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Bill C-32: Fair Dealing Finally Modernized--With a Catch

Online Rights Canada - Mon, 2010/06/07 - 15:59

Bill C-32, the government’s latest attempt at reforming copyright laws, brings Canadians a Jekyll and Hyde. On a positive note, the bill demonstrates that Parliamentarians were listening to Canadians during the Copyright Consultations last year. It legalizes fair parody and satire, and clarifies that educational use of content can qualify as fair dealing. It also legalizes format shifting and time shifting, recognizing that Canadians want be able to legally put music on their computers and iPods, and record content using VCR's and PVR's.

Unfortunately, this fair balance does not permeate through to Bill C-32's legal protection of digital locks. Here, the bill caters to U.S. demands rather than the views of Canadians. The bill allows distributors to restrict access to content, skirting around the balance that is struck by fair dealing provisions. Reporters won't be able to fairly use locked content in news stories, filmmakers won't be able to insert protected clips in documentaries, and whistleblowers seeking justice will not be able to release encrypted documents.

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