Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

12/05/2010

Canada’s ‘Fair Dealing’ Law Trumps Copyright Rights


First this:
 
Fair Dealing is the right to use copyrighted materials without permission of or payment to the copyright holder. Under current law, it applies only to materials used for the purposes of research, private study, criticism, review and news reporting. The new bill seeks to add education, along with satire and parody, to this list…(TOTALLY BAD IDEA!)

Canada has a cluster-muck mess in it’s publishing arena laws right now, and probably has had for some time, if this amateur researcher understands the small amount of data I have come across…AND, it looks like even MORE doo-doo to muck things up even worse is about to poop on the Canadian authors and publishers under their new proposed copyright bill (Bill C-32).  

For more detail on this Canadian conundrum in the publishing industry (and lessons to be learned and avoided in this country…although we may be guilty of much of the same!) PLUS a unique insight into the Canadian legal and publishing associations read this account by Kenyon Wallace from the National Post:

Textbook publishers fear copyright changes will kill their market
 
The canyon-like stacks of textbooks piled more than 10 metres high at Nelson Education’s distribution centre stretch over an area the size of six football fields, resembling some giant, futuristic library.

From Scarborough, Canada’s largest education publisher ships more than two million textbooks and other educational publications, created to meet the needs of provincial education curricula, across the country every year.

CEO Greg Nordal breaks open a box of university-level biology textbooks, looks up at the massive cliff-faces of shelving that dwarf the company’s 350 employees, and laments that homegrown publications for Canadian educators and students — textbooks, CD-ROMs, e-books and web content — could disappear if Bill C-32, new federal government legislation designed to overhaul Canada’s aging Copyright Act, becomes law.

“It’s an issue most Canadians are unaware of but should be very concerned about,” Mr. Nordal said. “The unintended consequences of Bill C-32 are profound for all Canadians, not just the publishers.”

Confusion over what Canada’s proposed new copyright bill would permit to be copied has left observers and stakeholders uncertain of its effects. The proposed change has provoked controversy on Parliament Hill — where Bill C-32 recently passed second reading and is now before a legislative committee — and on school campuses, in boardrooms and in the offices of literary agents across the country.

Already the debate has pit school boards against publishers, publishers against the government set to pass the law, and students against authors.

The proposal that “education” become a category under the bill’s fair dealing provision has authors and publishers waxing prophetic on the coming end to Canadian content in the classroom if the bill, as written, becomes law.

Fair dealing is the right to use copyrighted materials without permission of or payment to the copyright holder. Under current law, it applies only to materials used for the purposes of research, private study, criticism, review and news reporting. The new bill seeks to add education, along with satire and parody, to this list.

Read and learn more

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