Over the summer, I posted a quick story about the need for historians to take part in the Canadian copyright reform consultations. The Canadian Historical Association did just this with an excellent submission to Industry Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage that outlined many of the main concerns for Canadian historians. These included concerns over historic photographs, orphan works, Crown copyright, fair dealing, and digital locks. Historians should read the full PDF copy of the CHA submission to the copyright consultations.
The copyright consultations were an important step toward reforming copyright law in Canada in an open, transparent manner. This was a deliberate response to the government’s failed attempt to introduce new copyright legislation without any public consultation. Unfortunately, it turns out that this may have all been in vain.
The Canadian government has been involved in closed-door international negotiations over the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a new intellectual property enforcement treaty. The provisions of this new treaty may override any decisions to come out of the copyright consultations.
Needless to say, we need to know more about ACTA. Copyright law can play an important role in scholarly knowledge mobilization as either an enabler or an obstacle. If ACTA is going to introduce significant changes to domestic copyright law in Canada, then historians need to find out more about this recently leaked secret agreement.
You can find out more about the origins of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement from Professor Michael Geist below:
You can also listen to Professor Geist’s interview on CBC’s As It Happens.
Read more about ACTA on the Electronic Frontier Foundation website here.