The Purpose of Copyright Law in Canada
42 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2006
In three recent cases, the Supreme Court of Canada provided several pieces of the Canadian copyright policy puzzle. We now know that the economic purpose of copyright law is instrumentalist in nature, namely, to ensure the orderly production and distribution of, and access to, works of art and intellect. The Court added that copyright can not enter carelessly into the private sphere of individual users. By targeting end-users in recent lawsuits, copyright holders have also found out that it is difficult to enforce a right that has not been properly internalized. After reviewing the Supreme Court trilogy of cases, the paper explores the importance of the moral imperative and the almost nonexistent role of Parliament in setting policy at the macro level. In Part 3, the paper proposes two concrete ways to align copyright law with its underlying purpose, especially on the internet. The first is to make existing rights easier to manage by facilitating collective management using the Extended Repertoire (or extended collective licensing system). A compatibility analysis with applicable international norms is provided. The second is a recasting of the copyright rights based on the effect of the use made of the work, not its technical nature.
JEL Classification: O34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation