Canada Revises Copyright Law – You Should Know…

“Copyright reform in Canada has, after a decade of effort, finally moved towards implementation. On November 7, 2012, pursuant to an Order in Council, many provisions of the Copyright Modernization Act … came into force.” (Bennett Jones)

It’s been a long time coming, but the first sections of the Canada’s revised copyright law – approved in June by Parliament to bring up the country’s rules to international standards – have finally gone into effect.

What’s new? You should know:

1. Copyright owners get “making available rights” and distribution rights:

“The Act will bring Canadian copyright legislation in line with two WIPO Internet treaties, including giving all copyright owners a making available right. This right grants copyright holders certain control in how copyrighted material is released online. This provision is specifically aimed at the unauthorized sharing of works over peer-to-peer networks. Copyright owners can also look forward to distribution rights, which will allow the control of the first sale of every copy of their work.” (Bennett Jones)

2. Technological Protection Measures (TPMs) are protected under the law:

“TPMs, or ‘digital locks’, are technologies, devices or components that provide protection or copyright materials through either access control or copy control. Three types of protection for TPMs are introduced under the CMA, prohibiting: circumvention of access‐control TPMs; offering circumvention services to the public; and manufacturing, importing, distributing, selling, renting or providing devices, technologies or components whose primary purpose is circumvention.” (Fraser Milner Casgrain)

3. User rights have been expanded, especially with respect to fair use:

“The fair dealing exceptions are the most important of the user’s rights and the purposes for which fair dealing may be conducted has been expanded to include satire, parody and education as fair uses of copyrighted materials along with research, private study and criticism. In addition, the Act permits the use of legitimately acquired copyrighted material for users to create their own content. User generated mash-ups of clips of other works will constitute new works as long they are not for commercial purposes and do not prejudice the original copyright owner’s economic interests or moral rights.” (Bennett Jones)

4. Internet service providers (ISPs) are exempt from subscriber infringement:

“The Supreme Court of Canada has held that ISPs do not participate in the copyright infringement of their users. If they merely provide ‘passive connections’ for content, and if acting solely as intermediaries for their users and subscribers, ISPs are generally not liable for infringing content. The amendments effectively codify this approach to ISP liability.” (Fraser Milner Casgrain)

5. Fines are reduced for private-use infringement:

“The Act changes the current statutory damages regime by introducing a distinction between statutory damages for private-use infringement and infringement for commercial purposes. Previously courts could award statutory damages of $500 to $20,000 per infringement, with no distinction made depending on the purpose of the infringement. The new Act significantly reduces possible statutory damages for individuals who infringe the Act for personal, non-commercial purposes. In such a case, the court may award between $100 and $5,000 in total damages.” (Bennett Jones)

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