One of the most important, if not the most important, United States copyright cases decided in 2013 is The Authors Guild, Inc. v Google Inc. 2013 WL 6017130 (S.D.N.Y. Nov.14, 2013). The case has now been appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals by The Authors Guild. The case raises issues of such significance to copyright holders and online service providers that it may well end up as a landmark precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court (assuming of course that certiorari is granted).*
Archive for the ‘Fair Use’ category
During the copyright reform process leading up Bill C-32 (the Copyright Modernization Act), some proponents of reform had advocated broadening the Copyright Act’s fair dealing exception to a US style fair use regime. This was opposed by a wide spectrum of the Canadian creative community. Eventually the proposal was not adopted when Bill C-11 was finally proclaimed into force. See, Barry Sookman and Dan Glover, Why Canada Should Not Adopt Fair Use: A joint submission to the Copyright Consultation
It was another busy two weeks in copyright with courts in the UK and US canvassing whether browsing a work, hosting a user generated content site, and creating appropriation art, infringes copyright. The opinions of the three courts (finding no liability in each case) on copyright policy was perhaps as interesting as the holdings themselves. On top of that, a U.S. appeals court ruled that the DMCA hosting exception does not apply to pre-1972 sound recordings.
Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act, with a few exceptions, is now law with the publication of the Governor General Order in Council. The fourth attempt to amend the Copyright Act since 2005 succeeded where Bills C-60 (2005), C-61 (2008), and C-32 (2010) did not.
A lot has changed since 2005 when Bill C-60 was first introduced. That Bill would have made a limited, but important, set of amendments. Its summary reminds us that it would have amended the “Copyright Act to implement the provisions of the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, to clarify the liability of network service providers, to facilitate technology-enhanced learning and interlibrary loans, and to update certain other provisions of the Act.” Bill C-11 addresses far more than this.
Earlier this week, the Australian Law Reform Commission published an Issues Paper titled Copyright and the Digital Economy. The paper asked 55 questions about copyright and possible reforms to Australia’s copyright laws. The paper discusses many reforms debated in Canada during the 2009 Copyright Consultations and more recently during the debates and examination of The Copyright Modernization Act (Bills C-32 and C-11) in the House of Commons Special Legislation Committee. These include new exceptions to permit copying for private uses such as format and time shifting, online uses for social media, uses by libraries, archives and for education, and safe harbours for Internet intermediaries.
The following is a reply to William Patry’s lengthy response to my blog of March 16. Both the blog and Mr. Patry’s response may be found here. Given the length of my reply, for ease of reading, I am posting my reply here and inserting a cross-reference to this page in the comments section of the March 16 blog.
I have the greatest respect for your knowledge and experience, and for your contributions to the copyright debate, both through your texts and through your lively blog. However, I sense a significant internal contradiction in your comment to my blogs that I would like to explore.
Early this week, I opened a lengthy response in Howard Knopf’s blog to my recent post in this blog. Never one to mince his words, Mr. Knopf suggests with sound and fury that I have sought to “mislead Parliament” by posting on the issue of the educational fair dealing provision. Although the House of Commons Committee on Copyright has completed its clause-by-clause review of Bill C-11 without touching this provision, there are certain statements in Mr. Knopf’s blog that need to be addressed.
The webcasts of the five Supreme Court of Canada copyright appeals are now available. The ESA/Bell v SOCAN “communicate to the public” and the SOCAN v Bell fair dealing cases can be viewed here. (They are streams and not downloads and so are communications.) The K-12 Access Copyright and Re:Sound appeals can be viewed here.
The UK will not adopt US fair use. This was revealed in statements made by Baroness Wilcox, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills and John Alty, Chief Executive and Comptroller General, Intellectual Property Office, in testimony before the UK Business, Innovation and Skills Committee on November 15, 2011.
Here is a extract from the testimony.
Q219 Chair : At the time, there were assertions that companies such as Google would not start up in this country because of the UK copyright law. Do you still hold that theory now and will Government policy reflect that or accommodate Google?