Book cover of a Canadian Copyright: A Citizen's Guide


Canadian Copyright: A Citizen's Guide

CAUT Bulletin  

Laura Murray is an Associate Professor in the English Department of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, and creator of the website


Samuel Trosow is an Associate Professor at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. He is jointly appointed in the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Information and Media Studies.

Recent Decisions

Upcoming Talks PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 October 2009


I will be giving several talks on copyright issues in the next few weeks in London, Calgary and Toronto:



Sunday, October 18th, 3pm

UWO, North Campus Bldg, Room 114

The copyright policy paradox: Overcoming competing agendas within the digital labour movement.

 Panel 6(b), Digital Labour: Workers, Authors Citizens Conference (full conference program)

Toronto: Tuesday, October 20th 3pm
Gerstein Science Information Centre (9 King’s College Circle), Alice Moulton Room (2nd Floor)
Copyright: Retaining and Sharing Rights to Your Scholarship

University of Toronto Libraries, Open Access Week

Calgary: Wednesday, October 21st, 7:30 pm
Carraige House Inn, Calgary Alberta

Hot Copy: Perspectives on Canadian Copyright

The Alberta Library, Netspeed Conference,Opening Plenary Session


Ottawa: Thursday, October 22nd, 6:00 pm

The Code Factory, 246 Queen Street

(Between Bank & Kent, second floor)

Applying Privacy by Design Concepts to Copyright Policy

sponsored  capCHI (Computer-Human Interaction in the Ottawa Area)


London: Wednesday, November 4th,  2 pm

UWO Natural Science Centre, Room NS1

The Copyright Debate: Finding the Right Balance for Teaching, Research and Cultural Expression

sponsored by the University of Western Ontario Libraries

NOTE: This talk will be postponed in the event of a Librarians-Archivist Strike or Lockout

Abstracts. . . 



The Copyright Policy Paradox: Overcoming Competing Agendas within the Digital Labour Movement.

This paper discussed the varying and often disparate approaches that different associations representing intellectual and creative labourers have taken to copyright policy. The contemporary copyright policy arena is in a state of transition as policymakers attempt to grapple with the often unsettling effects that technological, cultural and economic changes have had on established business models in the entertainment and publishing industries and how these changes affect the creators themselves.

Copyright policies are important to intellectual labourers as it sets the framework for their rights and obligations with respect to not only the works and performances they create, but also the intellectual goods they utilize in their own production processes. The relationship of the creator to the fruits of their labour is increasingly tenuous, and is inconsistent in different settings. In many situations, the rights with respect to the intellectual good is alienated from the creator at the outset, in others it is subsequently assigned away; and in others, the rights are retained by the labourer.

Using the submissions to the recently completed copyright consultations held by the federal government as well as other policy documents, attention will be focused on the differences in approach to copyright issues.


that have been taken by different segments of the intellectual labour community.  In addition to asking what accounts for these disparities, the issue of how to build solidarity between different segments of labour on this contested issue will be considered.


Copyright: Retaining and Sharing Rights to Your Scholarship

This program will assist faculty, librarians and students in retaining copyright ownership in the articles they publish in journals. By transferring their copyright to publishers, authors can lose control of their own work and may be subject to restrictions in its future use.

In order to publish an article, a journal only needs to obtain permission from the author. Yet, they typically ask for much more, the assignment of the full copyright interest. The Copyright Act gives several rights to the creators of artistic, dramatic, musical and literary works (including journal articles). These rights are transferable and are often assigned to publishers. In addition to the problems these transfers may create for owners, libraries find their limited budgets increasingly challenged by the high costs of serial subscriptions.

Professor Samuel Trosow will provide a brief overview of the Canadian Copyright Act and then focus on the rules concerning first ownership and transfer of copyright in the academic setting, as well as suggestions for dealing with publishers. Given the emergence of various open access options in the digital environment, students, faculty and librarians need to better understand these issues. To promote scholarly communication, autonomy, integrity and academic freedom, and education and research activities more generally, it is important for academic staff to retain copyright in their journal articles.


Hot Copy: Perspectives on Canadian Copyright

Copyright is an ongoing and important issue for libraries and library staff, and it is a topic that has moved to the forefront of our consciousness and experience in recent months. The Government of Canada has been conducting a cross-country tour to hear what shape individuals, as well as organizations, think new copyright legislation should take.

Please join us for a lively discussion about copyright in Canada, featuring Samuel Trosow, Associate Professor in the faculties of Law and Information Studies at the University of Western Ontario, and Glenn Rollans, Publisher and Publishing Consultant.

The speakers will examine the issues surrounding fair dealing, format shifting, and other concerns of various parties in this ongoing debate, the results of which will have lasting implications for libraries and librarians.

Applying Privacy by Design Concepts to Copyright Policy

There is a growing convergence in the areas of copyright and privacy policies and it is becoming problematic to think of these two distinct fields in isolation. This discussion will focus on the intersection of copyright and privacy issues in the context of the recent consultations to amend Canada’s Copyright Act and how the concepts of /Privacy by Design/ might be applied to public policy as well as design concepts in the private sector.

In the area of privacy policies, there has been recent interest about extending privacy concerns to the level of design of technological systems. /Privacy by Design/ is a concept that is now being IT systems; business practices; physical design and infrastructure. Yet these principles may be also be fruitfully applied to the /design/ of public policies as well.

The recent round of submissions in the government’s copyright consultations, as well as many of the concerns raised about the provisions of Bill C-61, demonstrate that there are many outstanding copyright policy issues which directly implicate privacy interests including digital rights management, technological protection measures, the anti-circumvention rules and Internet Service Provider liability rules.


The Copyright Debate: Finding the Right Balance for Teaching, Research and Cultural Expression

Copyright issues are becoming increasingly important on university campuses as the debate over the future of copyright policy intensifies. On one side are advocates of more restrictions on copyrighted material to protect the proprietary interests of rights-owners. On the other side are those who want to ensure broader access and use for teaching, learning, research and cultural expression. The intensity of the controversy has only been sharpened by new digital information technologies which facilitate new forms of creativity but also threaten existing business models in the publishing and entertainment industries. Students, faculty and librarians are crucial participants in this debate as they are both creators of new copyrighted works as well as users of the works of others. Teaching, learning, research and cultural production depend on having policies that strike the right balance between the rights of creators, owners and users of copyrighted works.

This presentation will provide a brief overview of Canadian Copyright law, consider how it is practised on university campuses, and ask how the appropriate balance can be struck that will adequately protect creators while not becoming an impediment to teaching, learning, research and cultural expression.



UGC Report

I am an Associate Professor at the University of Western Ontario jointly appointed to the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Information and Media Studies (FIMS).


Before coming to Western, I was a law librarian at the Boalt Hall Law Library at the University of California at Berkeley and before that I was in private law practice in California. My doctoral work in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA focused on information policy issues.


I am currently a Network Investigator and Theme Leader with the GRAND NCE and also serve on the Librarians Committee of the  Canadian Association of University Teachers.

Scholarship @ Western

Western's Open Access Portal


Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda




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