Friday, June 26, 2009

Copyright Newsletter

The Copyright & New Media Law Newsletter, volume 13 (2009) issue 1, is now available for free at http://copyrightlaws.com. This 13 year old quarterly print and electronic newsletter provides copyright information, news, analysis and practical advice, in plain English from a variety of contributors - from lawyers to academics to others working on copyright and licensing issues in their organizations.

T of C (Vol. 13, Issue 1)
Editorial – lobbying for copyright reform
Copyright Rules of the Road for Bloggers
U.S. Copyright Legislation in 2009
Copyright Quiz 1.0
“Non-Commercial” and Other Definitions in Licenses
Copyright Questions & Answers (a comprehensive list of these Qs & As is at www.copyrightanswers.blogspot.com)

Subscription info at www.acteva.com/go/copyright.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Orphan works

The term orphan works is a common term in copyright parlance and it means works for which the copyright owner may not be located. It applies to all works from images to text and includes posters and photographs and letters. In the U.S., there have been several failed attempts to pass special legislation for the use of orphan works. Such legislation would allow those who undertake due diligence to find a copyright owner but are unsuccessful, to use that work in certain specified conditions. It is possible that legislation will be introduced again in the U.S. in the Fall of 2009.

Canada has had an orphan works provisions for many years now. It is called the Unlocatable Copyright Owner provision and is administered by the Copyright Board of Canada. If you cannot locate a copyright owner, and have exhausted your efforts, you may apply for a limited licence from the Board for your use. Further info is at http://www.cb-cda.gc.ca/unlocatable/index-e.html.

Lesley

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

US, Canadian and International Copyright

Copyright Quiz 2.0 is now open at www.copyrightlawscom.blogspot.com. It's an opportunity to quickly test your knowledge on international copyright law with a 10 question true or false quiz.

Lesley

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Subscribe to this blog

If you would like to receive an email notification whenever a posting or comment is made to this blog (recommended for this course), please click on SUBSCRIBE at the side of this page.

Lesley

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What Canadian Librarians Need to Know About Foreign Copyright

Navigating the Copyright Globe

In the pre-Internet days, global copyright management included photocopying an article in a Canadian office and mailing or faxing it to an office in London, England. With the Internet, enterprises are faced with a myriad of new copyright issues from posting an audio recording on its Web site, to accessing from abroad a licensed database, to dealing with rights such as moral rights, which greatly vary from country to country.

Keeping up with technology is difficult enough, so where does a librarian begin grappling with global copyright issues? First, it is important to know as much as possible about Canadian copyright law. And definitely know the following rule of thumb: Your own country’s (ie, Canada’s) copyright law will continue to govern the majority of your copyright use issues.

Second, you should be aware that copyright laws vary from country to country. Even a country as close as the U.S. has very different copyright laws than Canada. For example, the duration of copyright protection is 20 years longer in the U.S. than in Canada; moral rights protection is much stronger in Canada than in the U.S.; and fair use allows for multiple classroom copying whereas the comparable fair dealing does not.

No International Copyright Law

Third, you should understand that there is no such thing as international copyright law. There are copyright treaties (the leading one is the Berne Convention, www.wipo.org), however it is up to Berne member countries (164 at the current time), to amend their laws to meet the minimum standards required from member countries.

As an example of how Berne works, Berne provides a minimum protection of 50 years from the author’s death. So many countries (Canada included) protects copyright works for life of the author plus 50 years after his death. However, countries are free to protect for a longer period of time. The U.S. and European Union countries, amongst others, protect copyright works for the life of the author plus 70 years after his death. This means that if you use a copyright-protected work in the U.S., you will have to clear the copyright in the work if the author has been not been dead for 70 years. However, if you use the same work in Canada, you may freely use the work if the author has been dead for 50 years. However, if you are using that work on a Web site accessible around the world (and following the rule that you apply the law of the country where the work is being used), even if you are located in Canada, you would clear the rights for life-plus-70 to “cover yourself” for access from the U.S. and other countries with the longer duration of copyright protection.

License Agreements

In many circumstances, your license agreements for digital content (such as databases and periodicals) will govern terms and conditions for using such content. The Authorized Users clause may state that employees in your Canadian library or office may use the licensed content, or it may allow those same Canadian employees to access the content from outside of Canada. Also, Authorized Users may extend to content users in other countries. Check your existing licenses, and keep these issues in mind when negotiating future licenses.

Also important from a global perspective are the governing law and dispute resolution clauses in your licenses. These clauses set out what province and country laws will govern the interpretation of the contract (should that be necessary), where any agreed upon mediation/arbitration may take place, and in what jurisdiction any litigation would take place. Keep in mind that although litigation between content owners and libraries is rare, your licenses do and should address such a possibility. It is always best for the governing law, jurisdiction for any mediation/arbitration, and litigation, to take place in your jurisdiction, as your lawyers are likely more familiar with that law, and it would like be less expensive to resolve such disputes without paying for travel and taking the time to travel for that purpose.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Copyright duration

Each country has a general duration of copyright protection. The Berne Convention (www.wipo.org) requires its 164 member countries to protect copyright works for a minimum of 50 years after the author's death. So member countries such as Canada has a duration of life plus 50. Other member countries such as European Union countries and the U.S. have extended their copyright protection to life plus 70. This helps protect creators and owners and may be a burden to researchers, archivists, educators and others who then need to clear copyright for an additional 20 years in those countries.

