Copyright bill restricts user rights, research and innovation

OTTAWA, June 2 /CNW Telbec/ - The group representing Canada's university and college teachers says the federal government's latest copyright bill will unduly restrict the rights of students, teachers, researchers and all Canadians.

"We are deeply disappointed that despite the clear message delivered during the copyright consultations, the Harper government has instead caved in to the demands of the American entertainment industry and is unduly limiting the rights of Canadians to access information and entertainment," said David Robinson, associate executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

During the consultations, CAUT and many other participants emphasized that fair dealing - the right to reproduce copyrighted work without permission or payment in certain circumstances such as research, private study, criticism, review or news reporting - needed to be expanded and protected in the digital age.

"The government needed to table legislation consistent with a 2004 Supreme Court Ruling that urged a flexible and expansive understanding of the rights of users of copyright material," stated Robinson. "Instead, today's bill proposes only specific exceptions - including for education and research - that are in fact undermined by other provisions in the legislation." For example, the bill prohibits the circumvention of digital encryption - any device or technology that prevents copying. This means material that is in a paper format and can be legally copied now under fair dealing, cannot be copied for any reason, including educational or research purposes, if it is in electronic format and digitally encrypted.

"To put it bluntly, the legislation presented today will make it even more difficult for university and college teachers and students to have access to and use copyrighted materials for teaching and learning," said Robinson. "By imposing a blanket provision against all circumvention, the government will lock down a vast amount of digital material, effectively preventing its use for research, education and innovation, and curtailing the user rights of Canadians."

CAUT is the national voice of more than 65,000 academic and general staff at 122 universities and colleges across Canada.

SOURCE Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)

For further information: For further information: David Robinson on cell (613) 282-2451

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Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)

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