Appeared in the Hill Times on August 2, 2010 as Federal Court Ruling Shows Copyright Fair Dealing Fears Greatly Exaggerated The introduction of long-awaited copyright reform legislation has generated considerable discussion among Canadians about whether the latest bill strikes the right balance. While concern over Bill C-32’s digital lock rules […]
Post Tagged with: "cch"
Loreena McKennitt published an op-ed supporting copyright reform in the Winnipeg Free Press over the weekend that focuses on the harm of infringement and the need for C-32. The piece raises at least a couple of issues. First, there is the claim that "even popcorn sellers are struggling to stay alive" in light the current state of Canadian copyright law. This claim arises from some declining interest in big music tours, which is taken as evidence that performances are not a viable alternative for many musicians. What copyright reform has to do with concert venues, performers or popcorn sellers is anyone's guess – promoters of struggling music tours say it has everything to do with a tough economy, competition for the entertainment dollar, and high ticket prices rather than music downloads or IP enforcement. Copyright reform won't change the financial dynamics of the touring industry, which will presumably still leave those same popcorn vendors struggling to stay alive.
If the McKennitt piece was limited to the popcorn claim, it would merely join previous attempts to link copyright with the success of the corn industry (see Rick Cotton of NBC Universal). However, McKennitt also challenges the very notion of user rights in copyright, calling them "so-called user rights" which she says is used by activists and academics as "crafted language."
In my first post on the Access Copyright suit against Staples/The Business Depot, I noted that I had not seen the statement of claim and therefore could not comment fully on the case. I have now seen the claim and remain puzzled that Access Copyright is bringing this lawsuit. From a legal perspective, it looks like an almost sure loser – the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on many of these same issues only three years ago and sided strongly against the publishers (who in this case are effectively represented by Access Copyright).
Access Copyright claims that there is both direct and authorized copyright infringement and that it needs both injunctive relief (it would like to shut down Staples/The Business Depot photocopying business) and punitive damages to account for the fact that "the actions of Business Depot have been high-handed, reckless and in blatant disregard of the copyright interests of Access Copyright." So how, according to Access Copyright, has Staples/The Business Depot infringed copyright?
Access Copyright has launched a $10 million lawsuit against Staples/The Business Depot for unauthorized copying by store customers. The copyright collective claims this is the largest lawsuit ever launched over copyright infringement of published works in Canada. Given the high stakes, this is the sort of case that could end […]
The Copyright Board of Canada has just issued the first part of its decision in the long-running (since 1996) Tariff 22 case. The Board is prepared to establish a tariff for the communication of musical works over the Internet and while much of the decision is devoted to economic analysis, several key legal questions are addressed. Of greatest interest is its conclusion that offering music previews (ie. a portion of a song) constitutes fair dealing under Canadian copyright law as it can be characterized as copying for the purpose of research. This decision – which is right in my view – highlights the very broad nature of fair dealing following the Supreme Court of Canada's CCH decision.
The Board rightly notes that listening to an excerpt of a work is consumer research into whether they might like to purchase the song, concluding that: