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CIPS submits position on Copyright

The views of CIPS on Bill C-61, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act  (September 2009)

Like most Canadians, we believe that there are commonly accepted "fair use practices" that should be preserved through the copyright reform process. 

CIPS acknowledges that the Copyright Act is a balance between rights of creators and rights of users.  As the Chief Justice noted in CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada, 2004 SCC 13, a case where the Supreme Court of Canada had to balance both creators rights and users' rights [at para. 21]:

As mentioned, in Théberge, supra, this Court stated that the purpose of copyright law was to balance the public interest in promoting the encouragement and dissemination of works of the arts and intellect and obtaining a just reward for the creator.  When courts adopt a standard of originality requiring only that something be more than a mere copy or that someone simply show industriousness to ground copyright in a work, they tip the scale in favour of the author's or creator's rights, at the loss of society's interest in maintaining a robust public domain that could help foster future creative innovation.

The Chief Justice goes on to comment on the important role played by the public domain, at para 21:

This helps ensure that there is room for the public domain to flourish as others are able to produce new works by building on the ideas and information contained in the works of others.

CIPS supports retaining this robust balance so that short term pressures in favour of increasing creator's rights do not diminish the broader public interest or the public domain.

As a first principle CIPS supports that the law should protect and encourage creativity.  That creativity assists to drive Canadian productivity and the Canadian economy forward. 

Generally CIPS believes that it is reasonable that there be reasonable enforcement tools available for the protection of valuable property rights.

CIPS supports the elements of the copyright reform that add certainty to uncertain or ambiguous situations.

CIPS view has been to encourage the certainty of defining the exemptions from liability for Internet Service Providers.  By providing clarity the industry that relies upon the Internet and in which many Canadian businesses are leaders, can flourish.  For any business uncertain risk can dampen growth.  Clarifying the rules of Internet Service Providers allows these important businesses to organize themselves and flourish.

CIPS also encourages the clarity provided in the proposed copyright reform to make it expressly clear that certain personal and private conduct, which was in many situations very likely exempt under the fair dealing exemption, is clearly identified as being exempt.

CIPS recognizes that some copyright owners seek to utilize the protection of technological measures and righ