Time for Canada To Cancel Crown Copyright

My weekly Law Bytes column (full hypertext version with background links or Toronto Star version, homepage version) focuses on Canadian crown copyright, which provides that the government retains the copyright associated with any work that is prepared or published by or under its direction, creating an enormous and unconscionable barrier to Canadian film making, political advocacy, and free speech.

The column arose in response to last month's civil disobedience campaign involving file sharing of the Eyes on the Prize documentary. While that activity put the spotlight on the copyright issues associated with obtaining rights for documentaries, Canadian film makers face the additional burden of obtaining government approval when using public documents or video.

The column concludes that using government documents and video materials without approval from the Parliament's Speaker of the House should not be a case of civil disobedience. It should be permitted by law.

Update: Ottawa Citizen version of the article is now online.

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