30 Days of DRM – Day 23: Education Institutions (Circumvention Rights)

Much like the Libraries, Archives, and Museums provisions discussed yesterday, Canadian educational institutions also benefit from some specific exceptions under the Copyright Act.  These include:

  • Section 29.4(1), which permits copying a work to project in a classroom for education or training purposes
  • Section 29.4(2), which permits reproduction or telecommunications of works as required for examination purposes
  • Section 29.6, which permits educational institutions and their educators to make a copy of a news program to be shown to a class, while 29.7 covers any other program communicated to the public by telecommunication for a class presentation.  These provisions are subject to several requirements including royalty payments and stringent record keeping.

All of these provisions face the prospect of being curtailed by DRM as the technology can be used to limit basic copying, reproduction, and copying of television broadcasts.  Once anti-circumvention legislation is added to the mix, merely attempting to exercise those rights could constitute an infringement.
While many believe that these rights do not go far enough, they nevertheless should be preserved through an education institution circumvention right that match the statutory exceptions.

Ironically, the education community itself is effectively promoting the use of DRM as it pursues its ill-advised Internet exception.  The exception would exclude works that are copy-protected, thereby encouraging the use of DRM for those that wish to avoid falling within the scope of the exception. Rather than pushing for this exception, the education community would do far better to promote limitations on the use of DRM within the education system and to ensure that existing education rights are not harmed by anti-circumvention legislation.

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