The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology continues its year-long review of copyright this week with a mix of witnesses from education, libraries, writers, and publishers. The Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois (UNEQ), which represents Quebec-based writers, appeared yesterday and submitted a brief to the committee with its key recommendations. There are several that will attract attention, including increased damages and an expansion of the private copying levy to cover e-readers, hard drives, and USB keys (a recommendation that may stem from a misunderstanding of the levy which is only for music). However, the most troubling is how the group takes aim at copyright user’s rights.
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Quebec Writers Group Calls for an End to Copyright Exceptions: “Only Where Access is Otherwise Impossible”
Government Response Suggests No Appetite for Canadian Anti-Spam Law Reform
The government released its response to the House of Commons study on Canada’s anti-spam law this week and while one report suggested that reforms are coming, the reality is that there appears to be little appetite for significant change. I wrote about the law’s effectiveness and appeared before the committee as part of the study. The committee report stopped short of calling for an anti-spam law overhaul, instead recommending clarifications of several provisions in the law.
Digital Trends and Initiatives in Education: The Study the Association of Canadian Publishers Tried To Bury
The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology starts its year-long review of copyright today with the first of several hearings focused on copyright, education and fair dealing. The hearings begin with evidence from education groups to be followed by publishers and other rights holder representatives (sources indicate that Access Copyright declined an invitation but will presumably return at a later date). The Association of Canadian Publishers, the leading national publisher lobby, has been one of the most vocal groups on copyright and will likely appear to tell MPs that fair dealing should be narrowed.
While the ACP has not hesitated to speak out at industry events, it interestingly has said nothing about a study it commissioned on digital trends and initiatives in education in Canada. The ACP study, which received financial support from the Government of Canada and the Ontario Media Development Corporation, is not posted on the publicly available portion of its website. There was no press release when it was released last June and I can find no public reference to it anywhere on the site. Jean Dryden pointed out to me that the study is available through the OMDC.
Against Copyright Balance: Canadian Heritage Officials Say It’s Time “To Move Beyond the Notion of Balance”
As the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) prepares for its first copyright review hearing next week featuring various representatives from the education community, MPs will regularly hear witnesses talk about the “copyright balance.” For Canadian copyright policy, balance has long been a foundational goal, regularly reflected in the views of both government and the courts. Yet according to a document obtained under the Access to Information Act, last fall officials at the Ministry of Canadian Heritage advised Minister Melanie Joly to abandon the emphasis on a copyright balance.
Canadian Copyright Law Review Takes Shape: Report Not Expected Until 2019
The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology outlined its plans for the review of the Copyright Act last week. The committee expects the review to run into next year, with the hope of completing the hearings by early 2019. The hearings will unfold in three phases: