Meera Nair


Years ago, a member of my doctoral committee said “fair dealing” lacked transparency and challenged me to rename the exception. And so “fair duty” came into being; to make evident the duty of copyright holders to follow the law and not impede legitimate exceptions to the rights of control afforded by law. As I have written here: “Exceptions exist in order to ensure that the rights of copyright do not impede the goals of copyright which might be loosely described as furthering both creativity and knowledge dissemination.”

Under this title is an eclectic collection of writings, some explaining the law, others touching on subjects allied to reading, writing, creativity, innovation, access, domestic politics and international copyright-related activity. Many people have aided my work over the years; my thanks to all, with particular gratitude to the library community. The opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.


MNJune2014Tertiary education for me began with a BSc. in mathematics and culminated in a Ph.D. in communication. The decade between undergraduate and graduate studies was spent as co-partner of a small consulting firm, facilitating the transfer of intellectual property between academia and industry.

My doctoral dissertation, From Fair Dealing To Fair Duty: The Necessary Margins Of Canadian Copyright Law, explored the implementation and atmosphere of copyright in Canada, through the writings of Harold Adams Innis (1894-1952). There is merit to the system of intellectual property, provided it remains a system.

Some bragging rights and chatter:

“A denial of independence–a stunting of Canada’s print industry,” speaker for Canadian Association for the Study of Book Culture & Bibliographic Society of Canada (Congress 2017), May 30, 2017.   [Alternatively titled, Remembering Sir John Thompson.]

A plea to the academics,” speaker for Canada’s 2017 Copyright Review (Congress 2017) hosted by Ryerson University, May 29, 2017.

Fair dealing, equal under the law,” speaker for Copyright User Rights and Access to Justice Symposium hosted by LTEC (Law and Technology) Lab of Windsor Law, May 18-19, 2017.

“Exception v. License,” speaker for The Fog is Lifting (ABC Copyright Conference 2016), hosted by Council of Atlantic University Libraries, Halifax, May 26-27, 2016.

I had the pleasure of being accepted to, and completing, CopyrightX in spring 2014. Professor Fisher, Harvard Law School, the Berkman Center and teaching fellow H. Corinne Smith, have set an impressive example of what online learning can be.

Seeking the Margins, Fair Use and Copyright, Harold Innis and Israel,” in eds. Doagoo et al, Intellectual Property for the 21st Century: Interdisciplinary Approaches (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2014) Chapter 14 (p.310-326).

Awarded an Azrieli Postdoctoral International Fellowship for 2012-13. Gratitude is owed to the Azrieli Foundation for supporting my work, Professor Menahem Blondheim of Hebrew University for his interest in my coupling of Harold Innis and Israeli copyright development, and Professor Brian Lewis for invaluable guidance that began with my graduate studies and continued long after.

“Canada and Israel – Similarities and Differences in Modern Copyright Exceptions,” speaker for Canada and Israel in a Changing World: New Trends and Directions, hosted by Hebrew University of Jerusalem, May 20-22, 2013.

“Fairness of Use: Different Journeys,” in ed. Michael Geist, The Copyright Pentalogy — How the Supreme Court of Canada Shook the Foundations of Canadian Copyright Law (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2013) p.235-269.

The System of Copyright,” in ed. Leslie Regan Shade, Mediascapes: New Patterns in Canadian Communication (Toronto: Nelson Education Ltd., 2014-published in 2013) p.321-340.

Invited speaker for Out of the Shadows, hosted by the BC Librarians Association, 2 November 2011. [A repeat performance given by request for the BCLA 2012 annual conference.] My remarks concerned the role of Access Copyright in educational licensing. See here for details.

“Fair Dealing at a Crossroads,” in ed. Michael Geist, From “Radical Extremism” to “Balanced Copyright”: Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2010) p.90-120.

“Copyright and Ethics – An Innisian Exploration,” in Global Media Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1, November 2009, p.23-39.

“A Faustian Bargain, Copyright Retold,” keynote speaker for Interrogation Techniques: Law, Texts, Culture, hosted by the Department of English, Simon Fraser University, May 29, 2009.

“The Copyright Act of 1889 – A Canadian Declaration of Independence,” in The Canadian Historical Review, Vol. 90, Issue 1, March 2009. p.1-28. Nominated for the 2010 Peter Oliver Prize of The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History.

Finally, courtesy of Chris Hadfield, my most-viewed blog post: gratitude would have been better


And what do I do?

I am the Copyright Officer for the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).