The CCC on Copyright Reform

The Creators' Copyright Coalition is out this morning with its position on copyright reform.  The CCC includes many large creator associations and copyright collectives.  Though there are some notable exceptions – the Canadian Music Creators Coalition, Appropriation Art, and the Documentary Organization of Canada to name three – there are some important voices here.

While the government's focus on copyright reform has centred on new technologies, the CCC's position paper seems to focus primarily on non-digital issues.  Indeed, the CCC is clearly troubled by the growing concern from users (it talks of "the tendency to privilege users") and of the Supreme Court of Canada's emphasis on balancing copyright (it laments that users are "now officially part of an on-going process of striking a 'necessary balance'").  The position paper sets out to scale back user concerns by dropping the SCC's balance objective to one where the "Copyright Act's main objective is to protect the moral and economic rights of creators."  Moreover, it seeks to limit the fair dealing provision, by specifically excluding any commercial purposes from within its ambit.

In addition to shifting away from a copyright balance, the CCC looks at copyright reform primarily as the opportunity to introduce new rights and fees.  In particular:

  • a massive expansion of the private copying levy so that it covers all works (not just sound recordings) and all media
  • an extension of the exhibition right to all visual works not in the public domain
  • the creation of a new droit de suite right that would pay creators for their work and for any successive sales of their work
  • the striking of a provision from the Copyright Act that allows for public reading or recitation of a reasonable extract of a work
  • the creation of a new peformers' right for reproduction
  • abolishing a discounted tariff designed to ease the burden on small broadcasters

Moreover, the CCC calls on the government to implement the WIPO Internet treaties and to force ISPs to play a more active role in policing their networks through a notice and takedown system. 

The CCC is obviously unconcerned with user rights or the many creators who cite uncertainty of access as a primary worry.  Indeed, many will interpret these proposals – limits on fair dealing, expanded private copying, and elimination of public recitation of extracts – as a clear attack on user rights.  This places Industry Minister Jim Prentice in an even greater quandry since he can now add the CCC to the list of groups that will not like his Canadian DMCA.

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