Saturday, March 01, 2008

Canadian Copyright Collectives and the Copyright Board

I’ve just done a paper and given a CLE talk for the Law Society of Upper Canada entitled CANADIAN COPYRIGHT COLLECTIVES AND THE COPYRIGHT BOARD: A SNAP SHOT IN 2008. Here’s a copy.

Here’s my bottom line:

Canada’s system of collective administration of copyright has both many strengths and weaknesses. This is also the case in most other countries. Improvements are possible and necessary. Some of these can come from collectives themselves. Others will need to come from the Copyright Board, or the Government itself in the form of regulation or legislation.

Canada’s Copyright Board plays a greater role in the collective administration of copyright than comparable tribunals in Australia, the USA, UK and other common law countries, and probably all other major developed countries. It appears to have more full time members and staff than its counterparts in any comparable country. It has a long and rich history of which it can mostly be very proud. However, that is not to say that improvements cannot be made. This appears to be recognized.

Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal, and on occasion the Supreme Court of Canada, have played a vital role in reviewing all of this activity and in ensuring that the public interest element inherent in copyright law is kept in mind.

Much more work needs to be done. Perhaps it is time for another commission along the lines of those chaired by Justice Parker and Justice Ilsley to look at all of this along with other copyright issues more fully and in the interests of the Canadian public.

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