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When in Rome ... Amending Canada's Copyright Act

  • Michael Rushton
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    Bill C-32, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act, received royal assent on 25 April 1997. This was known as "Phase II" of copyright reform, "Phase I" having been enacted in 1988. Along with a number of technical amendments, there are four substantial changes to copyright law in the bill: a clarification of exemptions for non-profit institutions such as universities and libraries; stronger rules against "parallel importation" of books; a levy on blank audio tapes, with proceeds to go to copyright collectives; and "neighbouring rights" for sound performers and their producers. There are two distinct ways of thinking about copyright law. One focuses on the natural rights of creators to the income generated by their works. The other focuses on the economic problem of designing a copyright regime which maximizes social welfare. The author suggests that while both views of copyright have been put forward in Canada throughout the debate over reform, the natural rights view had more influence on the design of Bill C-32 than the economic view.

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    Article provided by University of Toronto Press in its journal Canadian Public Policy.

    Volume (Year): 23 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 3 (September)
    Pages: 317-330

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    Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:23:y:1997:i:3:p:317-330
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    1. Douglas A. Smith, 1988. "Recent Proposals for Copyright Revision: An Evaluation," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 14(2), pages 175-185, June.
    2. Novos, Ian E & Waldman, Michael, 1984. "The Effects of Increased Copyright Protection: An Analytic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(2), pages 236-46, April.
    3. Hovenkamp, Herbert, 1995. "Law and Economics in the United States: A Brief Historical Survey," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 331-52, April.
    4. Dam, Kenneth W, 1995. "Some Economic Considerations in the Intellectual Property Protection of Software," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 321-77, June.
    5. Posner, Richard A, 1992. "When Is Parody Fair Use?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 67-78, January.
    6. Koboldt, Christian, 1995. "Intellectual Property and Optimal Copyright Protection," CSLE Discussion Paper Series 95-01, Saarland University, CSLE - Center for the Study of Law and Economics.
    7. Stanley M. Besen & Leo J. Raskind, 1991. "An Introduction to the Law and Economics of Intellectual Property," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 3-27, Winter.
    8. Johnson, William R, 1985. "The Economics of Copying," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(1), pages 158-74, February.
    9. Besen, Stanley M & Kirby, Sheila Nataraj, 1989. "Private Copying, Appropriability, and Optimal Copying Royalties," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(2), pages 255-80, October.
    10. Landes, William M & Posner, Richard A, 1987. "Trademark Law: An Economic Perspective," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 265-309, October.
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