In practice, this means that if you use a copyright-protected work in the U.S., you will have to clear the copyright in the work if the author has been not been dead for 70 years. However, if you use the same work in Canada, you may freely use the work if the author has been dead for 50 years. However, if you are using that work on a Web site accessible around the world (and following the rule that you apply the law of the country where the work is being used), even if you are located in Canada, you would clear the rights for life-plus-70 to “cover yourself” for access from the U.S. and other countries with the longer duration of copyright protection.

Please provide any comments below.

Lesley

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Licensing book now available

The 2nd ed of Licensing Digital Content: A Practical Guide for Librarians is now available at http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=2630.

The book is equally for Canadian and US librarians (and publishers and others). Provisions that are more prominent in Canada than the US such as "moral rights" is discussed; global copyright issues are discussed throughout the book; and fair dealing in Canada and fair use in the U.S. are equally discussed.

A site devoted to the book is at www.licensingdigitalcontent.blogspot.com.

Lesley

Thursday, April 2, 2009

ALAI - Toronto meeting March 26 2009

On March 26, 2009, I attended an ALAI Canada lunch meeting in Toronto on the topic, "The Politics of Fair Use "Common Sense" and the Digital Revolution" given by Toronto-based lawyer Richard Owens.

Richard began his talk stating that the US principle of fair use is a users right whereas fair dealing in Canada and in other Commonwealth countries has traditionally been a defense to an infringement action (though technically fair use is too), which began as a rule of equity, now formalized in the Canadian Copyright Act. Since the 2004 Supreme Court of Canada decision in CCH Publishers v. Law Society of Upper Canada, there has been an "Americanization" of fair dealing in Canada. Some even suggest that fair dealing is now broader than fair use. Yet, as Richard pointed out, there is no constitutional copyright provision in Canada as there is in the US.

There was much interesting discussion about where the SCC decision will take the direction of fair dealing in Canada and whether it is now the current broader use of fair dealing that applies in Canada, or whether the facts specific to the 2004 case keep the state of fair dealing as it was prior to the 2004 decision.

I see that Richard is a popular speaking on various IP issues and I urge you to attend one of his talks or seminars.

For more info about ALAI Canada, email rita@hebbsheffer.ca. ALAI is an international group of copyright creators (and not necessarily lawyers.)

Lesley

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fair dealing and fair use

One oft asked question is whether fair dealing and fair use are the same? Fair use exists in the US Copyright Act; and fair dealing in the Canadian Copyright Act. Share your thoughts on this issue by posting your comments below.

Lesley

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Registering a copyright-protected work

Copyright registration is voluntary in the U.S. and in Canada (due to international copyright requirements). Each country however has a voluntary government registration system which provides you with certain advantages if you choose to register. In both countries, it is best to register upon creation of a work but you can register at any time and it is highly advisable you register before commencing a law suit as there are specific advantages if you do so.

One difference between the two registration systems is that you must deposit a copy of the work with the US Copyright Office whereas the Canadian Copyright Office does not accept any deposits -- you merely fill out the form and pay your fee. As such, many Canadians choose to register their work in Canada (for advantages in a copyright infringement suit) and also in the US so a copy of the work is deposited and can be called upon should an infringement issue arise.

This is a quick summary of some of the differences. Please ask your questions below as a comment and I'd be happy to expand on this subject.

Lesley

Monday, March 16, 2009

Using clips in documentary films

Do you need permission to use clips in documentary films or does this fall under fair use in the U.S. or under fair dealing in Canada? American University has developed guidelines to answer this question under U.S. law. See: http://www.centerforsocialmedia.org/resources/fair_use/">http://www.centerforsocialmedia.org/resources/fair_use/">http://www.centerforsocialmedia.org/resources/fair_use/





Now a Canadian filmmaker is taking on this issue with his new documentary. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20090314.ARIP14/TPStory/TPEntertainment/Television/

Lesley

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Post your questions

Do you have a question or scenario about a Canadian-US copyright issue? Perhaps how the law treats a specific situation on both sides of the border? Please post your questions below as a comment. Thanks.

FYI, you may also want to visit www.copyrightanswers.blogspot.com.

Lesley

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Copyright Policies and US Copyright

A question to consider: should your Copyright Policy address US and Canadian copyright issues?

Your Copyright Policy is a document that sets out the management of copyright issues in your organization. There are no set items that should go into your policy, merely those that relate to the uses of content in your workplace. So, if you are using content from the U.S., or content that you have licensed is on a Web site or other online portal accessible from the U.S., or your own as well as licensed content is accessed by Canadian employees while travelling in the U.S., then you should address the relevant copyright information in your policy.

More on developing a copyright policy at: www.copyrightanswers.blogspot.com.

Lesley