The Copyright Act of Canada

The Copyright Act of Canada (1985; last revised 2012) protects the rights of creators of original works. The Copyright Board of Canada is mandated to enforce the terms of the Copyright Act whenever conflicts arise between copyright holders and users of copyright protected materials.

Copyright Act and Bill C-11

Canada's Copyright Act, which was originally enacted in 1924, was based on the United Kingdom's Copyright Act of 1911. Since then there have been numerous revisions and updates to copyright law in Canada. 

The most recent and successful attempt to modernize copyright law in Canada (Bill C-11, The Copyright Modernization Act) was introduced in 2011, received Royal Assent in 2012 and was subsequently passed into law in late 2012. C-11 introduced what was seen as some of the most wide-ranging and fundamental changes in years.

Of the reforms it introduced, seen as most significant was the inclusion of education in exceptions that permit the use of copyright protected materials in a digital or physical classroom environment.  Other key revisions to the Act include the protection of digital locks (TPMs) used to secure content, a specific exception for the permission-free showing of legally acquired films and videos in a classroom setting to students and the protection of 'mashups' or user generated content as legal.

Recent Supreme Court of Canada Decisions

In July of 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered judgements on five important copyright related cases. These decisions have come to be collectively known as the Copyright Pentalogy. The Intellectual Property Law and Technology Program (IPOsgoode) at York University has an excellent analysis available via their blog. The decisions are important as they are seen as significant victories for fair dealing and user's rights.

CCH Canadian Ltd. vs Law Society of Upper Canada

In 2004 the Supreme Court of Canada rendered a decision which involved publisher CCH Canadian and the Law Society of Upper Canada.  The case centred around a self-service photocopying service the Law Society was offering to their patrons. The publisher argued that such a service was not covered or protected under the then-current fair dealing exception.  The Court found that fair dealing must not be strictly interpreted and in fact is a user's right.  The Court also stressed that there must be balance between the rights of owners and those of users.

The text of the decision can be found here.

Questions or comments?

We'd be happy to help out. Please send us your copyright questions and comments.

Dalhousie Libraries Copyright Office website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.