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Copyright: Legal History

UFV Books on Copyright

The following is a selection of recent publications about copyright available in the UFV Library

Copyright Act of Canada

The Copyright Act was last amended in June 2012, and one of the significant changes was the addition of "education" to the allowable purposes of Fair Dealing. While research and private study can always be interpreted as applying to an educational context, this added purpose now provides teachers, students, and education institutions with explicit statuary clarification for fair dealing interpretations in learning environments.

Significant Case Law in Canada

The decisions in the following three cases have been integral to shaping and defining the legal context of fair dealing in Canada:

1. CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada, (2004) 1 S.C.R. 339, 2004 SCC 13

Significance: In one of the landmark copyright cases in Canada, the unanimous decision of the court affirmed that fair dealing is "always available" as a user's right, that research "must be given a large and liberal interpretation in order to ensure that users’ rights are not unduly constrained", and provided a six factor test to determine the "fairness" of dealing with a copyrighted work. Additionally, the decision also ruled that institutional policies on the reproduction of copyrighted content do not facilitate infringement practices.

2. Entertainment Software Association v. SOCAN (2012) SCC 34

Significance: The Supreme Court upheld earlier decisions ruling that 30 second song previews are not subject to licensing fees, as these previews were provided for the benefit of the consumer for research purposes. The concept of research in fair dealing was considered, with the conclusion reached that, in addition to that undertaken for the creation of new knowledge, research also "can be piecemeal, informal, exploratory, or confirmatory ...  undertaken for no purpose except personal interest."

3. Alberta (Education) v. Access Copyright (2012) SCC 37

Significance: The ruling stated that  teachers share a "symbiotic purpose" with students engaged in private study and research, and therefore copying on another's behalf constitutes fair dealing for those purposes. The decision also clarified that private study does not have to occur in "splendid isolation" - hence providing legal support for educational spaces to be considered places of research and private study under fair dealing exceptions.

4. Théberge v. Galerie d’Art du Petit Champlain Inc., 2002 SCC 34, [2002] 2 S.C.R. 336

Significance: The court provides insightful analyses on balancing incentives for creators versus the public goods derived from their creations. "In crassly economic terms it would be as inefficient to overcompensate artists and authors for the right of reproduction as it would be self-defeating to undercompensate them."


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