Bill C-11: The Copyright Modernization Act

Bill C-11* received Royal Assent on June 29, 2012, and most of its provisions were brought into force on November 7, 2012. All remaining sections were brought into force by January 2, 2015.

The new legislation introduces changes to the Copyright Act that are broad and far reaching for educational institutions, faculty, staff and students.

Bill C-11 broadens the scope of the fair dealing exception to specifically include education, in addition to research, private study, criticism and review. Fair dealing for the purposes of education does not currently require attribution of the source and author.

Bill C-11 also significantly expands the educational exceptions available to UBC as follows:

  • an educational institution or a person acting under its authority for the purposes of education or training on its premises may reproduce a work, or do any other necessary act, in order to display it
  • an educational institution or a person acting under its authority for the purposes of education or training on its premises may reproduce, communicate by telecommunication and perform for students, works that are available on the Internet, subject to various conditions
  • communication of lessons by telecommunication and distance learning, and recording of such lessons is permitted, subject to various conditions
  • libraries can make a copy of a work in its permanent collection in alternate format if the original format is obsolete,
  • electronic desktop delivery of library materials to its patrons (for interlibrary loan purposes) will be permitted under certain circumstances

Overall, there is greater flexibility for UBC faculty to rely on the educational exceptions to reproduce and display works within the university environment.

* Please note: Bill C-11 amends the existing provisions of the Copyright Act.  Within a few weeks, the changes to the Copyright Act that are now in force will be reflected in the online version of the Copyright Act published by Justice Canada.  For easy reference, this page refers to Bill C-11, but it should be understood that what we mean by “Bill C-11” is the Copyright Act, as amended by Bill C-11.
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Summary of the Changes

1. Key Changes for Educational Institutions

(a) Fair Dealing Exception

The fair dealing exception includes three new purposes: education, parody or satire.  This expands the existing exceptions: research and private study, criticism, review and news reporting.  Copying under the fair dealing exception is subject to the Fair Dealing Requirements for UBC Faculty and Staff.

Copies of works may be made for backup purposes, in cases where the legally obtained source copy is lost, damaged or otherwise rendered unusable.  This exception does not apply to works protected by “digital locks” (see discussion below), and the backup copy may not be given away.

(b) Expanded Educational Exceptions

(i)  An educational institution or a person acting under its authority, for education or training purposes on its premises, can:

  • reproduce a work, or do any other necessary act, in order to display it (unless the work is commercially available in the Canadian market within a reasonable time and for a reasonable price and may be located with reasonable effort, in a medium that is appropriate for education or training purposes);
  • perform a film or other cinematographic work in the classroom, as long as such work is not an infringing copy and was legally obtained; and
  • reproduce, communicate by telecommunication and perform for students, legitimately posted works that are available through the Internet, provided that the source and author are attributed, unless:
    • the works are protected by “digital locks”;
    • a clearly visible notice (and not merely the copyright symbol alone) prohibiting such act is posted on the website or on the work itself; or
    • the educational institution knows or should have known that the works are available on the Internet in violation of the copyright owner’s rights.

(ii) Educational institutions using news and commentary under the educational exception do not have to pay royalties, destroy copies of news or commentary programs after one year, or keep records of the copies made of news or commentary programs.

(c) Lessons by Telecommunications

An educational institution or a person acting under its authority for the purposes of education or training may communicate lessons (including tests or exams) via telecommunication and distance learning to students enrolled in the course and record such lessons.  The student can also make a copy of such telecommunicated lesson to be viewed or listened to at a later time, provided that:

  • the student and the institution must destroy the recording or copy within 30 days after receipt by students of their final course evaluations;
  • the institution must take measures (e.g. installing digital locks) to limit the audience to students only, and to protect the lesson itself

It is important to note that the recordings cannot be sold or distributed widely (beyond the audience of students enrolled in the class).

(d) Expanded Exceptions for Libraries, Archives and Museums

Libraries, archives and museums are able to:

  • make a copy of a work in its permanent collection in an alternative format if the original is in a format that is obsolete or the technology required to use the original is unavailable or is becoming unavailable.
  • distribute materials digitally; provided that they take measures to ensure that the patron prints one copy only of the digital form, does not communicate the copy to another person and does not use the digital copy for more than 5 business days of first using it.  There is a similar allowance for unpublished works deposited in archives.

(e) Reduced Statutory Damages for Non-Commercial Infringements

Statutory damages for copyright infringements with non-commercial purposes have been reduced from the current $500 to $20,000 per work infringed, to $100 to $5,000 for all infringements in a single proceeding for all works (not for each work infringed). The current range continues to apply to cases of infringement for commercial purposes only.

(f) Digital Locks

“Technological protection measure” (also known as “digital locks”) are defined under two categories:

  • any effective technology, device or component that controls access to a work (“access control”), and
  • any effective technology, device or component that restricts one from exercising the exclusive rights of a copyright owner or remuneration rights, i.e. that control the reproduction or copying of a work (“copying control”).

Bill C-11 prohibits the circumvention of any access control installed on a work, performer’s performance fixed in a sound recording or a sound recording, even if the work subject to the digital lock is legally acquired.

The digital lock prohibitions in the Act could potentially “trump” or prevail over various exceptions in the Copyright Act, e.g. the fair dealing or educational exceptions.

