Recently, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage presented its report entitled Shifting Paradigms to the House of Commons.
The Committee conducted a study on remuneration models for artists and creative industries, including rights management and the challenges and opportunities of new access points for creative content. Between 22 May and 6 December 2018, the Committee held 19 meetings, heard testimony from 115 witnesses and reviewed 75 briefs.
The Committee recommended several amendments to the Copyright Act including:
- copyright term extension: to extend from 50 to 70 years after the author’s death;
- extension of moral and economic rights: to extend moral and economic rights to audiovisual performers;
- infringement exceptions: to review, clarify and/or remove exceptions contained in the Copyright Act;
- fair dealing: to clarify that fair dealing does not apply to educational institutions when the copyrighted work is commercially available;
- statutory damages for infringement for non-commercial use: to review, harmonize and improve the enforcement of statutory damages for infringement for non-commercial use;
- collective societies: to harmonize remedies for collective societies;
- artist’s resale right: to establish an artist’s resale right;
- screenwriter and director: to amend section 34.1 to deem the screenwriter and director the co-owners of copyright and co-authors of a television or cinematographic work;
- rights reversion: to amend subsection 14(1) to read “from 25 years after assignment”, so that copyright assigned by authors could revert to them during their lifetime rather than only after death;
- charitable organizations: to amend the exception in subsection 32.2(3) for acts done in furtherance of a charitable object to clarify that it applies strictly to activities where no commercial monetary gain is intended; and
- sound recording: to amend the definition of “sound recording” to allow sound recordings used in television and film to be eligible for public performance remuneration.
Some of these recommendations echo previously promised changes to the Copyright Act. For example, with respect to copyright term extension, the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement signed last year also requires Canada to extend copyright protection to life plus 70 years. Other recommendations represent a departure from the current copyright framework. At the moment, it remains to be seen when and how these recommendations will be implemented. We will continue to watch as the copyright framework evolves