The role of the public and the public interest has factored prominently into many of the Law Bytes podcast conversations. For the 100th episode, Osgoode Hall Law School Professor David Vaver, widely viewed as Canada’s leading IP expert, joins the podcast. The recipient of the Order of Canada, Professor Vaver provided the scholarly grounding for the emergence of user rights in copyright in Canada and around the world. In this episode, he gives a masterclass on the history of copyright, the emergence of user rights, Supreme Court copyright jurisprudence, and potential future copyright reforms.
Post Tagged with: "user rights"
Quebec Writers Group Calls for an End to Copyright Exceptions: “Only Where Access is Otherwise Impossible”
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.
How the Supreme Court of Canada Doubled Down on Users’ Rights in Copyright
The shift began in 2002 with the Theberge decision, in which Justice Binnie for the majority discussed the copyright balance:
McKennitt Op-Ed: “Pirates are Killing Musicians, Composers, Lyricists, Even Popcorn Vendors”
Loreena McKennitt published an op-ed supporting copyright reform in the Winnipeg Free Press over the weekend that focuses on the harm of infringement and the need for C-32. The piece raises at least a couple of issues. First, there is the claim that "even popcorn sellers are struggling to stay alive" in light the current state of Canadian copyright law. This claim arises from some declining interest in big music tours, which is taken as evidence that performances are not a viable alternative for many musicians. What copyright reform has to do with concert venues, performers or popcorn sellers is anyone's guess – promoters of struggling music tours say it has everything to do with a tough economy, competition for the entertainment dollar, and high ticket prices rather than music downloads or IP enforcement. Copyright reform won't change the financial dynamics of the touring industry, which will presumably still leave those same popcorn vendors struggling to stay alive.
If the McKennitt piece was limited to the popcorn claim, it would merely join previous attempts to link copyright with the success of the corn industry (see Rick Cotton of NBC Universal). However, McKennitt also challenges the very notion of user rights in copyright, calling them "so-called user rights" which she says is used by activists and academics as "crafted language."
The New Copyright Debate
In reflecting upon a remarkable week – the Canadian DMCA delayed until 2008, 15,000 new members of the Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook Group as the total passes 25,000, the Calgary meeting with Industry Jim Prentice, and the avalanche of blog postings and media coverage on Canadian copyright – it […]