Canadian Copyright Reform In Force: Expanded User Rights Now the Law

2012 November 12

This morning, the majority of Bill C-11, the copyright reform bill, took effect, marking the most significant changes to Canadian copyright law in decades. While there are still some further changes to come (the Internet provider notice-and-notice rules await a consultation and their own regulations, various provisions related to the WIPO Internet treaties await formal ratification of those treaties), all the consumer oriented provisions are now active. These include:

  • The addition of education, parody, and satire as fair dealing purposes.
  • The inclusion of an exception for publicly available materials on the Internet for education. This covers the content found on millions of websites that can now be communicated and reproduced by educational institutions without the need for permission or compensation.

    Source: In July 2012, amidst the tumult of copyright deals and reform, the Canadian Supreme Court made rulings on five copyright cases. One area of ruling was around the nature of fair dealing. As described above fair dealing lacks a clear concise definition.

  • fair dealing is an important users right
  • teachers share a symbiotic purpose with students/users who are engaged in research or private study. Photocopies made by a teacher and provided to students are an essential element in the research and private study undertaken by those students.
  • "Private study" does not mean in solitude or geographically separate from the school. Students in a classroom can be engaged in private study.
  • Research can be piecemeal, informal, exploratory, or confirmatory. It can in fact be undertaken for no purpose except personal interest.