By Alan Kilpatrick
Copyright matters. The law surrounding copyright has a tremendous impact on learning, creativity, and the expression of ideas in Canadian society.
Libraries, like ours, have a particular interest in ongoing copyright law developments. In addition to the landmark 2004 copyright decision that involved the Law Society of Upper Canada Library, CCH Canadian Ltd v Law Society of Upper Canada, 2004 SCC 13, copyright impacts everything libraries do. It plays a defining role in what we can provide to members, how we interact with online resources, interlibrary loans, and so on.
The current copyright environment has been focused largely on the mandatory five-year parliamentary review of the Copyright Act that took place in May 2018. Section 92 of the Act mandates this review, the first of which took place in 2012. Taking place in several phases last month, the review consulted witnesses from specific sectors, Indigenous interest groups, and legal experts. A cross-country public consultation was also conducted. Ken Fox, our Saskatoon Reference Librarian, described many of the issues at play in the exciting leadup to the Act’s review in this blog post. The review’s results are expected in 2019.
During the review, Canada’s library community advocated for fair and equitable use of copyright-protected materials. The library sector placed particular emphasis on the importance of the fair dealing exception in Section 29 of the Act. The Act includes several “exceptions” to copyright infringement that permit copying without permission for specific purposes and under certain conditions. Exceptions are intended to balance the interests of those who own copyright-protected material and those who use copyright-protected materials.
We look forward to the results of the review process. As a member of the library sector, we will continue to advocate for fair and equitable copyright.
You can learn more about copyright from these previous Legal Sourcery posts:
This post was inspired by a session at SLA 2018: Copyright and Libraries 2018 presented by Kate Langrell and Christina Winter.
Langrell, K., & Winter, C. (2018). Copyright and Libraries 2018. Session at SLA 2018.