Canada updated its copyright laws in 2012, with the mandate that the new provisions be reviewed in 5 years. Over the past 2 years the Canadian government has been studying the impacts of the law (the comments we submitted last December can be found here) and recently issued a very reasonable set of recommendations for modest improvements to the law.
Canadian scholar Michael Geist summarized the report better than we ever could here. His summary of the key takeaways are:
- expansion of fair dealing by making the current list of fair dealing purposes illustrative rather than exhaustive (the “such as” approach)
- rejection of new limits on educational fair dealing with further study in three years
- retention of existing Internet safe harbour rules
- rejection of the FairPlay site blocking proposal with insistence that any blocking include court oversight
- expansion of the anti-circumvention rules by permitting circumvention of digital locks for purposes that are lawful (ie. permit circumvention to exercise fair dealing rights)
- extend the term of copyright only if ratifying the USCMA and include a registration requirement for the additional 20 years implement
- a new informational analysis exception
- further study of statutory damages for all copyright collectives along with greater transparency
- adoption of an open licence rather than the abolition of crown copyright
We are very pleased to see Canada moving towards more flexibility in their fair dealing regime, open licenses for government works, and registration requirements for longer terms and away from draconian site blocking and filtering proposals. We hope these reasonable recommendations will be followed by the Canadian Parliament.