Archive for January 19th, 2011

Why Canada’s Fair Dealing Rules May Impede Free Speech: The Conservative Ads, the CBC, and Copyright

This week the Conservative party began airing a series of ads criticizing the opposition, including three that included short video clips from a CBC program.  The CBC has objected to the use of the footage, stating that its material should not be used in partisan advertising and noting that the Conservatives did not ask for permission to use the clip.  The Conservative party has responded by arguing that the use is covered by fair dealing and that no permission was needed.  According to the Fred DeLorety, the director of communications for the party, “It’s free speech. It’s free use.” To support its position, the Conservatives point to the use of a similar clip by C-SPAN in the United States under its fair use rules.  The argument seems to be that if it is fair use in the U.S., surely it is fair use (or dealing) in Canada (Stephen Taylor makes the same point in criticizing the CBC for not having a better grasp of fair use).

The problem with this argument is that is mistakenly presumes that the U.S. fair use provision covers the same ground as Canadian fair dealing.  It doesn’t.  Indeed, this is precisely why many have argued for a flexible fair dealing provision, which unfortunately is not found in current Copyright Act or in Bill C-32.

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January 19, 2011 32 comments News

Bell Telemarketers Generate Thousands of Complaints

The Toronto Star features a stunning article on tens of thousands of complaints filed with the CRTC over Bell’s telemarketing practices.  The report includes allegations of abusive and aggressive callers, including one instance of a death threat.

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January 19, 2011 1 comment Must Reads

Canada’s Grassroots National Digital Library Takes Shape

Last week, the European Commission released The New Renaissance, an expert report on efforts to digitize Europe’s cultural heritage.  My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that Europe has been particularly aggressive about its digitization efforts, developing Europeana, an online portal currently featuring more than 15 million works of art, books, music, and film, as well as the European Library, which provides access to 24 million pages of full-text scanned by 14 national libraries.

Several European countries have set very ambitious digitization goals.  The National Library of the Netherlands has committed to digitizing everything – all Dutch books, newspapers and periodicals dating back to 1470.  The National Library of Norway set a similar goal in 2005, setting in motion plans to digitize its entire collection that now includes 170,000 books, 250,000 newspapers, 610,000 hours of radio broadcasts, 200,000 hours of television and 500,000 photographs.

Building on those efforts, the report recommended that public domain works be digitized with public funding and be made freely available for access and re-use.  It also called on lawmakers to develop policies to facilitate the digitization of works still subject to copyright protection.

Canada could have attempted something similar years ago by committing to its own national digital library. Library and Archives Canada was given responsibility for the issue but was unable to muster the necessary support for a comprehensive plan.  Last year, it published a final report on its national digital information strategy, noting that it “brings to a close LAC’s role as facilitator of the consultations.”

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January 19, 2011 2 comments Columns

Canada’s Grassroots National Digital Library Takes Shape

Appeared in the Toronto Star on January 16, 2011 as Ottawa AWOL but Others Busy Digitizing Canada’s Heritage Last week, the European Commission released The New Renaissance, an expert report on efforts to digitize Europe’s cultural heritage. Europe has been particularly aggressive about its digitization efforts, developing Europeana, an online […]

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January 19, 2011 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive