On April 14, 2021, the Government of Canada (the Government) launched a consultation on whether the copyright framework for online intermediaries, (entities that facilitate access to copyright-protected content) appropriately reflects the evolving digital world. The Government recognizes the evolution of the dissemination and use of copyright-protected content on the internet through proliferated and diversified online intermediates, and considers whether the extent to which the current copyright framework for online intermediaries still achieves its underlying objectives, including protecting and encouraging the use of copyright-protected content online, safeguarding individual rights and freedoms in an open internet and facilitating a flourishing digital market.
The current copyright framework establishes liability for intermediaries that infringe copyright or serve primarily to enable infringement by others, but counterbalances this through the use of statutory protections, including “safe harbours”, where intermediaries only provide the technical means by which others infringe the copyright through the use of the intermediaries’ services. The framework has been subject to scrutiny and debate over the years. Copyright holders claim that it diminishes the remuneration for use of their content online and impairs any enforcement avenues, and have called for greater obligations on online intermediaries to prevent or stop infringement. On the other hand, intermediaries argue that the laws as they are sufficiently protect copyright online and that no additional changes are needed.
The Government welcomes all comments providing additional perspectives or evidence related to these issues and potential solutions. The consultation is open until May 31, 2021 and further information on how to contribute can be found here.
Summary By: Hashim Ghazi
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