Thursday, March 25, 2010

Canadian Law Librarians Join Coalition for Broader Copyright Fair Dealing

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries is one of the many Canadian organizations endorsing a letter calling on the Canadian government to adopt a flexible fair dealing policy in any upcoming copyright legislation.
Fair dealing is a recognized defense under copyright law that allows the use of copyright-protected content without permission of the copyright owner in certain circumstances, such as private study, research, criticism, review and news summary. However, other defences such as parody are excluded.
The signatories are asking that the enumerated categories be treated as illustrative of potentially fair dealings, rather than exclusive categories:

"The object of Canada’s Copyright Act is to balance the promotion of the public interest in the encouragement and dissemination of works of the arts and intellect with obtaining a just reward for the creators of those works. Fair dealing is copyright’s primary means of mediating conflicting interests of upstream and downstream creators, innovators, distributors and users, and fairness should be its focus. Yet fairness, under the current law, is only a subsidiary consideration to an artificial, almost arbitrary legal test of whether a dealing fits within certain privileged categories of dealings. Creators and innovators who do not fit within these categories are denied the benefits of both copyright’s access provisions and its economic incentives. Documentary filmmakers and contemporary artists need to 'quote' from the works of others without having to worry about fitting within an arbitrary category of dealing. Innovators designing consumer products and services need confidence that their commercial endeavours won’t be targeted by rightsholders Ordinary Canadians need the law to respect their ordinary day to day dealings with content: Personal Video Recorders, for example, should not violate the law. The simple and obvious means of addressing these shortcomings is to give fair dealing the flexibility to address them. "

"Transforming fair dealing from its present, artificially restricted form into a flexible tool focused on fairness for creators, innovators and users better advances copyright’s broad policy goals than the present law. On the one hand, flexible fair dealing would remove artificial barriers to certain forms of creativity and innovation, and so promote equality among creators. On the other hand, flexible fair dealing would also remove arbitrary barriers to fair access to content, promoting innovation among consumer service and device providers by facilitating fair time, space and format-shifting practices. Limiting such access to fair practices addresses creators’ need to limit the scope and reach of general-purpose access rights."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:45 pm


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