Knopf With 21 Reasons Canadian Copyright Law Is Stronger Than The U.S.

Howard Knopf has an absolute must-read post that lists 21 reasons why Canadian copyright law is already stronger than the U.S.  Knopf's list includes the existence of the private copying levy,  neighbouring rights, movie theatre payments for exhibiting films, moral rights, the fact that broadcasters pay more copyright royalties and educators pay more copyright royalties, and that fair dealing is more restrictive than fair use.  There are many more – read the whole thing.


  1. Good Grief!
    Maybe a US style copyright law isn’t such a bad idea 0_o;

  2. strunk&white says:

    Do you mean to tell me that under Canadian law, artists and creators get paid, and we can’t resell Irving Berlin’s music wihtout his estate getting a cut?

    Will this madness never end?!

  3. @strunk
    ? I’m not following what you are getting at. I thought the point of the article was not to suggest our laws are “madness” or that they go overboard at all but rather to demonstrate that we currently have strong copyright laws in Canada despite the constant claims from the IPAA / U.S.

  4. Captain Hook says:

    don’t feed the trolls
    crade, whitey is being sarcastic and he is just here to stir up trouble. My strong advice to you is not to take his bait. Don’t respond to his posts. He’s not interesting in debate. You’ll just end up in a pointless flame war. I’ve done it myself far too many times.

  5. strunk&white says:

    from flamebait to troll
    Hook, just because you can’t muster a convincing argument against me, don’t discourage others from talking. Crade’s an adult, presumably, and can take care of himself. Unless your agenda now is to stifle others’ free expression of ideas by discouraging conversation? Surprising, considering your usual high respect for creative content.

    Crade, I think you’ve made an easy mistake to make, and I don’t blame you at all for doing so. Much of the rhetoric on the established copyleft jumps back and forth between suggesting Canadian copyright law needs to be “more like the US” (fair use, registration, etc. — just read Hook on any of these topics) and “less like the US” (DMCA, term extensions, etc — here I’ll direct you to an actual authority, and advise you read Geist).

    Knopf is engaging in some rhetorical sleight of hand here. While the posting does offer a criticism of Canada being on the watch list, it is also trying to say that our laws are often “too” strong, too heavy handed and not user-friendly enough. A fair enough assertion from someone of Knopf’s declared political stance on the topic, so I’m not sure why it needs to be disguised in this way, unless he’s trying to fool people.

    The sleight of hand comes in when he discusses Canada’s piracy record, which is a different issue from whether or not our laws protect copyright strongly enough compared to the US. My position is that if pirates find easy working conditions in Canada, then our laws against piracy, strong or not, are not being properly enforced.

    And when he takes pains to insert his opinion about the “excessive” Access Copyright licence fees for educational use, there can be little doubt that Mr. Knopf is engaging in a skillful two-handed demonstration of both anti- and pro-Americanism all flowing from his belief (look at the name of his blog) that Canadian copyright is excessive.

    Thanks for reminding me to add that in to my last comment:

    You mean to tell me that each student in Canada has to pay an entire $5.16 to access copyrighted materials in the classroom? Outrageous! I’m sure that’s way more than the amount each student pays toward professor salaries, heat, electricity, chalk costs, parking, janitorial services, admin workers, security, etc., etc., etc.

  6. Thank you for clarifying.

  7. Funk & Slight says:

    Troll Mole
    If Strunk & White isn’t a trolling lawyer &/or lobbyist, then I’ll be a monkey’s uncle &/or aunt.

  8. strunk&white says:

    genealogical uncertainty
    I hope you get all that figured out, Funk — the aunt or uncle thing.

    Classic copyleft response, btw. Someone is saying something we have no way of intelligently disagreeing with. They must be a lawyer or lobbyist. I would love to hear how folks over here define the term “lobbyist.”

    Do you mean someone who seeks and finds special access to those in high government office in order to advance a particular special interest? Someone who uses whatever tools are at hand in order to influence public policy?

    You might want to ask yourself whose blog you comment on regularly — seeing as how Geist is both a lawyer and, by that definition above, a lobbyist.

