BC Gov’t Trying to Avoid Scrutiny Using Crown Copyright

8 Apr ’08

Is there a Ridenhour ‘Cowardice Prize’? Via Michael, more skulking and concealing from government:

On Sept. 13, 2000, Chris Norman, director of the B.C. government’s information and privacy branch (CPIAB), sent an internal memo to all ministerial FOI directors, in which he reported that the attorney-general’s ministry had “raised the issue of Crown copyright.” CPIAB then met with the Intellectual Property Program “to determine the best method of asserting Crown copyright in FOI releases.”

Soon afterward, I was perplexed to receive “notices” slipped inside packages of documents mailed to me in response to some of my FOI requests. These letters warned me that: “These records are protected by copyright under the federal Copyright Act, pursuant to which unauthorized reproduction of works is forbidden.”

If I wanted to redistribute even a portion of these records, I would have to send a special request (which could be denied) to the IPP, and also pay up. The implicit threat that I could be sued for non-compliance was clear.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tom April 20, 2008 at 23:12

As they say, IANAL, and you are, but isn’t there some statute or policy that allows documents protected under Crown Copyright to be published? I thought that, for instance, the judgements of the Supreme Court of Canada are protected under Crown Copyright, yet are publicly reproducible. Or maybe I’m confusing some things here…



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