(g) Internet Service Provider Liability

Providers of Internet or network services are not liable for copyright infringement, to the extent that they are only acting as intermediaries with respect to communication, caching, hosting activities.  This does not apply if:

  • it is the provider (via the Internet or other digital network) of a service that a person knows or should have known is designed primarily to enable acts of copyright infringement, if actual infringement results (intended to target illegal peer to peer file – sharing or music sharing sites); or
  • if a web host knows from a court decision that the stored material infringes copyright.

(h) Notice and Notice

The “Notice and Notice” provisions of Bill C-11 were brought into force on January 2, 2015. “Notice and Notice” is a colloquial name for these provisions, which allow content owners to indirectly communicate with those who have allegedly infringed the content owner’s copyright.
As background, it is necessary to know a few facts about digital networks:

  • Content owners may monitor the internet and identify the IP address that is associated with an act of copying (e.g. downloading a file);
  • The content owner cannot identify the person associated with an IP address, they can only identify the digital network provider that is providing an IP address.
  • The digital network provider may have the capability of identifying the person associated with an IP address.

The Notice and Notice provisions operate as follows:

  • A content owner may choose to monitor websites where files are shared. They may learn that a particular IP address has been involved in copying their content.
  • If the content owner believes that that act of copying is an infringement of copyright, the content owner may choose to send an infringement notice to the digital network provider.
  • The Notice and Notice provisions require the digital network provider to:
    • Make efforts to identify the person associated with IP address listed in the infringement notice; and
    • Either:
      • If that person can be identified, to forward the infringement notice to that person and notify the content owner that the notice was forwarded; or
      • Notify the content owner that it was not possible forward the notice, and why.
  • The digital network provider must keep records for six months (or 12 months if court proceedings are launched).
  • If the digital network provider receives an infringement notice, but does not comply with the Notice and Notice provisions, the content owner may seek statutory damages against the digital network provider. The statutory damages are at least $5,000 and up to $10,000.

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2. Other Changes

(a) New Exclusive Rights

The following new exclusive rights have been added for the benefit of copyright owners:

  • A copyright owner now has explicit “first distribution rights”, i.e. for a tangible work, the exclusive rights to sell or otherwise transfer ownership of the work, as long as that ownership has never previously been transferred in or outside Canada, with the authorization of the copyright owner.  This extends to performers and makers of sound recordings, in the case of first sale or distribution of a tangible CD or DVD.
  • performers and makers of sound recordings also have the exclusive right to control the online transmission of sound recordings, i.e. to make a sound recording available to the public over the Internet in a way that allows a member of the public to have access to such sound recording from a place and time individually chosen by the member of the public.

(b) New Personal Use / Fair Dealing Exceptions

(i) Non-commercial User-generated Content (also known as the ‘mash-up exception’)

Section 29.21 creates a new exception for content generated by non-commercial uses to allow a consumer the right to use, for non-commercial purposes, a published work to create a new work.  This exception is subject to conditions (e.g. identification of the source and author, legality of the original work or the copy used, absence of a substantial adverse effect on the exploitation of the original work).  For example, a consumer could splice scenes from videos and movie trailers to create a fan-made trailer or video.

(ii) Reproduction for Private Purpose (aka the “format-shifting exception”)

Section 29.22 allows a consumer the right to reproduce, for a private purpose, any work or protected subject matter if the source copy was legally obtained (but not onto an “audio-recording medium”).  For example, a consumer could copy a song purchased from iTunes from his or her computer to his or her iPod.

This exception does not apply to the copy of a musical work made onto an “audio recording medium” as defined in section 79 of the Act or to works protected by digital locks.  Section 79 defines “audio recording medium as a recording medium, regardless of its material form, onto which a sound recording may be reproduced and that is of a kind ordinarily used by individual consumers for that purpose, excluding any prescribed kind of recording medium.”  Therefore, Bill C-11 does not allow reproductions for private use on CD-Rs and Mini-Discs.

(iii) Fixing Signals and Recording Programs for Later Listening or viewing (aka the “time-shifting exception”)

Section 29.23 allows an individual to make a fixation of a communication signal or reproduce a work, sound recording or performance being broadcast for the purpose of privately viewing the work at a later time, provided that the signal is received legally, only one recording is made, it is used for private purposes, and is not given away.  For example, an individual would record a show on his or her PVR to watch at a later time.  This exception does not apply to works or sound recordings accessed through an on-demand service, or to works protected by digital locks.

(c) New Computer Program Exceptions

There are some new exceptions to copyright infringement for developing interoperable computer programs, encryption research, security testing and technological processes.  These are aimed at the software industry to allow software reproduction for compatibility issues, software testing, security flaws and other uses common in the industry.
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4. Where can I find more information?

The Copyright Guidelines for UBC Faculty, Staff and Students provides a basic summary of copyright law, as well as guidance on best practices and information to help you understand what you can and cannot do with copyrighted works.

The Copyright Requirements for UBC Faculty and Staff sets out UBC’s requirements regarding copyright, that faculty members and staff must adhere to in order to comply with copyright laws.

The Fair Dealing Requirements for UBC Faculty and Staff provides direction to faculty members and staff as to how the Fair Dealing Exception applies to certain copying at UBC.

The Copyright FAQ provides answers and explanations for common scenarios involving copyright issues within classrooms and across campus.

If have any questions or concerns about your obligations after reviewing these documents, or wish to receive additional guidance, please contact