Canada’s copyright reform process took a significant step forward this week as the House of Commons passed Bill C-11, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act (also referred to as the Copyright Modernization Act). After passing the Bill on Monday evening with 158 votes, the House promptly sent it to the Senate for consideration. Interestingly, the Senate sat late into the night to give C-11 an immediate first review (known as First Reading) and ordered that it undergo Second Reading today.
While it is difficult to predict with certainty exactly when the Bill will become law, its passage yesterday by the House and the swift actions by the Senate suggest that the remaining steps of the legislative process should move very quickly. Once the Bill receives Second Reading, it will be referred to the Senate Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee for further review. However, it is not clear whether the Committee will entertain material amendments to the Bill. Current indications suggest that the Bill is likely to receive Third Reading and be passed before the Senate rises for the summer recess on June 29. If so, Bill C-11 could have Royal Assent before the end of the month and come into force shortly thereafter.
The passage of Bill C-11 by the House is an important milestone in a process intended to bring Canada’s Copyright Act, which has not been significantly updated since 1997, into compliance with international standards and treaties. Among other things, the Bill would introduce a “making available” right for works, performances and sound recordings, new remedies against services that enable online copyright infringement online, and new prohibitions on the circumvention of technological protection measures. It would also expand the existing fair dealing exception to include parody, satire and education and create new exceptions for uses ranging from reproduction for private purposes to the non-commercial creation and dissemination of user-generated content.