On March 26, 2009, I attended an ALAI Canada lunch meeting in Toronto on the topic, “The Politics of Fair Use “Common Sense” and the Digital Revolution” given by Toronto-based lawyer Richard Owens.
Richard began his talk stating that the US principle of fair use is a users right whereas fair dealing in Canada and in other Commonwealth countries has traditionally been a defense to an infringement action (though technically fair use is too), which began as a rule of equity, now formalized in the Canadian Copyright Act. Since the 2004 Supreme Court of Canada decision in CCH Publishers v. Law Society of Upper Canada, there has been an “Americanization” of fair dealing in Canada. Some even suggest that fair dealing is now broader than fair use. Yet, as Richard pointed out, there is no constitutional copyright provision in Canada as there is in the US.
There was much interesting discussion about where the SCC decision will take the direction of fair dealing in Canada and whether it is now the current broader use of fair dealing that applies in Canada, or whether the facts specific to the 2004 case keep the state of fair dealing as it was prior to the 2004 decision.
I see that Richard is a popular speaking on various IP issues and I urge you to attend one of his talks or seminars.
For more info about ALAI Canada, email firstname.lastname@example.org. ALAI is an international group of copyright creators (and not necessarily lawyers.)