From guest blogger Lesley Ellen Harris, Certificate in Copyright Management instructor and author of Canadian Copyright Law. Click University’s Canadian Copyright Law Principles (CCM201) begins online October 11.
Hard to believe but Canada’s Copyright Act dates back to 1921 (and it was enacted in 1924). Copyright reform has become a common topic in Canada in all communities creating and consuming content. However, only three major amendments have been made to the Canadian Copyright Act: in 1988; 1997; and 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.
To summarize the Canadian copyright summer:
- On 29 June 2012, the Copyright Modernization Act received Royal Assent and 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-11, the Copyright Modernization Act, contains 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; and 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 her trading partners. These internet treaties are under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization.
- On 12 July 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.