The Federal Court of Appeal today issued an important decision confirming the broad scope of fair dealing in Canada [link not yet available]. At issue was whether "research" within fair dealing could extend to song previews that are made available on sites like iTunes where a consumer can freely listen to roughly 30 seconds of a song. The Copyright Board of Canada ruled in 2007 that a broad and liberal interpretation of fair dealing meant that it could be included since the preview was effectively consumer research on whether to purchase the song. SOCAN disagreed and sought judicial review.
The Federal Court of Appeal has affirmed the Copyright Board's interpretation, opening the door to many other consumer research possibilities under the current fair dealing provision. While SOCAN argued that research should be limited to scientific-type inquiry in a formal setting, the court disagreed, stating:
Read more ›
With a copyright bill only weeks away, thousands of Canadians are again speaking out for a fair, balanced approach. The public interest in copyright has predictably led to mischaracterizations of fair copyright as some claim that it is really about wanting everything for free or about opposing copyright reform. This increasingly leads to a blame the user mentality – the award-winning Vancouver Film School video on DRM and the Amazon Kindle incident from last summer discussed in yesterday's post is labeled as "ridiculous fear-mongering" (yet for years rights holders opened every movie with this film) or users are said to ignore creator concerns with a "gimme" attitude (yet the Writers Union recently urged its members to lobby MPs by claiming that flexible fair dealing would legalize theft).
The reality is that inflammatory and inaccurate rhetoric can be found on both creator and consumer-focused sites. There are undoubtedly some who use fair copyright to justify obvious cases of infringement, just as there are those that use copyright reform to preserve outdated business models or to guard against uses that the Supreme Court of Canada would surely view as fair dealing. Even a cursory search for online discussion demonstrates that claims that "sensationalist campaigning" on Canadian copyright is primarily found on sites such as mine are simply wrong.
So yet again in an effort to separate fact from fiction, here is my submission to the copyright consultation from last summer. It doesn't call for everything to be free, it calls for WIPO implementation, and it emphasizes that updating the law means accounting for both creator and consumer needs. As I've discussed over the past ten days, sources say Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore has largely rejected this submission – along with thousands of other submissions calling for a fair copyright approach – but it can't hurt to reiterate what those reforms could look like. For the many Canadians whose views may also be ignored, now is a good time to remind their MPs and the Ministers what they think the copyright bill should contain.
Read more ›