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Why the Government’s Copyright Board Plans Threaten to Spark Another Lobbying Battle (CA)

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Why the Government’s Copyright Board Plans Threaten to Spark Another Lobbying Battle (CA)

Postby MrFredPFL » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:37 pm

Story : http://www.michaelgeist.ca/2018/06/why-the-governments-copyright-board-plans-thr





Copyright reform has long been viewed as one of the more contentious policy issues on the Canadian agenda, pitting creators, education groups, innovative companies, and a growing number of individuals against one another in processes that run for years and leave no one fully satisfied. Indeed, my Hill Times op-ed notes the copyright review currently underway before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology promises to run for months with MPs hearing from a broad range of stakeholders presenting perspectives that will be difficult to reconcile.

Given the somewhat messy politics, last fall the government identified a short term solution that appeared to have wide-ranging support. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains and Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly announced the substantive policy questions would be left to the copyright review, but that the government would move quickly to address the administration of copyright by introducing long-overdue reforms to the Copyright Board of Canada.

The strategy was a political slam-dunk since both creator and user groups have expressed frustration with the slow processes at the board, which are said to foster marketplace uncertainty and leave creators waiting years to be paid. A public consultation identified the solutions: more funding for the board, a clear articulation of the its mandate, the introduction of case management techniques commonly used in litigation, and strict time limits to stop delay tactics. My submission to the consultation can be found here.

Yet despite an easy political and policy win, the issue is now mired in internal disputes that threaten to sideline the broader copyright review process as parties gear up for a battle over board reform. The source of the dispute is not the administrative changes to the board. Rather, some are also pushing for substantive changes that would have significant implications for broader copyright policy that threaten to create massive liability risks for some copyright stakeholders. The substantive change at issue is described as “tariff harmonization”, which sounds innocuous but would result in a radical change to copyright policy and pre-empt much of the work of the Industry committee.







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