Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic 1

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Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic

Clinique d'intérêt public et de politique d'internet du Canada
David Fewer, General Counsel

March 31, 2021

By Email

March 31, 2021
The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne
Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
C.D. Howe Building
225 Queen Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Canadian Heritage Canadian Heritage
12th Floor, 15 Eddy Street
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M5

Dear Ministers,

RE: Consultations on implementing an extended general term of copyright protection in Canada

The Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) is a legal clinic based at the Centre for Law, Technology & Society at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law. Founded in 2003, CIPPIC's mission is to contribute to public policy debates on technology law issues, ensure balance in policy and law-making processes, and provide legal assistance to under-represented organizations and individuals on matters involving the intersection of law and technology.

CIPPIC welcomes the opportunity to provide comments on to implementation of an extended general term of copyright protection in Canada. To that end, we enclose a report outlining the consequences of term extension without appropriate accompanying measures.

CIPPIC endorses the approach recommended by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology in its statutory review of the Copyright Act: a registration requirement for Canadian copyright term extension beyond the minimal requirements of the Berne Convention. Such an approach is the most effective option for gifting copyright owners with an additional twenty years of copyright protection while minimizing harms to Canada's creative community and the public domain. A registration system for post-Berne copyright terms would also offer Canadians the benefit of a public database of significant works and their scheduled date of entry into the public domain.

CIPPIC urges the following approach to any extension of copyright term beyond the Berne minimum:

  1. realize the fundamental place of the public domain within Canadian copyright,
  2. recognize the harms that term extension will have on the Canadian copyright ecosystem,
  3. understand the approaches undertaken in other jurisdictions have been unable to mitigate those harms which highlights the need for a made-in-Canada approach,
  4. appreciate the benefits of requiring registration in return for the gift of a post-Berne copyright term, and
  5. appreciate that international law obligations impose minimum requirements, and do not constrain country-specific, tailored approaches to copyright beyond those minimums.

We thank you for the opportunity to participate in this important policy consultation.

Yours truly,

David Fewer
General Counsel, CIPPIC Encl
Université d'Ottawa / University of Ottawa
Faculté de droit / Faculty of Law
57 Louis-Pasteur, Ottawa (Ontario) K1N 6N5 Canada /