Updates to the Copyright Act: Bill C-60

by SaskMusic

July 31, 2009 in Industry Developments

On June 20 (2005) the federal government introduced Bill C-60 to amend and update Canada's Copyright Act. According to the government's press release, the bill addresses short-term copyright reform issues and updates the Copyright Act to meet the challenges and opportunities of the Internet. The intent is also to implement the provisions of the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Treaties. The bill introduces:
  • the right of copyright holders to incorporate technological protection measures and rights-management information
  • the right to control first distribution of material in tangible form
  • moral rights for performances and
  • full reproduction rights for performers in sound recordings.

Additionally, the term of protection for sound recording makers has been adjusted to extend to 50 years from the publication of the sound recording.

Minister of Canadian Heritage Liza Frulla noted the legislation "builds on the current copyright framework for the 21st century. These amendments strengthen our creators and cultural industries against the unauthorized use of their works on the Internet."

The bill introduces a "making available" clause, wherein it is illegal to upload content into a shared directory unless you have permission from the rights holder. The bill makes it clear that copyright owners have the exclusive right to decide who is allowed access to their material, and how, over the Internet, and deems illegal the tampering of technological measures for the sole purpose of infringing copyright. Canadians are still allowed to make copies of music and other content for their own personal use but cannot sell, rent, trade, distribute or communicate such copies to others.

Bill C-60 exempts Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from copyright liability. However, ISPs will be required to implement a "notice and notice" procedure - if an ISP receives notice from a rights holder that a subscriber is hosting or sharing copyrighted material, the ISP must forward the notice to the subscriber. ISPs will not be required to reveal the identity of alleged infringers unless served with a court order.

While the music industry welcomed Bill C-60, others feel the bill gives too much power to rights holders and does not adequately protect individuals' privacy. Others criticized the bill for not eliminating the levy on blank audio media. The government stated it will hold public consultations to determine if amendments to the private copying regime are required.

Andrè LeBel, CEO of SOCAN, states, "It's a great first step, and we are pleased (it) acknowledges the challenges we face in continuing to protect the rights of composers, lyricists, songwriters, and their publishers."

Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) President Graham Henderson noted, "We've waited a very long time for this bill. We are relieved that (Minister Frulla and Industry Minister David Emerson) have kept their commitment to introduce revisions to copyright legislation...In doing so, they have advanced Canada's long-standing commitment to ratify international treaties and bring our law in tune with new digital realities."

Henderson continued, "That having been said, certain aspects of the bill would appear to still leave Canada behind in the digital realm and out of step with international norms. For instance, the bill fails to provide digital businesses with adequate protections from hackers, and we believe ISPs should shoulder more responsibility for piracy that occurs on their networks."

CRIA has been calling for revisions to Canada's copyright law for nearly a decade. The bill is not expected to become law until later this year or next spring.

(excerpted from www.cirpa.ca, SOCAN media release and CRIA media release)

By Lorena Kelly for SaskMusic. Originally published Fall 2005.

These archive versions of The Session Feature Articles are posted as initially published. Deadlines, contacts and links have not been updated. Please keep this in mind when using this resource. In some cases, updates can be found in a more recent editions of The Session.