Canadian Copyright

Canadian Copyright

A Citizen’s Guide

Second edition

By Laura J. Murray and Samuel E. Trosow


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In the age of easily downloadable culture, messages about copyright are ubiquitous. If you’re an artist, consumer, or teacher, copyright is likely a part of your everyday life. Completely updated, this revised edition of Canadian Copyright parses the Copyright Act and explains current Canadian copyright law to ordinary Canadians in accessible language, using recent examples and legal cases.


Rapid technological change has completely altered the copyright landscape…[this new edition is] a welcome and accessible addition to support our understanding.

The Archivaria Journal

Murray and Trosow guide the reader through such murky waters with clarity, grace and good humour…should remain valuable for years to come.

– CAUT Bulletin

Laura Murray and Sam Trosow have written a timely, accessible, go-to guide on the complex and rapidly changing world of Canadian copyright. This book has something for everyone: a copyright reform history for those interested in how the law has evolved, an analysis of the law as it stands now in the aftermath of landmark decisions from Canada’s highest court and comprehensive legislative changes, and a practical look at what the law means to a myriad of people from musicians to journalists to educators.

– Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, University of Ottawa

As an artist who is actively seeking to broaden my reach, I frequently adopt new ways to connect with my audience online. Canadian Copyright: A Citizen’s Guide helped me understand how copyright works in Canada and how I can use it to protect my work and message as an artist.

– Sonny Assu, interdisciplinary artist, Montreal

Canadian Copyright is both provocative and professional and covers the spectrum from the theoretical and historical foundations of copyright to the latest case law, legislation and practical considerations. All Canadian librarians, educators, administrators, creators of any kind, lawyers, law students, law teachers, and other scholars interested in copyright law will find this book to be both readable and indispensable. This book is sophisticated and well documented–it will be very useful to policy makers both in Parliament and the public service, and even to the judiciary.

– Howard P. Knopf, Counsel, Macera & Jarzyna, LLP, Ottawa

For any Canadian artist, emerging or established, who has ever worried about copyright, this book is a godsend. Using language that is clear and articulate, the authors address issues pertinent to all contemporary artists.

– -Diana Thorneycroft, visual artist, Winnipeg

Sophisticated and thorough in its approach, using up-to-date cases and examples, Canadian Copyright: A Citizen’s Guide presents an accessible and engaging explanation of intellectual property law. Murray and Trosow capture the complexities of the Canadian tradition, drawing on recent court decisions by Madame Justice Rosalie Abella and reaching back to the wisdom of Northrop Frye. This book is ultimately empowering, with knowledge that you can use when it comes to intellectual property.

– John Willinsky, Professor in publishing studies, Simon Fraser University, and Khosla Family Professor, Stanford University

Murray and Trosow’s book is essential reading for anyone anywhere who wants to understand how–encouraged by Canadian civil society–Parliament and the courts have taken a lead role in the worldwide struggle for balanced copyright law. Canadian Copyright points out the struggles that lie ahead, in particular with regard to assuring that copyrighted content is fully available for educational use. Accurate without being hyper-technical, wonderfully readable, and with a consistent emphasis on how choices about copyright law affect real-life patterns of cultural production and consumption, this volume is truly a model of its kind.

– Peter Jaszi, Professor, American University Law School

For any Canadian artist, emerging or established, who has ever worried about copyright, this book is a godsend. Using language that is clear and articulate, the authors address issues pertinent to all contemporary artists.

– Diana Thorneycroft, visual artist, Winnipeg

In an area of public debate often marked with frustrating polemic and oversimplification, Canadian Copyright: A Citizen’s Guide provides a nuanced, articulate, accessible, and, perhaps most importantly, uniquely Canadian perspective. This book is essential reading for students not only of copyright, but also of Canadian culture.

– Keith Serry, President, Clinique Juridique des Artistesde Montréal / The Montreal Artists Legal Clinic Co-founder, Canadian Music Creators Coalition

Trosow and Murray offer an insightful account of copyright’s relevance to all of us-citizens, academics, innovators, and creators of all stripes. Updated to reflect the latest word on Canadian copyright law–from both Parliament and the Supreme Court–Canadian Copyright: A Citizen’s Guide offers a much-needed account of how copyright affects all of us.

– David Fewer, Director of the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic


List of Tables
PART I Ideas
Chapter 1 Copyright's Rationales
Chapter 2 Copyright's Histories
Chapter 3 Copyright's Scope
Chapter 4 Owners' Rights
Chapter 5 Users' Rights
Chapter 6 Collectives and the Copyright Board
Chapter 7 Determining Ownership
Chapter 8 Enforcement of Owners' Rights
PART III Practice
Chapter 9 Music
Chapter 10 Digital Media
Chapter 11 Film, Video, and Photography
Chapter 12 Visual Arts
Chapter 13 Craft and Design
Chapter 14 Journalism
Chapter 15 Education
Chapter 16 Libraries, Archives, and Museums
PART IV Contexts
Chapter 17 Copyright's Counterparts
Chapter 18 Copyright's Future
Legal Citations and Cases