What the Copyright Modernization Act Means for Consumers

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The Copyright Modernization Act allows for everyday uses of content and provides clear rules that will better enable Canadians to participate in the digital age. Key changes include:

New consumer exceptions:The Bill gives consumers the flexibility to enjoy and manage legitimately acquired content, while respecting the choice of copyright owners to use digital locks to prevent unauthorized use of their works:

  • Time shifting:Allows consumers to record television, radio and Internet broadcasts for enjoyment at a later time. This exception does not apply to content accessed "on demand," since consumers are already able to enjoy it at a convenient time.
  • Format shifting:Allows consumers to copy and retrieve legitimately acquired content, such as songs, to devices they own, such as smart phones and MP3 players, or to or from online personal storage space they control.
  • Backup copying: Allows consumers, businesses and institutions to make and access backup copies of legally acquired content to protect against damage or loss, including through online backup services.

Fair dealing for parody and satire:The Bill enables the use of copyrighted materials to create a parody or satire, provided the use is considered "fair."

User-generated content: The Bill permits the use of legitimately acquired material in user-generated content (UGC) created for non-commercial purposes. This applies only to creations that do not affect the market for the original material. Examples include making a home video of a friend or family member dancing to a popular song and posting it online, or creating a "mash-up" of video clips. This provision would not permit such activities as simply adding a few lines to an e-book or a brief introduction to a song and then posting the copy for free online, or re-ordering the tracks on an album and selling CDs at a flea market. Creators’ moral rights would also continue to be respected. Moreover, this provision applies only to the UGC creator of such works and only for non-commercial purposes.

New and innovative products and services are changing the way Canadians interact with content. The Bill provides exceptions for consumers to have the flexibility to make reasonable uses of legitimately acquired copyrighted content, reflecting an innovative Canadian approach to copyright in the digital age.

More and more, Canadians are using content in ways that contribute to the cultural fabric of our society. To ensure that the legitimate interests of rights holders are respected, the Bill includes limitations restricting such content from being used for commercial purposes or from interfering in markets for the original work. It is important for Canadians to be able to fully participate in the digital economy.

The Bill also includes provisions that ban the circumvention of a digital lock that protects copyrighted material.

These changes are proposed in conformity with Canada’s international obligations.

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