On 2 June 2010, the Canadian Federal Government introduced a bill (C-32) to amend Canada’s Copyright Act.  The legislative intention, is to enhanced protection for copyright holders and to provide stronger measures to address online infringement.  This bill, follows on from earlier failed attempts to amend Canada’s copyright legislation, which had contained many problematic provisions. The general sense, is that Bill C-32 will meet with approval and will become law.  Some of the more significant changes include:

  • The creation of a “making available right” by expanding the definition of “communication to the public by telecommunication”. This would clarify that making copyrighted works available online without authority is an infringement of copyright;
  • The introduction of a new prohibition on the circumvention of Technical Protection Measures (TPMs) which would trump fair dealing rights and trigger liability even where the TMP circumvention is for a non-infringing purpose;
  • The introduction of a prohibition on removal of rights management information from digital files;
  • The clarification of the liability of intermediaries such as ISPs and search engines;
  • The introduction of a new “notice and notice” regime that would: (a) require ISPs to pass along notice of infringement to their users upon request from rights holders and (b) impose certain data-retention obligations on ISPs;
  • The introduction of a new fair dealing exception, relating  to parody, satire, backup copying and non-commercial user generated content;
  • Changes to the treatment of fair dealing use for educational purposes, imposing new obligations on educational institutions; and
  • An obligation for the Government to review the Copyright Act every five years.

It should be noted that there may still be amendments to the bill.  We will provide further commentary on these matters, as they develop.