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-For Immediate Release-

Canadian Library Association Gives Passing Grade to New Copyright Legislation

User Rights Still Tempered by Digital Locks

(Ottawa, June 3, 2010) – The Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques (CLA) finds much to applaud in the government’s newly announced copyright legislation, Bill C-32.

“Canadians will appreciate the expansion of fair dealing to include parody, satire, and education,” says CLA President John Teskey, “and with some important modifications to the provisions on digital locks, this bill addresses a number of the concerns brought forward by librarians across the country.”

CLA is heartened that Bill C-32 gives  users some new rights, but is disappointed that longstanding rights, the heart of copyright’s balance, as well as the new rights, are all tempered by the over-reach of digital locks.

In essence, the bill protects digital locks so they cannot be circumvented for legal uses.  The government has, perhaps unwittingly, placed a barrier to the bill’s achievement of its objective to promote innovation and support culture, by prohibiting Canadians from exercising their legitimate, statutory rights to copy material for research, study and education.  Fortunately, this can be corrected by simply allowing circumvention for legal purposes.

CLA is pleased that Canadians with perceptual disabilities will have use of material in accessible formats imported from other jurisdictions. The bill clarified that importation of such materials would not constitute infringement.

“While the additional fair dealing uses, limitations on liability, and the ability to import accessible formats give CLA reason for initial optimism,” adds Teskey, “we will review the bill thoroughly and formulate a detailed response.”

As well, the bill’s attempt to be technologically neutral appears to be incomplete, leaving parts of the Copyright Act still based on various media.  CLA will be looking for format neutral language to facilitate the library’s role in providing access and in preserving Canada’s cultural heritage.

CLA is also mindful that in previous rounds of copyright reform, user rights became significantly eroded as the bill went through the committee review process. The library community will be vigilant and engaged in the process to ensure that the gains to Canadian users will not be undermined and derailed as the bill moves through its review.

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The Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques (CLA) is Canada’s largest national and broad-based library association, representing the interests of public, academic, school and special libraries, professional librarians and library workers, and all those concerned about enhancing the quality of life of Canadians through information and literacy.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:
Kelly Moore, CLA Executive Director or Victoria Owen, CLA Copyright Committee Chair
Tel.: 613-232-9625