Copyright: Characteristics of Canadian Reform
CANADIAN COPYRIGHT AND THE DIGITAL AGENDA: FROM RADICAL EXTREMISM TO BALANCED COPYRIGHT, Michael Geist, ed., Irwin Law, 2010
30 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2010
Date Written: December 15, 2010
This chapter places the new Canadian copyright bill, Bill C-32, in the context of Canadian copyright history, arguing that Canadian copyright has traditionally focused on copyright independence, safeguarding the interests of Canadian consumers as well as Canadian creators, finding innovative solutions to meet the needs of both consumers and creators, and support for international copyright and copyright multilateralism. I argue that the made-in-Canada elements of C-32 are relatively narrow compared to previous bills that asserted a made-in-Canada stance on the broader issue of anti-circumvention, and that C-32, while including innovative solutions for the benefit of specific interests such as the print disabled, internet service providers, and mash-up video creators, departs from the tradition of maintaining maximum independence and safeguarding consumer interests on the issue of anti-circumvention measures.
The current Canadian copyright reform initiative can be viewed in light of a number of trends that have characterized Canadian copyright reform since the time that Canada’s first copyright Act was put in place in 1868. Most importantly, Canadian copyright has always taken place in the context of the push and pull of international pressures. Domestic and international demands often conflict, and there is often significant resistance within Canada to demands for reform coming from outside the country. While in the early days of Canadian copyright such conflict resulted in rebellion against Imperial and international copyright norms, this type of conflict has been replaced by a slow and relatively obliging tendency in reform, generally involving unhurried progress, minimalist adhesion to international treaties, and carving out made-in-Canada approaches. Although there have been instances where Canada has stepped into the role of a leader on international copyright, that position has been quickly abandoned and leadership left to stronger powers. In general, made-in-Canada approaches result in innovative policy solutions on narrow issues alongside a general acquiescence to the visions of copyright forged in international institutions and larger countries.
Keywords: copyright, copyright reform, copyright history, intellectual property
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