Canadian copyright report: Let’s wait and see how upload filters and press publishers rights will fail. – International Communia Association

“Last week the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) released a report with 36 recommendations to reform Canadian copyright law. Under Canadian law the committee is required to review the Canadian copyright statutes every five years and the report presented now is the outcome of such a review. While this means that it is relatively unlikely that many of the recommendations contained in the report will result in immediate legislative actions (the government is not required to act on them) the report is nevertheless interesting as it contains a number of recommendations that go in the opposite direction of the changes that the DSM directive will bring to copyright in the European Union (for a full overview of the recommendations see Michael Geist’s summary).

After a year-long study that includes a public consultation and a number of committee hearings on a wide variety of issues, the INDU committee has come to the conclusion that there is a lack of evidence for both a DSM-style press publishers right and for changes to the liability position of platform intermediaries as foreseen in Article 17 of the DSM directive. While Canadian rightsholders argued for the necessity of such interventions, they failed to convince the committee of the merits for these provisions….”

The Authoritative Canadian Copyright Review: Industry Committee Issues Balanced, Forward-Looking Report on the Future of Canadian Copyright Law – Michael Geist

In December 2017, the government launched its copyright review with a Parliamentary motion to send the review to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. After months of study and hundreds of witnesses and briefs, the committee released the authoritative review with 36 recommendations that include expanding fair dealing, a rejection of a site blocking system, and a rejection of proposals to exclude education from fair dealing where a licence is otherwise available. The report represents a near-total repudiation of the one-sided Canadian Heritage report that was tasked with studying remuneration models to assist the actual copyright review. While virtually all stakeholders will find aspects they agree or disagree with, that is the hallmark of a more balanced approach to copyright reform.

This post highlights some of the most notable recommendations in the report that are likely to serve as the starting point for any future copyright reform efforts. There is a lot here but the key takeaways on the committee recommendations:

  • 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….”