What We Heard During the 2009 Consultations

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How does the proposed Copyright Modernization Act reflect what Canadians told the government during the 2009 copyright consultations?

The response to the consultations was remarkable, demonstrating Canadians' awareness of the importance of copyright in their daily lives, to the digital economy and to Canada's global competitiveness. Many issues were raised and a broad range of views expressed on each. The Bill reflects a principled approach that balances competing interests.

This Bill addresses the following issues raised during the consultations:

  • Canadians told us they wanted a technology-neutral framework that would stand the test of time:
    • The Bill includes provisions that are technology neutral and reflect the reality of an ever-evolving media and technological landscape.
  • Canadians don't think it's fair to face huge penalties for minor copyright infringement:
    • The Bill creates two categories of infringement to which statutory damages could apply: commercial and non-commercial. For non-commercial infringement, the existing penalties in the Copyright Act are significantly reduced. The Bill also introduces "proportionality" as a factor for the courts to consider when awarding damages. To curb online piracy, it also provides strong new tools to target those who profit from infringement.
  • Copyright owners told us they need new rights and protections to sustain business models in a digital environment:
    • The Bill implements the rights and protections of the World Intellectual Property Organization Internet treaties. It paves the way for a future decision on the ratification of the treaties.
  • Copyright owners told us their online and digital business models depend on strong protection for digital locks:
    • The Bill proposes protection for digital locks, for those who choose to use them, in order to give businesses the certainty they need to roll out new products and services, with greater penalties for those who profit from infringement.
  • Canadians told us they want to make reasonable use of content they have legally acquired:
    • The Bill legitimizes many commonplace private and/or non-commercial uses of copyrighted material that are currently not allowed or whose status is not clear under the Copyright Act. These uses include posting mash-ups on the web, time-shifting television, radio and Internet programs and making backup copies.
  • Users want more flexibility to use copyrighted material:
    • The Bill expands the existing uses allowed as "fair dealing", adding education, parody and satire — reconfirming the government's commitment to education and responding to the needs of educational institutions, and film and television writers and producers.
  • Teachers and students told us they need greater freedom to use copyrighted materials together with new classroom technologies:
    • The Bill proposes new exceptions that recognize the remarkable potential that technology offers Canadian educators and students.
  • Copyright law needs to reflect the needs of the perceptually disabled:
    • The Bill permits Canadians with perceptual disabilities to adapt legally acquired copyrighted material into a format that they can easily use and introduces provisions to allow for the import and export of adapted materials.
  • Canada's innovative firms told us they need clear copyright rules in order to perform the activities critical to their business models:
    • The Bill proposes new exceptions for computer program innovators and limitations on liability for Internet service providers and search engines. It clarifies that making temporary technical reproductions of copyrighted material is acceptable.
  • Artists and creators deserve to be fairly compensated for their creative work and investment:
    • The Bill provides new rights, protections and tools to encourage new business models, and certainty for artists and creators to engage in the global digital marketplace with confidence.

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