Canadian Federation of Students

Canadian Federation of Students

June 12, 2008 13:34 ET

Students Condemn U.S.-Style Copyright Legislation

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 12, 2008) - The new copyright bill introduced this morning by federal Industry Minister Jim Prentice will make it harder for students to get access to copyrighted material for study and artistic creation, says the Canadian Federation of Students.

"Innovation happens when creators build on existing work and practices. Choking off fair access to works only stifles the creative process and criminalizes average users," said Ben Lewis, a spokesperson for the Canadian Federation of Students.

Students were also disappointed that the bill was tabled this summer without any public consultation, leaving the post-secondary education community to wonder if feedback is welcome. It is widely speculated that Minister Prentice was under intense pressure from large American multi-national content distributors to make Canadian copyright law mirror that of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The draft legislation bears a strong resemblance to the American DMCA by introducing a prohibition on the circumvention of technological protection measures (TPMs).

The education sector has warned that by choking off access, overly restrictive copyright paves the way to higher access fees paid by institutions, and ultimately students. "This legislation comes to the rescue of large American distributors, but saddles Canadian students and their families with higher user fees," said Lewis.

The proposed legislation failed to expand "fair dealing", the good faith and limited use of copyrighted works recently validated by the Supreme Court of Canada. Instead, the new bill outlines needlessly complex exceptions to access, use, and share material that will not help average Canadians make legitimate use of copyrighted works.

"Students need an expanded definition of fair dealing in the Copyright Act, not the impossibly restrictive exemptions tabled today," said Lewis.

The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest national students' organisation. It is composed of more than 80 university and college students' associations with a combined membership of over one-half million students.

Contact Information

  • Ben Lewis, Spokesperson
    613-232-7394 ext. 16
    Ian Boyko, Government Relations Coordinator
    613-232-7394 ext. 22