Archive for January 11th, 2007

Copyright and Digital Markets

Canadian Press is reporting this evening that the introduction of a copyright reform bill is imminent, with the article stating that "sources say the new legislation is ready, but Heritage Minister Bev Oda and [Industry Minister Maxime] Bernier are struggling on final wording that gives each the maximum political brownie points."  The article, which features comments from myself, CRIA's Graham Henderson, and Howard Knopf, does a good job of highlighting at least two of the key issues – fair use and digital markets – that will be front and centre once the legislation is introduced.

As is the case in many other countries (Australia, UK, New Zealand), there is a growing awareness of the limits of fair dealing/fair use, particularly with respect to time/place/device shifting.  Consumers rightly take for granted that they have the right to record a television show or a copy a CD for their iPod.  Under current Canadian copyright law, such activities are at best in a legal grey zone.  Unless the government addresses the fair use issue, expect Canadians (and the media) to be very vocal about the failure to address a fundamental issue in need of reform.

Another issue that will garner considerable attention is the question of digital markets.  Graham Henderson hints at the issue in his comments, when he suggests that anti-circumvention legislation is needed to facilitate the development of new digital services, comparing the popularity of services in the U.S. with those in Canada. This argument represents a clever sleight of hand that confuses the facilitation of new services with the popularity and market acceptance of those services. 

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January 11, 2007 8 comments News