache and I've got a beauty right now.

That's how I've been looking at the Canadian section.  Nobody really seems to know how Canadian copyright law works, so we've been sort of shrugging and hoping for the best.  Big bellyache results, of course.  Therefore, I decided to sit down and try to educate myself.

I'm only interested in the first two parts of the Copyright Act (passed in 1922), since the others don't appear to deal with copyright itself, just the detailed rights which the grant carries.  For those playing at home, you can read it here:

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-42/

As I see it, Section 6 states the term as Life+50, which is commonly known.  Subsections deal with unknown authorship, joint authorship, posthumous publication, and so on, none of which carry any surprises.

Section 10 doesn't apply to us, but I have to mention it because it's so dang annoying to have it not apply, sets the term of corporate-authored photographs as a flat fifty years.  It's only for photographs, though.  Nowhere else do I see mention of corporate authorship.  However, Section 13 explains authorship and subsection 3 explains something like the "work for hire" doctrine, that works authored for an employer are automatically assigned (without agreement to the contrary) to the employer.

The upshot appears to be (and please correct me if anybody has better insight) that corporate works (like a comic book) is protected under Canadian copyright law for fifty years beyond the lifetime of the corporation.  Note that this is much better than the next-best interpretation, which is that it's a joint work, and the writer, penciller, inker, colorist, editor, publisher, and possibly others all have a lifetime (plus) copyright.  In fact, it means we can make the determination of copyright or public domain based on when the company went out of business:  If it survived to 1961, there's still a copyright...at least until January.

So here's the problem:  I have no clue whatsoever when any of these companies died, or even if they did!  Therefore, if anybody has any information on any of the companies (or can find other companies and provide information on them), we'd greatly appreciate it.  Every bit of information we can find reduces the guesswork involved in determining what we can share.

The List:

  • Anglo-American Publishing Company Limited
  • Bell Features and Publishing Company (possibly related to Hillborough--both published Triumph)
  • Better Publications of Canada, Ltd.
  • Canadian Jewish Congress
  • Commercial Signs of Canada
  • Dizzy Don Enterprises Limited
  • Hillborough Studio
  • (F.E.) Howard Publications Limited
  • Maple Leaf Publishing Company
  • P.L. Publishing Co. Ltd. (possibly actually out of New York)
  • Randall Publishers Limited
  • Superior Publishers Limited
  • X.L. Publishing Co. Inc.

Thank ye kindly...

Digital Comic Museum

Call for Help: Canadian Copyrights
« on: September 12, 2011, 04:11:24 PM »