Several copyright and licensing stories of interest have captured our attention during recent months.

  • The Supreme Court of Canada issued its decision on July 30th in the long running case of York University v. Access Copyright. The RRO in English-speaking Canada had sought to enforce a Copyright Board tariff against the University for its unauthorized distribution of copies of copyrighted materials to students, and the University had defended primarily on the basis of “fair dealing.”  Both parties in the dispute had appealed against a previous judgement at the intermediate-court level, when the tariff had been held unenforceable against a university —but at the same time, the University’s fair dealing defense had also been rejected. (If that sounds complicated, it is because it is.)
    In a press release issued after the Supreme Court judgement, Access Copyright noted that the decision creates an unacceptable result for rightsholders in the academic space – infringement has been proved but the Court left no reasonable way for rightsholders to obtain a remedy for the infringement. Both Access Copyright and the RRO in French-speaking Canada, Copibec, have expressed support in the wake of the judgement for the Court’s invitation to rightsholders to seek a legislative remedy from the Canadian Parliament.
  • We have been watching legislative developments in South Africa for many years and continue to do so. South Africa’s president sent the controversial copyright legislation back to Parliament for re-consideration more than a year ago. A process of public consultation was set up to address the issues raised by the president. Numerous pro-copyright stakeholders, both inside and outside, contributed written and oral submissions as part of that process. The Department of Trade and Industry had been expected to release its findings in October, but this has been delayed by municipal elections. Parliament will return on November 1st and shortly after we should hear further news about the fate of the legislation.
  • Back in the spring, we reported on the long-running efforts to reform copyright law in Singapore. Work that started back in 2016 with a public consultation exercise appears to have reached its close with the news that the Parliament approved amendments on September 13th that are expected to be enacted into law this November. One of the most high-profile changes in the new law is a copyright exception for text and data mining (TDM). Unlike in many other jurisdictions, Singapore has chosen to extend the exception even to commercial TDM applications and with no limitations on the purposes for which the TDM is carried out, although the statute does require that the content used in this way come from a lawfully accessed source.
  • In India, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce released its Review of the Intellectual Property Rights Regime to the Indian Parliament on July 23rd. The report made a series of recommendations for change to the country’s IP laws and regulations. These include suggested changes to the Copyright Act of 1957, especially to sections 31D, 51, and 52 relating to copyright exceptions for literary works. The recommendations are being studied closely by various industry associations, including the AAP and IFRRO.
  • In July, the competition authority in France fined Google 55 million euros for not complying with interim measures in the ongoing neighbouring rights case. Also in France, it was announced on 17 June that the Fédération Nationale de la Presse D’information Spécialisée (FNPS) and the Syndicat de la Presse D’information Indépendante en Ligne (SPIIL) had joined the initiative of the Syndicat des Editeurs de la Presse Magazine (SEPM) to create a dedicated collective management organisation with the support of Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique (SACEM).

CCC continues as always to monitor developments in international markets of interest to rightsholders and welcomes feedback from our readers.

Author: Michael Healy

Michael Healy is the Executive Director, Rightsholder and International Relations, at CCC. Michael has worked in the publishing and information industry for more than 35 years and has spent most of that time in senior editorial, sales, and distribution roles. He has been closely involved in the development of standards for the international publishing industry and is especially associated with standards for metadata, product information, and persistent identifiers. Michael has led many international standards groups, was Chairman of the International ISBN Agency, a Director of the International DOI Foundation, and led the international ISO committee that developed ISBN-13. He is currently Chairman of the Board of The International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) and a board member of EDITEUR, the international publishing standards body.
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