It may be hard to believe but Canada’s Copyright Act dates back to 1921, having been enacted in 1924. Copyright reform has become a common topic in Canadian communities creating and consuming content. However, only three major amendments have been made to the Canadian Copyright Act in the last 91 years, most recently in 2012. Similarly, the Supreme Court of Canada has dealt with relatively few copyright cases and yet in July 2012, five copyright decisions were handed down. The amendments and court cases now put Canada on the map for its pace in revising its copyright laws.
Here is a summary of Canadian copyright this summer:
- On June 29, 2012, the Copyright Modernization Act, Bill C-11, received Royal Assent. After 15 years and many failed attempts, significant legislative changes were made to the Canadian Copyright Act. The Act will likely come into effect this fall upon an Order in Council.
- Bill C-11contains several important and relevant provisions for SLA members. Some of the amendments relevant to special libraries are:
- permitting education-related uses of content;
- allowing libraries, archives and museums to digitize and copyright material in an alternative format if danger of the original format becoming obsolete;
- amending the existing statutory damages so that there is a distinction between commercial and non-commercial infringement;
- the expansion of fair dealing to include education, parody, and satire.
- These amendments make Canada eligible to join the two digital copyright treaties, the Copyright Treaty and the Performance and Phonograms Treaty, bringing Canada’s copyright laws in alignment with many of the country’s trading partners. These Internet treaties are under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization.
- On July 12, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada issued five decisions relating to Copyright Board tariffs governing photocopying of textbooks, music downloading and streaming, and other uses of copyright-protected content.
The legislative changes and court decisions are widespread and complex. Librarians, educators, lawyers, and others are currently reading and rereading the cases and legislation and determining the effects on their uses of content. With this whirlwind of activity and changes to Canadian copyright law, CCM 201: Canadian Copyright Law Principles has been revised and this survey course now includes discussion of these changes.
Further information on Canadian copyright law is at www.copyrightlaws.com. The Click U/Copyrightlaws.com online course on Canadian Copyright Law is from October 11-November 5, 2012. Contact email@example.com for more information. You can also follow Lesley on Twitter @copyrightlaws.