Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.

Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.


Northern Update

As I've noted previously, in 2009 the Canadian government set about "modernizing" the Copyright Act. Canada was in an enviable position as copyright law had not been touched since 1997. The twelve years of waiting allowed for a more nuanced understanding of the challenges and opportunities wrought through digital technology and world-wide networks. Yet the amendments proposed in June 2010 showed a striking resemblance to the DMCA of 1998. Complete obedience to technological protection measures was the order of the day.

An aspect of change that looked promising was expansion to the permissible categories of fair dealing. Parody, satire, and education were added. The last item unleashed a storm of protest by writers' groups and copyright collectives; they insisted that this would lead to wholesale appropriation of works used in educational institutions. Even though within a month of the proposed amendments, the Federal Court of Appeal issued a decision affirming that the existing practices of payment for works used in K-12 education would continue. The FCA decision should have reminded everyone that the category of use is not enough for the use to be deemed fair. (A framework of questions, similar to the implementation of fair use in American law, was instituted by the Canadian Supreme Court in 2004.)

Nevertheless, the campaign of misinformation continued; the year closed out with a full-page advertisement in a national newspaper. Readers were left with the impression that the inclusion of "education" as a potential exception to copyright was a never-before-tried proposal and that such an action places Canada's creative potential in jeopardy, with consequences for the digital economy and the entire country.

In any event, the furor will make little difference one way or the other. If the bill passes as proposed, TPMs rule supreme. Even if the use of a work would have been deemed non-infringing.

Next step: the Special Legislative Committee is once again seeking seeking input on Bill C-32.


You should check out M. Geist's blog. http://www.michaelgeist.ca/

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