Copyright reform roundup

In a little under two weeks from today, the Technology and Intellectual Property group at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law will be hosting a week-long conference on copyright reform. Given that, it seems particularly apropos to review some of our own past coverage on the subject, as well as highlighting some of the important voices in Canadian copyright and copyright reform.

The Sources: learn about C-32 and its controversies

To begin close to home, Kathryn May authored a feature article on this very blog this past December, in which she reviewed copyright reform, touched on some of the challenges, and gave an excellent synopsis of the nexus of the debate around the contentious issue of copyright reform, based on a piece by Barrie McKenna in the Globe & Mail. While the McKenna piece acknowledges the extent of the debate, it comes out in favour of C-32, expressing some impatience with the current stalemate and an eagerness to put something in place that will allow for Canada to meet some minimum international standard in copyright protection. May’s post, by contrast, is more neutral.

Further useful resources can be gleaned by reading through past Innovation Law Blog posts on Copyright and on Copyright Reform.

Then, of course, there are the blogs–Michael Geist, who will be one of the guest speakers at the conference, is one of national authorities and and frequent editorialists on the subject of copyright reform in general, as well as the strengths and problems to be found in Bill C-32. One of the main threads of his argument is that while C-32 does many good things, one of its biggest problems relates to its anti-circumvention clauses, which forbid the breaking of Digital Rights Management locks, which means that the locks “trump virtually all other rights” as a result. Still, he feels that rather than starting once more from scratch, it is more worthwhile to fix what we’ve got on the table, hence his catchphrase “Flawed but Fixable.”

Dr. Geist’s site, “Speak out on Copyright” provides an introduction and a series of updates on Bill C-32 developments, while its “learn more” page also provides a useful list of links to others who have situated themselves within the debate.

For those who prefer the lecture format, there is also a YouTube link to Geist’s discussion on the subject.

The Canadian Coalition for Electronic Rights, meanwhile, provides a visually helpful table, demonstrating some of the problems and restrictions around the anti-circumvention clauses. They also have a letter writing tool that allows you to generate a letter of protest to send to a variety of politicians.

Digital Copyright Canada is also a great resource for ongoing updates on the debate and progress of the Bill, as well as links to further resources.

If you are interested in comparing Bill C-32 with this precursor, Bill C-61, here is a link to the two, with an annotated and regular option.

No roundup would be complete without going to the originating source as well, in order to see what they have to say about their approach and choices in drafting the legislation in its current form. A perusal of the government website and their depiction of the strengths of C-32 provides some indication of the kind of balance they are seeking to strike–and that they hope to persuade us they have succeeded in achieving.


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