Tag Archives: copyright

Something I didn’t know before…

Interesting note about copyright in Canada (and the US, wording is different).  I didn’t know this before – I automatically assumed that the creator of a work was the first owner of the work.  However, this is different when the work is a “work made for hire”.  Here is the relevent tidbit.

Section 13(2) of the Canadian Copyright Act states that the copyright owner is the one who commissions and pays for the �engraving, photograph or portrait. In other words, provided a client or buyer commissions the production of a photograph and pays for such a work, the client/buyer automatically holds the copyright on the photograph and/or �engraving – not the photographer or person who created the �engraving – unless the buyer and photographer/creator have an agreement to the contrary.


So.  If you hire a photographer, unless you sign an agreement to the contrary, you automatically own the copyright on the photos taken as soon as you fnish paying for them.



As Seen on Slashdot, 2.

Slashdot (News for Nerds) has an article pointing towards another article (don’t you love the day and age of the news blog?) about “Fair Use of commercial video and music as raw material for new creations.

I havn’t read “TFA”(The F*cking Article, for those who don’t read slashdot in their spare time) I have gone and read TFA, and it’s … ok.  The best part of the article  may (like slashdot) be in the comments, some of which are very well written and communicated, bringing up interesting issues.

Reading through the comments at slashdot I did find one particular gem – an explanation by the user Curunir that is a great example of what “copyright” actually is, and who/what it is meant to protect. Comment below, because I felt like sharing.

“One thing I found interesting about the article is that the entertainment lawyer makes one good point while trying to make a point that is almost the opposite.

From the article:

But, as a technical legal matter, fair use is not a “right,” a misconception and misstatement frequently made these days.

While his point is that fair use is more of a privilege than a right, I think there’s a much different interpretation of what he’s saying that is important to consider.

He’s absolutely correct that fair use isn’t a right, it’s an exception. But it’s an exception to the rights of the copyright holder. And this distinction is important because it underscores how entertainment companies misrepresent copyright. Rather than copyright defining the few excepted uses allowed to people/entities who don’t hold the copyright, it actually defines the few rights granted exclusively to the copyright holder.

And this is an important observation about the intent of copyright. Namely, that anything not explicitly granted to the copyright holder is permissible rather than forbidden. The big content producers would like copyright to be a limited set of things that we (those not producing the content) are allowed to do with their content, which they believe they own. But when defending our rights, it’s important to remember that copyright is actually a limited set of things that we’re not allowed to do and that content cannot be owned, only protected. And this is the principle that should be applied whenever something falls outside of what is explicitly stated in the Copyright Act…that everything not covered is allowed rather than forbidden.”

Canuck DMCA, Dead or just biding it’s time?

Canadian copyright law is something I feel very strongly about. Yes, I personally have been guilty of downloading movies or videogames. I’m not perfect. However, I don’t support a policy which places those who would violate someone’s copyright above the holder of the copyright. (This is an issue Sami and I are not in 100% agreement on. I do think we agree on the basics though – that copyright holders have certain rights, they should be protected, and too draconian laws could be bad – it is a matter of degrees. She’ll speak up if I’m entirely incorrect.)

I do support fair and balanced copyright reform. Copyright reform in the works should give people exclusive control over their works for a time, and when that time expires have their work become part of the public domain.

Fair and balanced copyright reform would give copyright holders the ability to seek compensation for loss of profits when their intellectual property is violated.

What fair and balanced copyright reform should not do is place undo restrictions on consumers. For example, we should be able to device shift. We should be able to time shift. We should be able to parody a copyrighted work.

These are rights that are being considered for removal from future copyright reform being proposed by the Hon. Ministers Jim Prentice and Jose Verner.

This may seem like greek to some, but let me illustrate what I think is one of the worst ideas in the proposed reform – the lack of device shifting.

Device shifting is when you take copyrighted material that you have purchased, and move it to another device. For example, you buy a CD. You take the CD home and rip a copy of it to play on your iPod. This would be illegal under the proposed reform. Is this sane?

Sure it is – if you’re a major media label. You’d rather someone buys your CD, then goes home, attempts to put it on their iPod and finds out they can’t. They then have to go onto iTMS (iTunes Music Store) and purchase a second copy for their iPod. Royalties twice, for the same content.

Of course, I’m sure many industries would have liked to have the ear of Mr. Prentice. If I were a horse and buggy manufacturer when the automobile was invented I’d have loved it if I could have bought legislation in Canada which would make it illegal for people to drive automobiles on the roadways. Or if I were a producer of coal-oil, I’d have loved it if electric light bulbs were outlawed.

It is not the place of the government to protect a failing business model.

/end rant. (though I may write more about this in the next little while.

If you want to know more about this, here are a few places to start.

Michael Geist’s Blog – Michael Geist is a Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa. He is an expert on international copyright.

Facebook Fair Copyright for Canada Group – A group dedicated to discussion of fair copyright reform in Canada.

CBC’s Search Engine article.

The Globe and Mail’s article, New copyright law starts Web storm.