Nearly 15 years of debate over digital copyright reform will come to an end today as Bill C-11, the fourth legislative attempt at Canadian copyright reform, passes in the House of Commons. Many participants in the copyright debate view the bill with great disappointment, pointing to the government's decision to adopt restrictive digital lock rules as a signal that their views were ignored.
Despite the loss on digital locks, the "Canadian copyfight" led to some dramatic changes to Canadian copyright as the passage of Bill C-11 still features some important wins for Canadians who spoke out on copyright. For example, the government expanded fair dealing and added provisions on time shifting, format shifting, backup copies, and user generated content in response to public pressure. It also included a cap on statutory damages, expanded education exceptions, and rejected SOPA-style amendments. Canadian public engagement on copyright continuously grew in strength - from the Bulte battle in 2006 to the Facebook activism in 2007 to the immediate response to the 2008 bill to the 2009 copyright consultation to the 2010 response to Bill C-32. While many dismissed the role of digital activism on copyright, the reality is that it had a huge impact on the shape of Canadian copyright.
Researcher Yarden Katz scraped the database of Intellectual Ventures, a giant business that buys up patents, but produces nothing but lawsuits (previously), and discovered that IV claims ownership of nearly 500 patents that were created at public expense by researchers employed by public universities, and another 100 or so patents filed by the US Navy.
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