Friday, June 10, 2016

Is the Senate Rushing to Judgment on Bill C-11 (implementation of WIPO Treaty for the Blind)?

The Senate is rushing at unusual speed to hold hearings on Bill C-11 - a bill to implement the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty for the Blind. There are reasons to be concerned about the "commercially available" exception to the exception and the possibility of collective and Copyright Board involvement. I’ve written this here and here.

 The Senate announced late on Friday, June 10, 2016 that is will hold a Committee hearing next Wednesday, June 16, 2016. That is far from adequate lead time for anyone who may wish to prepared constructive comments - assuming that potential witnesses are even available on such short notice.

I’m hearing reliable reports that Canada wants to be early in line to ratify the treaty – which is commendable. But that is not a good enough reason to rush the passage of a flawed implementation bill that may actually serve as a disincentive to the production of material for blind persons by both publishers and organizations working for the blind. There appears to be the possibility of potential Trojan horse provisions not required by the Treaty that could enable royalties and the prospect of Access Copyright, for example, applying for a tariff at the Copyright Board. Even the mere possibility of such a development is more than enough reason to pause for sober, second thought.

Readers who believe that more lead time is needed and/or a follow up hearing in the fall should contact the Committee right away as follows:

Clerk: Lynn Gordon - (613) 991-3620
Administrative Assistant: Julie Flannery - (613) 990-6187
General Information: (613) 990-0088 or 1-800-267-7362
Fax: 1-613-947-2104
Mailing Address:
Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce
The Senate of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada, K1A 0A4 


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