    I mean, I have never had a private, secret meeting with Jim Prentice to go over details of proposed copyright legislation:

    And for the record, I am neither a lawyer, nor a lobbyist. I am a professional, working artist who thinks the great promise of digital culture need not come at the expense of established and valuable rights.

  9. Captain Hook says:

    established and valuable rights
    “And for the record, I am neither a lawyer, nor a lobbyist. I am a professional, working artist who thinks the great promise of digital culture need not come at the expense of established and valuable rights.”

    I couldn’t agree more whitey. established and valuable rights such as fair use/dealing, real private property rights, rights established through first sale doctrine, and privacy rights. These are all rights that are seriously threatened by technology currently being employed by some copyright holders and by recent proposed changes in law. We need changes in law to safeguard these basic and fundamental rights.

    (damn I just couldn’t resist the bait again)

  10. strunk&white says:

    please, resist
    Observe your great advocate in action, all ye who would call me troll. Even after vowing not to, the cowardly pirate cannot resist showing his vast ignorance once again.

    I’ve said it before, sigh, so many times, and I’ll say it again. We can get where all of us want to go (confident fair dealing, better consumer definition and confidence) with fewer creator rights, or with our longstanding creator rights intact. We are all both creators and consumers, so make your choice… do we net fewer rights, or more.

    Advocate or defend piracy in any way — even the cowardly way Hook does, by not actually engaging in it but building some sort of naive revolution narrative out of it — and you are making a conscious choice to give up your very own established creator rights.

    You want to give your stuff away for sharing, there’s an app for that — creative commons. Piracy is unnecessary and illegal.

    You’d think this would be an easy concept to grasp.

  11. strunk&white says:

    … and, seriously? After accusing me of the worst crimes you can imagine — being a lawyer and lobbyist — no-one here has anything to say about Geist’s apparently secret meeting with Jim Prentice?

    We see what we want to see, I suppose.

  12. Michael Geist says:

    The “Secret Meeting” that Wasn’t
    Strunk & White,

    For the record, there was no secret meeting with Prentice. I only met him once – on a flight from Ottawa to Toronto in November 2007. I introduced myself and we chatted for a couple of minutes. While the department may have produced a briefing memo for a meeting, I was never asked to attend a meeting with him and never did.

    More interesting (to me at least) is who is feeding a Los Angeles lawyer document after document to throw mud – much of it false – in the hope that some of it sticks.

    As for your definition of a lobbyist, the Lobbyist Act contains the actual requirements. Citizens are free to speak out without being regulated as lobbyists. Those paid to arrange meetings or representing organizations that have such meetings (say EDs of creator groups) are viewed by the law as lobbyists and require registration.


  13. Captain Hook says:

    I’d love to resist
    There is nothing I’d like more whitey except for the fact to you constantly spread disinformation.

    It is simply not possible to have legal protection for TPM without infringing private property rights or “fair dealings”. In an age where mere use involves making a copy, the principle behind first sale doctrine cannot be honoured under current or proposed laws. You live in a Utopian fantasy land or maybe a Wonderland. Sadly you lack a fundimental understanding of the technology and that allows you to make impossible conclusions.

    WRT Geist. I would be absolutely ecstatic if he actually did get to see Prentice. It would show that perhaps the government is taking a balanced view of the issue. Sadly the document identified in the linked blog

    ( and a half just wont do.pdf )

    appears to be an early draft of a memo to be sent to the minister in anticipation of a meeting with the professor. I would be very surprised if staffers did not create this sort of memo regularly so that they could quickly brief a minister in the event that meetings were to take place. The fact that there is no final version of this memo and the fact that Geist did not blog about any meeting indicates that it is very unlikely that such a meeting actually took place. Once again whitey you are blowing smoke trying to stir up trouble.

    On a related not. Are you aware that the document identified in this link that the blogger admitted was the result of an access to information request, is in fact subject to crown copyright? By posting this document online the blogger (as he most likely put it there) is in fact breaking copyright law. Why no words from you whitey about this blatant defying of the law? For someone who sees copyright law as such a simple black and white issue, this make you a bit of a hypocrite. Don’t you think?

