Canadian copyright consultation

Here is my response to the Canadian copyright consultation. Canadians, take note of the Sunday, September 13, 2009 deadline for submissions.

Questions and my Responses

  1. How do Canada’s copyright laws affect you? How should existing laws be modernized?


    As an academic, prolific writer and scholar of scholarly communication: Canada’s copyright laws do not fit academia. Most scholarly research is supported by research grants (in turn supported by public funding) and/or academic salaries. Our need is to publish as widely as possible, for maximum impact of our work and to advance our careers. The optimum dissemination approach for academia is open access to scholarly peer-reviewed journal articles. Canadian academics need strong support for copyright laws that facilitate sharing, for example by strengthening fair dealing provisions, eliminating Crown copyright, eliminating automatic copyright registration, and shortening the timeline before copyrighted work enters the public domain. It is important to ensure that any copyright provisions designed for other sectors not hinder advances in scholarly knowledge.

    Digital rights management and technological prevention measures, and anti-circumvention laws, are of great concern to me. Although I share my own work freely, I do not control the Internet, and so it is entirely possible that others could impose DRM or TPM without my knowledge or permission on my works. If Canadian copyright law is to address DRM / TPM, it is essential to include provisions outlawing imposition of DRM / TPM on material shared freely, as well as to allow circumvention for any lawful uses of a work.

    As a creator – writer, photographer, interested in both free sharing and potentially commercial uses of my work, my view here also is that Canada should strongly support free sharing of information. The Internet and Creative Commons licensing have expanded opportunities for creativity and collaboration, with unprecedented potential for developing and enhancing culture and community. CC licensing should be encouraged and supported.

  2. Based on Canadian values and interests, how should copyright changes be made in order to withstand the test of time


    AVOID notice and takedown / 3 strikes and you are out types of provisions. Canadian democracy is built on trust, assumption of innocence until one is proven guilty, rehabilitation. Notice and notice fits Canadian values.

  3. What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada?


    Enhance and expand: fair dealing to reflect “fair use” style provisions. For example, teachers in the U.S. can hand out materials to students in class under fair use, while Canadian teachers cannot. Creative commons licensing.

    Eliminate: Crown copyright (have taxpayer-support research enter directly into public domain, as in the U.S.), automatic copyright protection.

    Reduce lengthy copyright terms, or require re-registry. 14 years is lots. This would bring lots of orphan works quickly into the public domain.

    Avoid: anti-circumvention measures. These are completely unnecessary. If circumvention is done for illegal purposes, the illegal purpose is already covered. Notice and takedown. 3 strikes and you are out.

  4. What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster competition and investment in Canada? and 5. What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy?


    Encourage and support free sharing of information, such as through Creative Commons licensing, through the means mentioned above. For example, if Crown copyright is eliminated, then anyone can read lots of research funded by taxpayers for the Canadian public interest. Businesses throughout the country, and the world, would have helpful information that could lead to new business ideas which would benefit Canadians (i.e., solve the problems that inspired the government to fund the research). Creative Commons is a means for Canadian artists to expand their reach and audience around the globe.

    Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this consultation.

    Heather Morrison, MLIS

    Please note that I will post a copy of this response to my scholarly blog, The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics