Canadian Government Proposes Amendments to Copyright Act

Jul 03 2008

On June 12, 2008, Bill C-61 entitled An Act to Amend the Copyright Act (the “Bill”) received first reading in the Canadian Parliament. The Bill proposes revisions to the Copyright Act that have been the subject of discussion for some time and reflect a desire to enhance the protection of cultural and intellectual property rights in Canada.

The Bill provides a “made-in-Canada” approach and seeks to address advances in technology and current international standards by ensuring, among other things, that Canada is in compliance with the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty and Performances and Phonograms Treaty adopted in 1996. Highlights of the changes proposed by the Bill include:

  • Protection of “technological measures” designed to prevent unauthorized copying of digital music, DVDs, and other media and technology products.
  • A fine of $500 for individuals who download copyright works illegally, provided that technological measures or digital locks were not circumvented in the process.
  • A “Notice and Notice” regime for Internet Services Providers (“ISPs”), whereby ISPs, after being notified by a rights holder of alleged infringement, would be obligated to notify the relevant subscriber of the allegations received.
  • “Private copying of music” provisions would permit individuals to make one copy of music acquired legally (i.e. purchased, not borrowed) for each device owned (including computers and MP3 players) in various formats (format shifting). The copy must be for personal use and could not be given away, sold, performed or otherwise communicated in public.
  • Education exemptions would make it legal for students at schools and colleges or universities to download copyright works for study and research.
  • Time shifting provisions would permit the making of one copy of television or radio programs for private use. The time shifted recording would have to be obtained legally and could not be given away, sold, distributed, performed or otherwise communicated in public.
  • Enhanced rights are provided in respect of a performer’s performance, including moral rights.

A photographer would become the first owner of copyright, rather than the person who commissions the photograph and the term of protection would be essentially the life of the photographer, plus 50 years following death.

This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice.

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Tags: Bill C-61, Copyright