On 13 May 2014, the Canadian Government ratified two internet copyright treaties administered by the World Intellectual Property Office: (i) the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and (ii) the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT). These treaties will come into force in Canada on 13 August 2014 and will bring into effect certain outstanding provisions in the Copyright Modernization Act (CMA) relating to reciprocal copyright protection for members of the respective treaty countries.
The WCT and WPPT were designed to modernize and improve the protection of already existing copyright treaties by creating new standards for today's digital environment. The WCT protects literary and artistic works, whereas the WPPT generally protects performers and producers of sound recordings. Canada signed an intent to ratify these treaties in 1997 but only recently performed its copyright legislation, through the CMA, to implement the necessary protections under the treaties. Most provisions of the CMA came into force on 7 November 2012, and the few provisions that were tied to the completion of the ratification process will enter into the force in August with the treaties. The provisions which are soon to be enacted generally extend copyright protection to performers and makers of sound recordings who are citizens or residents of WPPT countries or, if a corporation, are headquartered in a WPPT country. They also extend protection to authors in WCT countries in the case of original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works.
Once the treaties are in effect, the only remaining provisions in the CMA that will not be in force are the notice-and-notice provisions. These provisions would have required internet service providers to forward notices of claimed infringement from rights holders to their subscribers alleged to be infringing copyright. The government delayed the implementation of these provisions to further consider the regulatory process and to date, has not provided any indication when we may expect them to be implemented.