Meera Nair

Getting Started

In Posts on July 8, 2009 at 9:46 pm

As I envision it, this blog could serve as a source of information for those who are new to copyright, or, new to the principle of fair duty. The root of both topics lies in the awareness that copyright is not a grant of absolute control. Copyright provides some rights of control, to a copyright owner, accompanied by a duty to share with all creators. This duty is the measure of Fair Dealing.

Briefly, Fair Dealing permits some good-faith, productive uses of copyrighted material without authorization from the copyright holder. It is not an invitation to copy without restriction. It is a modest measure, but it ensures that the system of copyright which theoretically exists to protect creative people, and creative work, does not stifle creativity itself.

Paraphrasing from the Copyright Act:

3.1 For the purposes of this Act, “copyright”, in relation to a work, means the sole right to produce or reproduce the work or any substantial part thereof in any material form whatever…
5.1 … copyright shall subsist in Canada, for the term hereinafter mentioned, in every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work
27.1 It is an infringement of copyright for any person to do, without the consent of the owner of the copyright, anything that by this Act only the owner of the copyright has the right to do.

29. Fair dealing for the purpose of research or private study does not infringe copyright.
29.1 Fair dealing for the purpose of criticism or review does not infringe copyright if [attribution is] mentioned.
29.2 Fair dealing for the purpose of news reporting does not infringe copyright if [attribution is] mentioned.

It is inconsistent within the law to affirm copyright in a work, and simultaneously deny the possibility of Fair Dealing in that same work. As to how to make an assessment of fair dealing, that’s for another day. For now, if you are a student, teacher, librarian, artist, musician, photographer, writer, anyone with creative talent, just keep doing what you’re doing.

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