The Canadian Association of Law Libraries currently has approximately 500 members representing a wide variety of law library interests across Canada. It provides a forum for the exchange of information and ideas among members, fosters cooperation among Canadian law libraries, and plays an active role in promoting access to legal information for all Canadians. CALL has addressed digital locks within the context of Bill C-32, noting the implications for access to law:
Libraries and other knowledge institutions are increasingly dependent on works in digital form and are acutely affected by the deployment of TPMs to limit access to or use of copyrighted materials. Vendors should not be permitted to undermine the balanced rights users have been granted by the fair dealing clauses of the Act. Vendors should not be permitted, as part of their business model, to make otherwise fair (and therefore legal) dealings with copyrighted materials effectively illegal. Effecting what is or is not legal in our society is the job of our legislature. To say that this issue is fairly resolved because purchasers have a choice not to buy materials with digital locks is disingenuous and misleading. Vendors often have exclusive rights to sell particular content, and libraries and knowledge institutions have a mandate to meet all of the research and educational needs of their users. It is rarely possible for us to purchase the same content from any alternative vendor, let alone one who has chosen not to prevent what are legal uses of the material under the Copyright Act.
Our clients want to transfer content to portable devices for use in courtrooms, classrooms and at home, for legitimate research and academic scholarship. Technological means are being applied to electronic media in our libraries, whereas our clients were previously able to borrow print materials for home use and study. Increasingly, users of legal information who are not affiliated with a library, such as lay litigants, members of the public and some students, are being deprived of access to the law because of licensing restrictions. Such information, previously provided in book form on open library shelves, now lies on the other side of the digital divide.
We recommend that the proposed wording in Bill C-32 be changed so that any uses that qualify under the fair dealing provisions would not be subject to the anticircumvention prohibitions in the Act. This will prevent the erosion of user rights in the Act, ensure that fair dealing will remain technologically neutral, and ensure that TPMs are designed to accommodate fair dealing in the digital environment.
Previous Daily Digital Locks: Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired (PRCVI) BC, Canadian Consumer Initiative, Retail Council of Canada, Canadian Council of Archives, Canadian Teachers’ Federation, Canadian Federation of Students, Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Documentary Organization of Canada, Canadian Library Association, Council of Ministers of Education Canada, Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright, Canadian Association of Research Libraries, Canadian Historical Association, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Canadian Bookseller Association, Canadian Home and School Federation, Film Studies Association of Canada, Canadian Bar Association, Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Appropriation Art, Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Archives