21 ways in which Canada's copyright law is stronger than US copyright law

Michael Geist sez, "Howard Knopf has an absolute must-read post that lists 21 reasons why Canadian copyright law is already stronger than the U.S. Knopf's list includes the existence of the private copying levy, neighbouring rights, movie theatre payments for exhibiting films, moral rights, the fact that broadcasters pay more copyright royalties and educators pay more copyright royalties, and that fair dealing is more restrictive than fair use. There are many more – read the whole thing."

For non-Canadians: an oft-heard reason for urgent reform to make Canadian copyright more restrictive is that the US government (and the US copyright lobby) say that Canadian copyright law is lax compared to the US version. Canada has even been put on copyright watchlists, along with countries like China and Russia.

1. Canada has about 36 copyright collectives, many of which have received substantial direct and indirect government subsidies. The U.S. has only about half a dozen, with no government support.

2. Canada has a full-time Copyright Board which has normally had four full time members plus a sitting or retired Judge as Chairman and currently about a dozen full time professional and administrative staff. The Board has enormous policy and, effectively, law making powers. No other country of which I am aware comes close to having such a large, permanent, powerful and full time copyright tribunal.

3. Broadcasters pay more for copyright royalties than their counterparts in the USA, much of it for rights that don't even exist in the USA – for example the "ephemeral right."The U.S. provides an outright exemption in 17 USC §112 for the "ephemeral right." Now, about $50-million a year more over and above is being demanded by a collective dominated by the American dominated record labels for this right in addition to amounts now collected by composers, authors and publishers.(Canada's Copyright Board heard a major case where this will be decided on commercial radio in December of 2008 and January of 2009. However, it will probably be at least 18 months to two years after the hearing before a decision is announced, based upon the timing of some recent major decisions from the Board.

4. The Canadian Copyright Board values each right under the Copyright Act brought before it separately, with little regard to the layering and multiplicity of tariffs that result, in effect, for the same transaction. Whether this is an error in approach by the Board, and/or in policy, and/or in legislative drafting or at all is subject to fair debate. But the fact is that U.S. law goes to great length to avoid such a result, as recent court decisions have confirmed…

The Annual "301" Show – USTR Calls for Comment – 21 Reasons Why Canadian Copyright Law is Already Stronger Than USA's

(Thanks, Michael!)