Good afternoon. Bonjour. My name is Glen Bloom, and I'm a partner in the law firm of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt. I appear today on behalf of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada, IPIC.
It's a pleasure for me to be here today on behalf of IPIC. Thank you for inviting us.
IPIC is the association of intellectual property law professionals. Our membership totals over 1,700 individuals, consisting of practitioners in law firms and agencies of all sizes, corporations, government, and educational institutions. I am the chair of IPIC's copyright legislation technical committee and appear today in that capacity.
To explain the purpose of my presentation, I first need to give you some background about our committee.
The technical committee is composed of experts in copyright. We practise law in private practice, with the exception of Ms. Gendreau, a committee member who is an academic. We represent clients across the spectrum on all sides of the policy debates. The committee takes no position, however, on the policy decisions behind Bill C-32.
Members of our committee have extensive experience in the practice of copyright law and by virtue of that experience have a good understanding of how the Copyright Act works and how amendments could affect both rights holders and users. We therefore bring a different perspective to the specific language utilized in Bill C-32 from the government officials, who address policy choices, and the legislative drafters, who, although experts in drafting legislation, may not have expertise in copyright law and its application in practice.
Our committee has examined the technical issues arising from the amendment to the Copyright Act. By technical issues, I mean the actual wording of Bill C-32. Our goal is to assist the government to ensure that the wording of the bill achieves the government's policy intent and avoids unanticipated consequences. We make suggestions to clarify the proposed amendments to ensure the English and French language texts are aligned to achieve internal consistency in the Copyright Act and to point out possible consequences of proposed amendments, which may not have been intended.
We have prepared a detailed submission addressing technical issues in Bill C-32. A copy of the table of contents showing the breadth of our comments has been handed to you. IPIC will be forwarding the submission to government officials shortly. IPIC would be pleased to provide a copy of the submission to this parliamentary committee, if you wish.
I will provide you with two examples of our many technical comments.
First, subsection 13(2) of the Copyright Act currently provides special rules for the ownership of commissioned engravings, photographs, and portraits. Clause 7 of Bill C-32 repeals subsection 13(2). As a replacement for subsection 13(2), Bill C-32 will enact a new paragraph, proposed paragraph 32.2(1)(f). This new section will provide Canadians certain rights to the non-commercial use of commissioned photographs or portraits. There's no reference to engravings. Our committee questions whether this was an unintended omission and suggests that consideration be given to amending proposed paragraph 32.2(1)(f) to refer to “photographs, engravings, or portraits”.
The second example of our technical comments relates to treaty obligations. Our committee understands that the matter of the extent to which Bill C-32 implements the obligations established by the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty is considered to be a policy matter. However, this is not the case with respect to technological protection measures, or TPMs, which we understand are considered to be a technical matter. Consequently, the committee does not comment on treaty implementation, save in the context of TPMs. With respect to TPMs, we are of the view that Bill C-32 is compliant with the obligations in the WIPO treaties. We express no view as to whether a lower threshold of protection for TPMs or fewer legal remedies for the circumvention of TPMs would or would not also be compliant with the treaties.
You may ask why our committee wants to reduce the ambiguities of the legislation and therefore potential areas for litigation. IPIC and our committee strongly believe that in the area of copyright, as with other areas of intellectual property, everyone is better served by certainty. The less doubt there is regarding the scope and application of copyright, the better it is for creativity and for the dissemination and use of copyright works in Canada.
Thank you for listening to me.
I will now be pleased to answer your questions.