The Industry Committee’s Report: Recent Changes in the Canadian Copyright Law

In “Oh Canada! True Patriot Love” by Carys Craig, the author describes how the newly released report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science & Technology, which was the result of a legally mandated parliamentary review of Canada’s Copyright Act, affected today’s copyright climate.


The Canada’s Copyright Act commenced five years after the Copyright Modernization Act 2012 came into force. The aim of legislating the Act 2012 was approving the 1996 WIPO Internet Treaties and modernizing Canadian copyright law.It legislated anti-circumvention measures to protect digital locks, a Notice& Notice system for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and a new cause of action for enabling infringement online. Also it extended the fair dealing defence to include new permitted purposes, created new exceptions for common consumer practices.

In the framework of the five years review process, the Industry Committee demanded a consultative report from the Canadian Heritage Committee. This consulting report, The Heritage Report, included the extension of Canada’s copyright term to life of the author plus 70 years; clarification or removal of existing exceptions to comply with the Berne Convention’s three-step test; “clarification” that the fair dealing defence should not apply to educational institutions in respect of commercially available works; promoting a return to collective licensing; increasing efforts to combat piracy; and reviewing safe harbors to ensure that ISPs “are accountable for their role in the distribution of content.”

In the Industry Report, perhaps the most notable committee observations comprises the making of Canada’s fair dealing defence open and flexible by turning the enumerated purposes into an illustrative list; facilitating the lawful circumvention of digital locks for certain non-infringing purposes; minimizing the impact of any term extension by requiring formalities for protection beyond life-plus-fifty; allowing authors’ termination rights to trigger 25 years post-assignment (with notice) rather than 25 years after death; increasing the transparency of the collective administration of copyright; and adopting open licensing practices for works under Crown copyright.

According to the Committee, any additional regulation of ISPs should reflect a balanced approach. When it is concerned any imbalance of power between creators and large intermediaries, the Committee’s approach is not only pointing out ISPs, but also large record labels and publishers.

The Industry Committee’s report has critical importance in some issues that it points out such as rewarding authors while encouraging both the creation and dissemination of works, balancing the rights of owners and users and ensuring the preservation of vibrant public domain. The report shows an approach to maintain the copyright balance articulated by Canada’s Supreme Court. Also it states that to maintain this approach of copyright balance, there should be a compromise between different perspectives, but it does not have to be a compromise of democratic values or the public interest.

The report has been already discussed excessively and it seems to continue to be spoken in terms of its new changes.


Ceren Morbel

Ceren Morbel is a fourth-year law student at Istanbul University in Turkey. She completes her summer internship at the University of Szeged, Faculty of Law, Institute of Comparative Law and Legal Theory, under the supervision of Associate Professor Péter Mezei.

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