A First Look at Bill C-32 on Canadian Copyright Reform

On 2 June 2010, a new chapter was added to copyright reform in Canada.  A 64-page bill was introduced into the House of Commons by Industry Canada Minister Tony Clement.  The bill’s short title is the Copyright Modernization Act.

Balance

Copyright law by its nature is controversial.  All laws balance the interests of creators/owners on one hand, and consumers of copyright-protected materials on the other hand. With criticisms on previous reform efforts on not achieving the proper balance as well as criticisms on the lack of openness on the reform process, the tabling of the Bill yesterday coincided with a new Canadian government reform website, titled Balanced Copyright.

Contents

Bill C-32 covers a variety of issues which may be divided into various categories including provisions benefiting creators, those benefiting consumers of copyright-protected materials, sections to ensure that Canada comply with the two 1996 copyright treaties administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization, and portions to deal with technological changes that need addressing in the Canadian Copyright Act. As an amendment bill, Bill C-32 must be read side-by-side with the Canadian Copyright Act.

Summary

The bill (on page 2) provides a summary of its amendments.  The summary states:

(a) update the rights and protections of copyright owners to better address  the challenges and opportunities of the Internet, so as to be in line with international standards;

(b) clarify Internet service providers’ liability and make the enabling of online copyright infringement itself an infringement of copyright;

(c) permit businesses, educators and libraries to make greater use of copyright material in digital form;

(d) allow educators and students to make greater use of copyright material;

(e) permit certain uses of copyright material by consumers;

(f) give photographers the same rights as other creators;

(g) ensure that it remains technologically neutral; and

(h) mandate its review by Parliament every five years.

Reach the Responsible Ministers

If you use twitter, check out the comments and discussions involving the two ministers who are responsible for the bill.  Their twitter feeds are mpjamesmoore and tonyclement_mp.

Stay tuned for further postings.  A Briefing Note (subscribers only) will soon be posted covering the above and more…

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