  14. strunk&white says:

    thanks for clarifying
    This is a touching family moment. Hook stepping in once again to get in between Dr. Geist and potential criticism. I’m sure Dr. Geist will return the favour now and back up Hook on all his proffered points of law.

    I am very glad you’ve cleared up the business about the meeting. It was confusing indeed to read all that stuff about you being paid by Industry to produce a report on fair use, and how you had requested a meeting with the Minister.

    I have no idea who, if anyone, is “feeding” information to a lawyer in LA — is Chris Castle a lawyer? He is listed as a journalist on his blog. Was that just a “lawyer as bad guy” rhetorical slip, or am I missing something about Mr. Castle?

    But I do agree with you that mud-slinging is a crappy way to argue. It’s like the guy assumes everything you do hides an ulterior motive, like you’re a lobbyist, industry spokesman, or corrupt politician in the pay of an American entertainment cartel or something.

    I guess if I were the ED of a creator group, I’d be happy to disclose that fact here and speak on behalf of that group. I am not the ED of a creator group and, as I’ve said many times, I speak here as a completely independent professional artist.

    So, this whole operation here is the private enterprise of just an ordinary Canadian citizen with no affiliation to any interested party in the copyright debate? I had no idea. You are obviously the busiest, wealthiest, copyright-interested, unaffiliated private citizen around.

    But just to be clear, when you talk about that ED of the creator group being a lobbyist, she would fall under this definition in the Lobbying Act?

    “In-house Lobbyist (Organization): A person who is
    employed by a non-profit entity such as a university, a charity or an association”?

    … and the kind of lobbying we’re talking about is:

    “communicating with public office holders with respect to changing federal laws, regulations, policies or
    programs, obtaining a financial benefit such as a grant or contribution, in certain cases, obtaining a government contract”?

    And Hook, maybe Dr. Geist could explain to both of us whether or not Castle’s posting of the ATIP document infringes on Crown Copyright. Since he knows the law, and you have proven you do not, I’ll wait for an authoritative word. If he doesn’t get back to us, I’ll ask Barry Sookman tomorrow.

  15. Captain Hook says:

    yup, clearly a troll
    LOL, it appears that Geist sees well through those book covers you wear as a disguise whitey. His only failing I would say is not having kept up with your career change. I guess he doesn’t know that you are no longer the “ED of a certain creators’ group”.

    It’s interesting how quickly you pass judgement on those you disagree with, but when the people you enlist to support your weak arguments are criticized for immoral or illegal behaviour you prefer to wait for an “authoritative word”. Please do so, and take a bit of time to learn something about the law, and crown copyright, before spouting off your inciting rants.

    Your comments show your troll and trouble maker colours well. Good to see you admit your preferred form of arguing is “crappy”.

  16. strunk&white says:

    …still waiting

  17. strunk&white says:

    let’s all play the Jeopardy (TM) song in our heads while we wait
    … and also while we wait, Hook — I’m glad you finally recognize that copyright infringement is a moral issue. The longer you and I talk (despite your revolving vow never to speak to me again) the closer you move to my side. I like that.

    My opinion is that Castle’s use of the legally released ATIP document would be fair dealing in Canada as it appears to be both news reporting and criticism. I think for similar reasons it would be considered fair use in the US.

    As I have stated many, many times, I am a fierce defender of fair dealing for Canadians and fair use for Americans — for just this reason. It is vitally important that original creators, including journalists and critics not be unduly constrained by copyright when exercising their freedom of expression. Can I conclude from your defence of the crown’s copyright in this instance that you would prefer Mr. Castle’s FoE not be respected or protected? You know it’s Freedom to Read Week, right?

    Anyway, I am NOT a lawyer (for the hundredth time), so I am happy to wait for Dr. Geist who IS a lawyer, or for any other visiting lawyers to correct me on my interpretation of fair dealing in this case. If it is shown that Mr. Castle has infringed copyright (as so many illegal filesharers do as a matter of daily practice), then I do indeed think he has crossed a moral line — but I also happen to believe in due process.

