Copyright Law: Two to Watch

First, there has been much debate about when the Tory government in Ottawa will table their revised copyright bill.  In late 2007, draft legislation was pulled amid an unusual groundswell of opposition.  Now, there is renewed speculation that the bill will be introduced before Parliament breaks for the summer (assuming there is no election in the meantime).  If it is introduced, the bill will head into a thorough committee review, meaning the bill wouldn’t likely become law until sometime next year. 

Second, the QuebecTorrent case (a lawsuit by the canadian recording industry against an online file-sharing site) is reportedly scheduled to go to trial this summer. (Earlier post here.) If it proceeds through to a court decision, it will be a potentially landmark case for online copyright law in Canada, and it will be interesting to see how it dovetails with the proposed copyright legislation.  In the US, a decision released Monday (Atlantic Recording Corp. v Howell) is a setback for the anti-file-sharing efforts of the US recording industry.  In that decision, the court stated that copyright is not infringed unless there is actual distribution of an unauthorized copy of the work: “Merely making an unauthorized copy of a copyrighted work available to the public does not violate a copyright holder’s exclusive right of distribution.”  This is significant since loading a file onto a shared folder is “making available”, and according to this decision, such an act on its own does not constitute infringement. 


Calgary – 10:30 MST


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