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Canadian Government Outlines Proposed Amendments to the Copyright Act

:: Copyright reform took a step forward today in Canada:

On March 24, the ministers of Canadian Heritage and Industry released a Statement outlining the Government's proposals for amendments to the Copyright Act that would address the short-term group of reform issues. The Government intends to introduce a bill later this spring. The Government also tabled on the same day its Response to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage's May 2004 Interim Report on Copyright Reform. The Response includes the Government Statement.

A backgrounder setting out highlights of the Government's proposals is provided, as well as a series of frequently asked questions to assist in understanding the Statement. Stakeholders will have an opportunity to make their views known to the appropriate parliamentary committee after the bill is introduced.

These documents are also available at:

* Joint site
* Industry Canada

Some of the Statement highlights include:

  • Regarding Internet Service Provider Liability: "ISPs would be exempt from copyright liability in relation to their activities as intermediaries, namely, their activities as mere conduits for information, their caching activities, their hosting activities, and their information location activities."
  • "The Government supports the use of leading-edge technologies in education and research. The bill will propose certain measures that will facilitate the use of the Internet for these purposes."
  • Regarding Use of Copyright Works for Remote Learning:
    • "Current educational exceptions permit the performance or display, within the classroom, of certain copyright material as part of a lecture. The requirement that the performance or display be confined to the classroom would be removed to enable remote students to view the lecture using network technology, either live or at a more convenient time. Educational institutions would be required to adopt reasonable safeguards to prevent misuse of the copyright material."
    • "Material that may be photocopied and provided to students pursuant to an educational institution's blanket licence with a collective society would also be permitted to be delivered to the students electronically without additional copyright liability, unless the licence in question provides for such delivery. Educational institutions would be required to adopt effective safeguards to prevent misuse of the copyright material."
  • Regarding Interlibrary Loans: "The electronic desktop delivery of certain copyright material directly to the patron would be permitted, provided that effective safeguards were in place to prevent the misuse of the material or of the inter-library loan service".

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