DAILY NEWS Jul 17, 2009 8:07 AM - 0 comments

Copyright Reform, Consultation In the Air

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Plans for public consultation about copyright reform in Canada appear to be quite private.


While a series of cross-country round table discussions and public forums are said to begin Monday, July 20th, no formal confirmation of the event schedule has been released by the host agencies, Industry Canada and Heritage Canada


A spokesperson for Industry Canada, Derek Mellon, provided the following statement earlier this week:


‘Minister Clement and Minister Moore recently indicated they would be consulting extensively on the issue of copyright reform. More details will be available when the announcement for the launch of the consultation process is made.’


However, non-transferable, personally addressed invitations to scheduled events have been received by industry participants and legislative observers. Reports indicate roundtables will begin in Vancouver and Calgary with more to follow across the country. 


The Canadian government introduced Bill C-61 last June in an attempt to modernize copyright legislation, but efforts to pass the bill stalled as politicians focused on the federal election last October.

If held the consultations would mark the first such foray into the topic since 2001.

Both Clement and Moore said in June they would consult Canadians this summer before introducing an update to Canada's copyright laws in the fall.

In a statement, they said the government was “committed to modernizing Canada’s copyright laws, to provide meaningful rights for creators and promote the use of digital technology by its citizens.  We are consulting to ensure that all perspectives are taken into account in an open and transparent process, to help deliver new legislation in the Fall that is forward-looking, reflects Canadian values, and strengthens Canada’s ability to compete in the global digital economy.”

News reports from CBC, Billboard and University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist, and the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic indicated the consultation will launch on July 20 and run until Sept. 13.

In preliminary consultation and documentation, government departments have asked stakeholders to comment on a number of questions related to copyright legislation and reform, including but not limited to:

1.      Do the current provisions of the Copyright Act already adequately address ISP concerns?

2.      Some ISPs and rights holders have entered into agreements for dealing with infringing material. In what respects is this approach sufficient or insufficient?

3.      What other intermediary functions that have not been discussed in this section, but that are nonetheless being carried out by ISPs, ought to be considered when developing a policy regarding ISP liability?

4.      To the extent that a notice and take-down system is being contemplated, how would such a system affect the framework in Canada for the collective management of copyright? What alternative proposals should be considered? Under what conditions would a compulsory licensing system be appropriate?

5.      To the extent that issues surrounding the scope and application of the reproduction right are being examined in relation to Internet-based communications, are there reasons why this examination should be restricted to the question of ISP liability?

6.      How would a "making available" right affect the balances among the various copyright interests?

7.      In which respects might such a right require limitations or be subject to exceptions?

8.      In which respects do existing rights, e.g., the reproduction right, fail to provide a measure of control which is comparable to a distinct "making available" right?

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