CRIA President Graham Henderson had some noteworthy comments on copyright reform in an article just published by Grammy.com. While unsurprisingly supportive of Bill C-32, Henderson expressed specific concern about changes to the statutory damages provision. After the government faced criticism for its $500 cap on downloading damages in Bill C-61, […]
Post Tagged with: "statutory damages"
The Federal Court of Canada has released a decision involving a $27 million claim over copyright infringement. The court awarded $500 in statutory damages.
While the new statutory damages provision may create a ceiling of $500 in damages for certain infringements, it also creates a minimum that is higher than the current statute. The drafting is complex, but the change is as follows:
The problems associated with the statutory damages reform extend beyond the questions it raises. The provision is presumably a response to the over 30,000 file sharing lawsuits in the United States which each bring the prospect of millions in liability. Politically, the image of that kind of liability for Canadians would not sell well on the campaign trail. Yet notwithstanding the intent, the current provision does very little to address the prospect of enormous liability for all sorts of activities.
The new provision would likely reduce liability for downloading (though downloading of sound recordings is already arguably permitted due to the private copying levy), however, it certainly does not address uploading or the making available of content on file sharing networks without authorization. This means that BitTorrent users – who simultaneously upload and download – will still face the possible liability of $20,000 per infringement. Similarly, uploading a copyrighted work to YouTube raises the same potential liability.
Reforms to the statutory damages provisions formed a big part of the government's communication strategy for Bill C-61. Although scooped by the National Post, Industry Minister Jim Prentice emphasized the introduction of amendments to the statutory damages provisions that purportedly create limits for damages that arise from "private purposes" infringement. […]