Copyright at Western

Bill C-11: The Copyright Modernization Act

Bill C-11* received Royal Assent on June 29, 2012, and most of its provisions were brought into force on November 7, 2012, with the remainder taking effect early in 2015.

The new legislation introduces changes to the Copyright Act that are broad and far reaching for educational institutions, faculty, staff and students.

Bill C-11 expanded the scope of the fair dealing exception to specifically include education, in addition to research, private study, criticism and review. Fair dealing for the purposes of education does not currently carry the statutory requirement for attribution. However for us at Western acknowledging the source and where known the author(s) or creator(s) of a work is always necessary whenever we use the work of others in research, teaching and learning in order to comply with Western’s policies on plagiarism.

Bill C-11 also significantly expanded the educational exceptions available to the Western community:

Overall, there is greater flexibility for Western faculty to rely on the educational exceptions to reproduce and display, perform or telecommunicate works within the university environment.

Summary of the Changes

1. Key Changes for Educational Institutions

(a) Fair Dealing Exception

The fair dealing exception included three new purposes: education, parody or satire.  This expanded the existing exceptions: research and private study, criticism, review and news reporting. Use Western’s Fair Dealing Analysis as a guide for copying under the fair dealing exception.

(b) Back-Up Copies

Copies of works may be made for backup purposes, in cases where the legally obtained source copy is lost, damaged or otherwise rendered unusable.  This exception does not apply to works protected by “digital locks” (see discussion below), and the backup copy may not be given away.

(c) Expanded Educational Exceptions

(i)  An educational institution or a person acting under its authority, for education or training purposes on its premises, can:

(ii) Educational institutions using news and commentary under the educational exception do not have to pay royalties, destroy copies of news or commentary programs after one year, or keep records of the copies made of news or commentary programs.

(d) Lessons by Telecommunications

An educational institution or a person acting under its authority for the purposes of education or training may communicate lessons (including tests or exams) via telecommunication and distance learning to students enrolled in the course and record such lessons.  The student can also make a copy of such telecommunicated lesson to be viewed or listened to at a later time, provided that:

It is important to note that the recordings cannot be sold or distributed widely (beyond the audience of students enrolled in the class).

(e) Expanded Exceptions for Libraries, Archives and Museums

Libraries, archives and museums are able to:

(f) Reduced Statutory Damages for Non-Commercial Infringements

Statutory damages for copyright infringements with non-commercial purposes have been reduced from the current $500 to $20,000 per work infringed, to $100 to $5,000 for all infringements in a single proceeding for all works (not for each work infringed). The current range continues to apply to cases of infringement for commercial purposes only.

(g) Digital Locks

“Technological protection measure” (also known as “digital locks”) are defined under two categories:

Bill C-11 prohibits the circumvention of any access control installed on a work, performer’s performance fixed in a sound recording or a sound recording, even if the work subject to the digital lock is legally acquired.

The digital lock prohibitions in the Act could potentially “trump” or prevail over various exceptions in the Copyright Act, e.g. the fair dealing or educational exceptions.

(h) Internet Service Provider Liability

Providers of Internet or network services are not liable for copyright infringement, to the extent that they are only acting as intermediaries with respect to communication, caching, hosting activities.  This does not apply if:

2. Other Changes

(a) New Exclusive Rights

The following new exclusive rights have been added for the benefit of copyright owners:

(b) New Personal Use / Fair Dealing Exceptions

(i) Non-commercial User-generated Content (also known as the ‘mash-up exception’)

Section 29.21 creates a new exception for content generated by non-commercial uses to allow a consumer the right to use, for non-commercial purposes, a published work to create a new work.  This exception is subject to conditions (e.g. identification of the source and author, legality of the original work or the copy used, absence of a substantial adverse effect on the exploitation of the original work).  For example, a consumer could splice scenes from videos and movie trailers to create a fan-made trailer or video.

(ii) Reproduction for Private Purpose (aka the “format-shifting exception”)

Section 29.22 allows a consumer the right to reproduce, for a private purpose, any work or protected subject matter if the source copy was legally obtained (but not onto an “audio-recording medium”).  For example, a consumer could copy a song purchased from iTunes from his or her computer to his or her iPod.

This exception does not apply to the copy of a musical work made onto an “audio recording medium” as defined in section 79 of the Act or to works protected by digital locks.  Section 79 defines “audio recording medium as a recording medium, regardless of its material form, onto which a sound recording may be reproduced and that is of a kind ordinarily used by individual consumers for that purpose, excluding any prescribed kind of recording medium.”  Therefore, Bill C-11 does not allow reproductions for private use on CD-Rs and Mini-Discs.

(iii) Fixing Signals and Recording Programs for Later Listening or viewing (aka the “time-shifting exception”)

Section 29.23 allows an individual to make a fixation of a communication signal or reproduce a work, sound recording or performance being broadcast for the purpose of privately viewing the work at a later time, provided that the signal is received legally, only one recording is made, it is used for private purposes, and is not given away.  For example, an individual would record a show on his or her PVR to watch at a later time.  This exception does not apply to works or sound recordings accessed through an on-demand service, or to works protected by digital locks.

(c) New Computer Program Exceptions

There are some new exceptions to copyright infringement for developing interoperable computer programs, encryption research, security testing and technological processes.  These are aimed at the software industry to allow software reproduction for compatibility issues, software testing, security flaws and other uses common in the industry.

* Please note: Bill C-11 amended the existing provisions of the Copyright Act.  For easy reference, this page refers to Bill C-11, but it should be understood that what is meant is the Copyright Act, as amended by Bill C-11.

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Created 12/01/2013
Updated