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History of Canada’s Copyright Legislation

1.Brief History of Canada’s Copyright Legislation (by Vandana Taxali/Entcounsel)


  • Copyright legislation provides a mechanism to ensure creators are compensated for use of their work in the marketplace and acknowledge the right of a copyright owner to control the use of their work.
  • Case law has held that the object and purpose of the Copyright Act is to benefit authors.


  • Our current Act is based on the British Act of 1911. It was enacted in Canada in 1924, effective January 1, 1924.


  • The principal amendments occurred in 1988 and 1997 known as Phase One and Phase Two respectively.


  • The Act received its first major amendment in 1988 during Phase One Copyright Reform which established the use of copyright collectives and the formation of the Copyright Board (also moral rights, three-dimensional reproduction, computer programs).


  • Phase Two brought on the second wave of amendments which were implemented in Bill C-32. Bill C-32 was assented to on April 25, 1997, and introduced provisions relating to new remedies and new library exceptions which will be discussed later.  All of the provisions of Bill C-32 are now in effect.


  • Phase Three will address issues raised by new technologies and the new communications environment including the Information Highway.

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