Thursday, April 15, 2021

Canadian Government Consultation on Copyright Framework for Online Intermediaries

The Canadian government has published a consultation document on the topic of copyright and online intermediaries. Intermediaries include Internet service providers, cloud storage services, web hosting services, social media and search engines:

"Canada's copyright framework establishes liability for intermediaries that infringe copyright or serve primarily to enable infringement by others. This liability is counterbalanced by certain protections, including "safe harbours" where intermediaries merely provide the technical means by which others infringe copyright by using the intermediaries' services. Some intermediaries are also subject to obligations to forward notices of claimed infringement received from copyright owners to the intermediaries' users. Recently, certain intermediaries have also been ordered by courts to disable access facilitated by the intermediaries' services to potentially infringing content or activities."

"This framework is the subject of mounting debate and study. Many rights holders have argued that it effectively diminishes their remuneration for uses of their content online and impairs their enforcement efforts. They have therefore argued in favour of modifying the safe harbour protections to incentivize public content-sharing services to pay rights holders equitably for uses of their content on those services' platforms. They have also advocated for imposing greater obligations on intermediaries to prevent or stop infringement. By contrast, many intermediaries and others have argued that Canada's laws sufficiently protect copyright online and intermediaries' current protections from liability and enforcement obligations promote an open Internet, advancements in online services and economic growth in Canada (...)"

"The Government is considering how best to respond to these trends and perspectives. Possible Government actions could be to:

  • clarify intermediaries' safe harbour protections against liability for copyright infringement, including how intermediaries' knowledge of infringement and content-related activities affect their liability as well as their attendant obligations;
  • compel remuneration of rights holders through collective licensing of their copyright-protected content on certain platforms;
  • increase transparency in rights holders' remuneration and online uses of their content; and
  • clarify or strengthen rights holders' enforcement tools against intermediaries, including by way of a statutory 'website-blocking' and 'de-indexing" regime."

Earlier this year, the governmment consulted on how to implement Canada’s commitment under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement to extend the general term of copyright protection. 

Another consultation on the intersection between copyright and artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things will be launched by summer 2021.

Comments may be e-mailed to until May 31, 2021.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:52 pm


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