Access Copyright tells Canadian gov't: no home TV recording, no ripping music, no moving old ebooks to new readers

Access Copyright, the Canadian organisation that collects library royalties for writers, filed a jaw-droppingly dumb set of comments in the Canadian Copyright consultation. Access Copyright came out as opposing the right to record TV shows at home, and the right to "format shift" your media (e.g., load a CD on your MP3 player, or put an old ebook on a new reader or phone). They also say that almost all commercial use, no matter how trivial, should require a license and not fall under fair dealing. They come out against the interlibrary loan system, because it is digital.

Man, if these yahoos set out to destroy the public's faith in copyright, they could not do a better job than they're doing now. Yeesh.

The so-called format and time shifting exceptions, also known as personal use exceptions, were apparently included in Bill C-61 to address a practice that has become common among the public. Access Copyright submits that good public policy should not be dictated by legalizing common public practices.

It is worth mentioning here that Article 5(2)(b) of the EU Directive 2001/29/EC allows member states to introduce exceptions and limitations to the reproduction right for private use (which includes format and time shifting) "on the condition that rightsholders receive fair compensation". The requirement for fair compensation is to ensure that the private use exception complies with the three-step test.

Access Copyright believes that copyright owners should be given the opportunity to address these "common practices" through market-based solutions. We caution against the assumption that uses made by individuals for their personal use are inconsequential on the existing or potential market for a work. Format shifting for example is relatively new to printed works. Copyright owners should be given time to develop and test new services and business models for the delivery of content in the digital environment. The introduction of a format shifting exception for books could undermine the development of emerging business models. At the very least, the government should ensure that any restriction of the copyright owner's reproduction right be accompanied by fair compensation.

Access Copyright: Reduce Fair Dealing, No Taping TV Shows or Format Shifting