April 11, 2012 by Alexander Ly
The Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-11) has generated much discussion on its merits and deficiencies. However, one issue that commentators have not discussed in depth is the relationship between laws and social norms. Specifically, whether any amendments to copyright law in Canada will have an effect on user behaviour given the social acceptability of copyright infringing activities like music file sharing. Accordingly, this commentary looks at the social norms around copyright and discusses the potential effectiveness of Bill C-11 in combating copyright infringement if it conflicts with social norms. This discussion also suggests how a university community can play an important role in lining up social norms with laws in a symbiotic fashion to encourage adherence to copyright principles.