Significant Changes in Canadian Copyright Law

From guest blogger Lesley Ellen Harris, Certificate in Copyright Management instructor and author of Canadian Copyright Law

The summer of 2012 was an important time for Canadian copyright law:

  • On June 29, 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.
  • 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 (WIPO).
  • 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.

Legislative Changes:
In relation to provisions benefiting creators and owners of copyright-protected
materials, the amendments:

  • provide new rights (making available and distribution) as set out in the digital WIPO treaties
  • extend the duration of protection in sound recordings 
  • make photographers the first owner of copyright in their photographs even in the case of commissioned photographs
  • prohibit the removal or tampering of digital rights management (“DRM”) on content (also called digital locks)
  • prohibit the removal or tampering of copyright information on works (also called rights management information)

In relation to provisions benefiting consumers of copyright-protected materials,
the amendments:

  • permit education-related uses of content including allowing teachers to use content in lessons conducted over the internet 
  • allow libraries, archives and museums to digitize and copy material in an alternative format if there is danger of the original format becoming obsolete 
  • permit Canadians with perceptual disabilities to adapt legally acquired material 
  • allow an individual to use protected works when creating a new work such as a mashup and to post the new work online on a site like YouTube 
  • permit time-shifting of a recording of communication signals or programs for private purposes 
  • permit reproduction of works for private purposes (e.g., an individual can copy music they legally own onto a computer, iPod or MP3 player) 
  • amend the existing statutory damages so that there is a distinction between commercial and non-commercial infringement 
  • expand fair dealing to include education, parody and satire

Find out more about Canadian copyright law and these recent developments in CCM201. Canadian Copyright Law Principles, a course from Click University and  CCM201 begins October 11, and is part of the Certificate in Copyright Management program

Questions? Contact Lesley or Click University. Follow Lesley on Twitter.

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2 responses to “Significant Changes in Canadian Copyright Law”

  1. Lesley says:

    If you have specific questions you would like addressed in the October course on Canadian copyright, please post them here.

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you Lesley for this summary of all the current changes going on in copyright law. Specifically as an university student, I hear tons of different things about how this is going to effect me, and struggling to get a straight answer. Would you mind commenting on how you see these changes effecting the material supplied to students?

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