This morning, the majority of Bill
C-11, the copyright reform bill, took
effect, marking the most significant changes to Canadian
copyright law in decades. While there are still some further changes
to come (the Internet provider notice-and-notice rules await a
consultation and their own regulations, various provisions related
to the WIPO Internet treaties await formal ratification of those
treaties), all the consumer oriented provisions are now active.
The addition of education, parody, and satire as fair dealing
The creation of a non-commercial user generated content
provision that creates a legal safe harbour for creators of
non-commercial UGC (provided they meet four conditions in the
law) and for sites that host such content.
The adoption of several new consumer exceptions including time
shifting (recording of television shows), format shifting, and
the making of backup copies.
Changes to the statutory damages rules that distinguish
between commercial and non-commercial infringement. The law now
includes a cap of $5000 for all non-commercial infringement. The
change reduces the likelihood of lawsuits against individuals
for non-commercial activities and would apply to educational
institutions engaged in non-commercial activity and
significantly reduce their potential liability for infringement.
The inclusion of an exception for publicly available materials
on the Internet for education. This covers the content found on
millions of websites that can now be communicated and reproduced
by educational institutions without the need for permission or
The adoption of a technology-neutral approach for the
reproduction of materials for display purposes. The current law
is limited to manual reproduction or on an overhead projector.
The provision may be applicable in the online learning context
and open the door to digitization activities.
The implementation of a distance learning provision, though
use of the exception features significant restrictions that
require the destruction of lessons at the conclusion of the
The inclusion of a restrictive digital inter-library loans
provision that will allow for digital transmission of materials
on an inter-library basis, increasing access to materials that
have been acquired by university libraries.
A new exception for public performances in schools, which will
reduce licensing costs for educational institutions.
The Canadian Library Association issued a statement
late last week on the Access Copyright lawsuit filed against York
University, urging it to abandon the lawsuit and pointing to several
legal concerns.May.21/13Comments (0)
The Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy, and Ethics has released its study on privacy and social media.
The report includes recommendations for new Privacy Commissioner
guidelines. The NDP supplemented those recommendations with nine
additional legislative proposals that include mandatory security breach
disclosure, order making power for the Privacy Commissioner of Canada,
and the inclusion of privacy issues as part of a national digital
economy strategy.Apr.23/13Comments (1)
The federal government has responded
to a question from MP Charlie Angus on privacy and security breaches by
revealing that there have been thousands of breaches over the past
decade. The stunning response acknowledges over 3,000 breaches that have
affected over a million Canadians.Apr.23/13Comments (0)
The debate over the state of wireless competition in Canada continues to rage. Last week, I appeared on CBC's The Current,
as part of a 30 minute segment devoted to the wireless industry. The
issue was also discussed during Question Period at the House of Commons,
with Industry Minister Christian Paradis focusing on competition and consumers:
We want to enhance competition and investment in this country, and
this is why we adopted this policy back in 2008 for the AWS spectrum.
Let me say that the price went down by an average of 11% since then, and
we will continue this way with the 700 megahertz spectrum. We launched
consultation with the industry to make sure that we enhance competition
and provide better choice and better rates for our consumers.
OpenMedia has an interesting post
that takes a close look at the claim that the large Canadian geography
is responsible for high cell phone prices. The post notes that coverage
actually focuses on as little as 20 percent of the country. Apr.22/13Comments (0)
Ted Menzies, the Minister of State for Finance, yesterday delivered a talk
on the Canada - EU Trade Agreement that marked an important shift in
the government's rhetoric on the agreement. Aside from a bizarre
reference to the value of the agreement being $17 trillion dollars
(total Canadian GDP is $1.8 trillion), the talk is most notable from the
move away from promising swift completion of the agreement. After years
of setting missed deadlines, Menzies now says there is no deadline for
completion, suggesting that the government is beginning to hedge on
whether there even will be a deal. I wrote about the prospect of the agreement dying altogether last month.Apr.11/13Comments (0)
Peter Nowak has a great post
that takes another look at the state of the Canadian wireless market.
Nowak uses the latest data from Bank of America Merrill Lynch Wireless
Matrix to find that the Canadian carriers' ARPU ranks as the highest in
the world, that profit margin is the fifth highest in the world, and
that Canada's smartphone penetration is not nearly as strong as some
The European Commission's Joint Research Centre has released a report that finds that online music piracy does not harm sales. The report
examined the browsing habits of more than 16,000 European consumers. It
found that an increase in clicks on infringing sites led to a small
increase in clicks on authorized music sales sites.Mar.18/13Comments (2)