Archive for September 27th, 2011

Behind the Scenes of Bill C-32: Govt’s Clause-By-Clause Analysis Raises Constitutional Questions

Last week’s behind the scenes of Bill C-32 post focused on the Ministerial Q & A prepared for the joint appearance of Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore and then-Industry Minister Tony Clement. With the next copyright bill coming very soon – possibly this week – today I am posting the more detailed clause-by-clause document [118 MB PDF] provided to the Ministers that reviews every provision in the bill, explains it rationale, and identifies changes to the current law.

There are few surprises here as the document provides a helpful analysis of the bill from the government’s perspective. The exhaustive review provides a striking reminder that the government is extending liability under the Copyright Act for activities that may not even infringe copyright, thereby raising questions about the constitutionality of some provisions. This is the result of the digital lock rules, which necessitated a change in the infringement provision. The rationale notes (page 708):

The Bill introduces new causes of action (such as those relating to TPMs and RMIs) that could be used in civil lawsuits regardless of whether or not there has been an infringement of copyright.

The discussion on the digital lock provisions also emphasize that the defences to copyright infringement are not available for circumvention of a digital lock (page 718):

Generally, an owner of copyright in a work or other subject matter for which this prohibition has been contrevened has the same remedies as if this were an infringement of copyright (proposed s.41(2)). However, a contravention of this prohibition is not an infringement of copyright and the defences to infringement of copyright are not defences to these prohibitions.

The government’s own words on the digital lock provision confirm that they may be unconstitutional since they fall outside the boundaries of copyright.

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September 27, 2011 110 comments News

Copyright Board Rejects Bid For Transactional Licences

The Copyright Board of Canada has rejected a request by the AUCC to require Access Copyright to issue transactional or pay-per-use licences. The refusal to issue such licences, which reflect an effort by universities to license the use of works, is likely to lead to universities seeking new alternatives for […]

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September 27, 2011 3 comments News