More on the Proposed Copyright Act Amendments

Today, Minister of Industry David Emerson and Minister of Canadian Heritage Liza Frulla released a Statement outlining proposed amendments to the Canadian Copyright Act that will address the challenges and opportunities of the Internet and will fulfill our Government’s commitment to address the short-term group of copyright reform issues.

Some of the more noteworthy of the new amendments include:

  • the existing exclusive communication right of authors would be clarified to include control over the making available of their material on the Internet;
  • the circumvention for infringing purposes of technological protection measures (TPMs) applied to copyright material would constitute an infringement of copyright (see my related posts of March 9th and March 10th;
  • the alteration or removal of rights management information (RMI) embedded in copyright material, when done to further or conceal infringement, would constitute an infringement of copyright;
  • the term of protection in photographs would always be the life of the photographer plus 50 years;
  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs) would be exempt from copyright liability in relation to their activities as intermediaries;
  • and
  • treatment of photographers would be harmonized with other creators with respect to authorship and copyright ownership. At the same time, the interests of consumers in the use of photographs commissioned for domestic purposes would be protected.

There does not appear to be anything which directly changes the exemption for private copying of audio recordings (see my related post of March 15th), but the press release does state that:

The government will continue to work on other copyright matters as part of its ongoing process of updating the Copyright Act. Foremost among these is the private copying regime. The government proposes to release a discussion paper on this issue as soon as possible after introducing the Bill.

The Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft (CAAST) praises the Canadian government’s commitment to copyright reform. See their press release here.

Update 2:
Also check out the Government Statement on Proposals for Copyright Reform.

Update 3:
Thanks to my wife for pointing this out. The Globe and Mail now has an article about the government press release. Ditto for the articles posted this afternoon by and CBC (wow, I scooped the Globe, CTV and CBC!)

Private Copying
Sounds like the “crackdown” on file swapping is mainly in the form of making uploading of music illegal. Also circumvention of a technological protection measure (TPM) applied to a sound recording, notwithstanding the exception for private copying, would also be made illegal.

Still, the actual s.80(1) exemption for private copying of sound recordings appears to be left alone for now. The Government Statement notes that “[t]he Act’s private copying regime provides for an exception to copyright that permits the making of a copy of a sound recording for private use.” and that the Government proposes to release a consultation paper on this issue as soon as possible after introducing the bill”.

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