    Hook, if you eventually ever tire of being so embarrassingly wrong in public, please do stick to your own vow and ignore my comments. There are plenty of other people I enjoy talking to about copyright.

  18. Captain Hook says:

    Please, someone tell s&w what to think.
    You miss the wider moral issue whitey. Not copyright infringement, but simply copyright. Of which infringement is but a subset.

    Just because I criticize a particular act for its legality, does not mean I see any correlation with the acts morality. You must be mistaking me for someone more like yourself. It is amazing to me how your moral decisions are based on what rule of law you have been “shown”. You appear to be incapable of making moral judgements outside of an external legal structure. I found a similar situation with my children when they were toddlers, but they are older now and free thinkers.

    There is nothing I have said here for which I could imagine being embarrassed, but I’m not at all surprised you think so. You see the whole world through a pin hole, and are surprised when people don’t share your perspective.

    What was it you were waiting for again? Oh yes, that “authoritative word”. Well, it would appear you have made your judgement regarding this document now. Shouldn’t that mean that you’ve found some lawyer somewhere who was willing to tell you what to think? But then again, you didn’t sound completely convinced. I do hope someone with suitable credentials happens by who can tell you what is legal, and therefore what is moral. Please excuse me if I do not wait with you.

  19. strunk&white says:

    … still waiting.

    Anyone want to lay on bet on whether or not Hook stays gone?

  20. children children
    Most entertaining 🙂

    Just thought I would stop by to read some interesting articles on issues that are important to me – thank you Mr. Geist, great work, keep it up.

    Seeing this tedious bog standard internet flame war gave me the urge to post for some reason.

    I vote for abolishing copyright altogether. Guess what – people would still sing songs and tell stories. People would probably sing more songs and tell more stories if they didn’t have to constantly watch over their shoulders for scary “rights holders”. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it 😉

    Just to balance the impression that people might get from reading this thread. A lot of people couldn’t care less about copyright and wish it would just go away. It’s amazing that copyright has lasted this far into the digital age, copyright is more than 300 years old now! Almost every single person in this country has access to the tools that bring the cost of making a copy effectively down to zero. There is a dying breed trying frantically to create some kind of artificial scarcity in copies so that they can continue to siphon value out of society for providing them. The sooner they give up the ghost the better.

    IMHO. Just Saying. Etc.

  21. strunk&white says:

    thanks for participating
    Mike… I’ll let others here discuss how they feel about the abolition of copyright. Me, I’m against it as long as we continue to live in a market-based democracy. I like my rights.

    …. and, we’re still waiting.

  22. Captain Hook says:

    … waiting for Geist
    This image came to mind as I notice whitey still wait for something. I couldn’t help coming back to share. LOL

    STRUNK: Well? What do we do?
    WHITE: Don’t let’s do anything. It’s safer.
    STRUNK: Let’s wait and see what he says.
    WHITE: Who?
    STRUNK: Geist.
    WHITE: Good idea.
    STRUNK: Let’s wait till we know exactly how we stand.
    WHITE: On the other hand it might be better to strike the iron before it freezes.
    STRUNK: I’m curious to hear what he has to offer. Then we’ll take it or leave it.
    WHITE: What exactly did we ask him for?
    STRUNK: Were you not there?
    WHITE: I can’t have been listening.
    STRUNK: Oh . . . Nothing very definite.
    WHITE: A kind of prayer.
    STRUNK: Precisely.

  23. strunk&white says:

    who dat?
    Leave in a huff, return in ignorance. The comic pirate stumbles upon re-entry to the stage.

    We’re not waiting for my opinion, schnook. I’ve given my opinion, and it seems no-one is correcting me on it. I thought it was right. Appears to be so.

    We continue to wait for Dr. Geist to come back and defend your many authoritative pronouncements on the law.

    Does it surprise me you also don’t understand Beckett?

    It does not.

    And so… we wait.

  24. v

  25. sry
    i didn’t know that i was signed in

  26. 😀
    Link: gee it sure is boreing around here.
    King: mah boi this peace is what all true warriors strive for