Parks Canada Truck by Taber Andrew Bain CC BY-NC 2.0

Parks Canada Truck by Taber Andrew Bain CC BY-NC 2.0


The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 206: James Plotkin and David Fewer on Canada’s Landmark Copyright Ruling on Fair Dealing and Digital Locks

The debate over copyright and digital locks – technically referred to as anti-circumvention legislation – dates back more than 25 years with creation of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Internet Treaties and later in Canada with the enactment of the Copyright Modernization Act. The full scope and application of those digital lock rules has been the subject of considerable controversy, particularly over how fair dealing fits into the equation. The Federal Court of Canada recently issued a landmark decision on the issue which concludes that digital locks should not trump fair dealing. CIPPIC, the University of Ottawa’s public interest technology law clinic, raised the key arguments on the issue in an intervention in the case led by James Plotkin, a partner with the law firm Gowlings, and David Fewer, CIPPIC’s Director and General Counsel. They join the Law Bytes podcast to talk about the ruling and to clear up some of the misinformation that has been circulating since its release.

The podcast can be downloaded here, accessed on YouTube, and is embedded below. Subscribe to the podcast via Apple Podcast, Google Play, Spotify or the RSS feed. Updates on the podcast on Twitter at @Lawbytespod.


CTV News, New Digital Lock Rule, New Restrictions for Canadians


  1. That was a good listen. However I wonder if the same precedent allowing fair-dealing even with the presence applies even to alleged TPMs that are more complex that a mere account for a website. Any thoughts from anyone else?

  2. I agree with the conclusion that the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark copyright ruling on fair dealing and digital locks is a significant development. However, what if a TPM were implemented in hardware, such as a chip in a smartphone? Would the fair dealing exception still apply in that case? Let’s keep in touch.

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