ARCHIVED — Technological Measures (TMs) or Digital Locks
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For copyright owners who want to better protect their online work
The purpose of this information sheet is to give general introductory information about current copyright law and to explain what would change under the proposed amendments. If you need to know how the law applies to a particular situation, please seek advice from a lawyer.
- The Copyright Act does not provide legal protection against the circumvention or hacking of digital locks that copyright owners may use to prevent unauthorized use of their works. It also does not prohibit the manufacturing or trafficking of devices and services that can be used to break these locks.
What the proposed TMs provision would allow and would not allow
- Users could not circumvent or hack TMs (e.g., passwords, time-limited trial systems) that protect copyright material.
- Users could not provide, market or import devices or provide services to enable hacking.
- Creators would have a wide range of legal remedies in relation to the digital locks they may use, including:
- injunctions to put a stop to the infringing activity
- statutory damages ranging between $500 and $20 000 per work (unless the circumvention was for private, non-commercial purposes), or actual damages
- criminal remedies in certain cases
- See the “Statutory Damages Information Sheet” for more information.
- The prohibition on hacking would be limited to allow reverse engineering, security testing and encryption research.
- Persons with perceptual disabilities would not be prevented from enjoying copyright materials protected by TMs.
- Canadians could undertake activities to protect their personal information.
- The government would retain the power, through regulation, to ensure access to other copyright areas where the public interest might be served.
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