Copyright is a form of intellectual property that gives the creator of an original work, such as a book, song, movie or computer program, exclusive rights in relation to that work. These rights include the rights to publish, distribute and adapt the work. The rights are for a certain time period, after which the work is said to enter the public domain.
The Canadian Copyright Act is an important marketplace framework law that aims to provide fair and predictable rules, in line with new technological developments and international standards. These rules should encourage the creation and distribution of new knowledge by creators, while facilitating access to this new knowledge by all Canadians.
The Copyright Act applies to all original literary, artistic, dramatic and musical works, including computer programs, and gives the creator the sole right to produce or reproduce a work or a substantial part of it in any form. Copyright law also protects performances and sound recordings.
Copyright Board Reform
The Government of Canada has proposed reforms to the Copyright Board that would clarify and streamline the framework in which the Board operates, namely, by codifying the Board’s mandate, establishing decision-making criteria, modifying timelines, empowering case management, and modernizing the existing language and structure of the Copyright Act. The reforms would also allow more collective societies to enter into agreements directly with users, to ensure that the Board is only adjudicating matters when needed.
Notice and Notice
The goal of “Notice and Notice” is to discourage online copyright infringement. It is a mandatory regime set out in the Copyright Act that requires Internet intermediaries – such as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) – to forward on notices from copyright owners to Internet subscribers, alerting them that their Internet accounts have been linked to alleged infringing activities, such as the illegal downloading of movies.
Soon after the regime entered into force in January 2015, controversy arose over the practice of including settlement demands within notices. The practice could lead to abuses, given that consumers may be pressured into disclosing their personal information and making settlement payments even in situations where they have not engaged in any acts that violate copyright laws.
The Government of Canada has proposed reforms to clarify that a notice of claimed infringement that contains an offer to settle, or a request or demand for payment or for personal information, or a reference to any such offer, request or demand, in relation to the claimed infringement, does not comply with the regime.
For further information, see:
- the Canadian Heritage section for the Copyright Policy Branch, and
- the websites of the Copyright Board of Canada and the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
Copyright policy is the responsibility of the Copyright and Trade-mark Policy Directorate, which is part of the Marketplace Framework Policy Branch.
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