Trosow appears before Commons Committee on Copyright

February 29, 2012

Professor Samuel Trosow, who holds a joint appointment in the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Information & Media Studies, appeared before the House of Commons Special Committee on Bill C-11 on February 27th to present testimony to the Committee on the copyright revision bill.

After passage of second reading, Bill C-11 was referred to this committee for additional hearings. Prior to the last federal election, a similar committee held extensive hearings on Bill C-32, which is identical to Bill C-11.

At the committee hearing, Trosow focused his comments on the provision in the bill which would add "education" to the list of fair dealing categories in section 29 of the Act. This amendment is strongly supported by the library and educational community but is similarly opposed by Access Copyright and other publishing industry interests. Trosow says that while there are fundamental flaws with the digital lock provisions in the bill, it is otherwise well balanced and represents a reasonable compromise.

Trosow argued that adding the word "education" to the fair dealing categories was a sensible move that would clarify the meaning of fair dealing and provide necessary assurances to educators and students. He dismissed claims that the amendment was being sought by educational institutions primarily to avoid payment for copyrighted resources, pointing to the massive expenditures by Canadian libraries for acquisitions and licenses as well to the direct expenditures by students in bookstores. He also rebutted publishers' claims that the addition of "education" to fair dealing would result in massive unfair copying because even if the fair dealing categories are expanded, individual uses still have to be fair under the six-part test adopted by the Supreme Court of Canada in CCH v Law Society of Upper Canada. He suggested that these criteria be codified in the Copyright Act for additional clarity.

Professor Trosow had previously participated in a Consultation Roundtable chaired by the Industry Minister in 2009 in Toronto and his initial submission to the government's consultation on copyright revision was selected for republication in the Osgoode Hall Review of Law and Policy (Nov 2009). He is the co-author of Canadian Copyright: A Citizen's Guide (with Laura Murray, Between the Lines, 2007) for which a second edition is now being prepared. He maintains a blog at where he comments on copyright and related information policy issues.

Read Prof. Trosow's submission to the government's 2009 Copyright Consultation

View webcast of the 27th Committee Hearing (select webcast logo for Meeting 3, Trosow's presentation begins at about 11:40)