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CAUT Bulletin Archives

October 2011

New Copyright Bill Gives, Takes Away

Amendments to Canadian copyright law tabled last month in Parliament will both benefit and hinder the work of educators.

“We’re pleased the government’s latest incarnation of copyright reform, Bill C-11, reflects the priorities of Canada’s academic and research community to expand fair dealing specifically for educational purposes,” said CAUT executive director James Turk. “We’re satisfied this represents a genuine effort to introduce balance in amending the current act, but at the same time we’re disappointed the legislation makes circumventing digital locks an infringement of copyright, even for lawful reasons such as fair dealing.”

Fair dealing is the right to copy works without permission or payment for a range of purposes. CAUT and its coalition allies have long advocated for the inclusion of education as one of those purposes.

Fair dealing affirms, for example, the right of teachers to use copyrighted materials as part of a lesson. However, if the material is digitally-locked, the anti-circumvention provisions in Bill C-11 would make the same act illegal.

“The bill is not the one we would have written, but with the exception of the digital lock rules, it contains the kind of necessary compromises we can live with,” Turk said.

“Still, it is mystifying why the government would proceed with anti-circumvention language that content providers don’t want and even the United States is turning away from.”

The final law is expected to be passed by the end of the year.

The last two major copyright revision efforts in Canada took place in 1988 and 1997.

Watch CAUT’s video on Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act.