Copyright reform is back on Legislative Agenda

The Governor-General is currently reading the Speech from the Throne, which sets the forthcoming legislative agenda, in the Senate. The speech unsurprisingly includes reference to copyright reform:

Cultural creativity and innovation are vital not only to a lively Canadian cultural life, but also to Canada &s economic future. Our Government will proceed with legislation to modernize Canada &s copyright laws and ensure stronger protection for intellectual property.

From Michael Geist

Australian government intends to introduce resale royalty right for visual art


On 3 October, Australian Arts Minister Peter Garrett announced that the Australian Federal Government plans to introduce a resale royalty right for works of visual art by 1 July 2009. This right will ensure that visual artists receive a portion of the proceeds from resales of their works. The legislation establishing the resale royalty right scheme has not yet been introduced in Parliament, but is expected bythe end of 2008.

The Government has issued a fact sheet on how the right would be structured. In short, the resale royalty scheme would involve a mandatory five per cent artist &s royalty on resales of artworks, when works are sold for $1,000 or more. The right will apply to works by living artists and for a period of 70 years after the artist &s death.

The definition of artistic works covered will include original works of graphic or plastic art, such as paintings, collages, drawings, limited edition prints, sculptures, a ceramics, glassware, and photographs.

The royalty will be payable to artists who are Australian citizens or permanent residents, or to their heirs.

Notably, the right itself will be inalienable (it cannot be transferred) or waived.

Can Copyright kill the Internet

by Kevin Smith – Scholarly Communications at Duke University

The question seems extreme, and it is certainly rhetorical. But the potential for copyright challenges to significantly limit the range of activities and services available on the Internet is very real, and severe limits on the full potential for digital communications could be imposed.

One of the great strengths of the Internet – its completely international character – is also one of its greatest weaknesses. Since laws change across national boundaries, but the Internet goes merrily along, online services can potentially be made subject to the most restrictive provisions found anywhere in the world.

Toronto Gallery Features Exhibit Highlighting C-61’s Dangers

From Michael Geist Blog

BlogTO notes that the Edward Day Gallery in Toronto is currently exhibiting a new show called “Appropos,” featuring appropriation art. The Gallery says:

The Appropos group exhibition is based on the work of artists whose use of imagery integrates existing popular culture products/icons. One of the purposes of the exhibition is to emphasize the crucial relevance of appropriation to contemporary visual artists and their studio practice. As revisions to Copyright Act legislation, known as the Act to Amend the Copyright Act, are currently underway by the Canadian government, there are valid concerns that the elements of contemporary artistic practice such as appropriation and “quoting” could potentially be outlawed by draconian legislation.

Minister Prentice responds to Geist’s column

Canadian approach to copyright

From The Star | Jun 17, 2008

Despite what Michael Geist would like readers to believe, we introduced important amendments to the Copyright Act on June 12 using a made-in-Canada approach that will benefit all Canadians. It was necessary to bring the act up-to-date with advances in technology.

Geist neglects to mention the benefits of our approach. For consumers, it allows the recording of webcasts and TV and radio programs to be enjoyed at different times; music to be copied on devices such as MP3 players; and the copying of books, newspapers, videos and photos into different formats. It also limits statutory damages at $500 for individuals if they infringe copyright for private use, provided the material is not protected by a digital lock. (Currently, statutory damages could be as high as $20,000 for a single infringement.)

Proposed copyright law amendments: some very good changes but some cause for concern

From Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada | June 13, 2008

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada supports proposed amendments to copyright law, tabled yesterday in the House of Commons, regarding educational use of Internet materials and the rules for Internet Service Providers, but is very concerned about the prohibition against circumventing Technological Measures and some of the continuing provisions on statutory damages.

We are very pleased that the bill contains an exception for educational use of Internet materials and a notice and notice regime for Internet service providers, but we do have serious concerns about the implications for higher education institutions of the provisions dealing with circumvention of technological measures and with statutory damages, said Claire Morris, president and CEO of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.


From: Canadian Association of Research Libraries | June 13, 2008

Bill C-61, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, is large, complicated and detailed. In January 2008 the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) released a statement on A Canadian Approach to Digital Copyright. A key element of that statement was that to compete nationally and internationally, researchers in Canada require a fair and balanced copyright regime that recognizes the importance of users & rights. Users & rights must not be limited or narrowed in the digital environment.

AUCC Submission to the Ministers of Industry and Canadian Heritage Concerning Copyright Law Reform

From AUCC | December 2007

The government announced in the Speech from the Throne on October 16 2007 that it will improve the protection of cultural and intellectual property rights in Canada, including copyright reform. This submission outlines AUCC &s perspectives on some key copyright reform issues and makes recommendations in four areas.

The importance of balance in a modern and competitive copyright regime

The federal government &s science and technology strategy, as set out earlier this year in Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada &s Advantage, notes the importance of balance in patent law, and, similarly, indicates that Canada is committed to ensuring that its copyright
framework provides the legal protection necessary to give copyright-based industries the confidence to invest in and roll out new business models that make full use of leading-edge technologies, while promoting the use of these technologies by researchers to gain access to the knowledge and information needed for innovation and competitiveness (page 52).