Facing Up to Facebook: The Fight for Fair Copyright in Canada

Editor’s note: Thanks to those of you who joined us for the lecture! This page will now provide an archive of the lecture.

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In December 2007, the Canadian government planned to introduce new copyright legislation that was to have mirrored the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. A Facebook group was formed to advocate against such reforms and for balanced copyright laws. Within weeks, nearly 40,000 Canadians joined the group, with members writing and calling their elected representatives, educating their local communities, and staging public protests. In the face of this opposition, the Canadian government delayed introducing the legislation. The “Canadian copy-fight” attracted considerable attention from the mainstream media, with many wondering how copyright had emerged as a contentious policy issue. This talk will assess the Canadian experience in an effort to answer the oft-asked question – “why copyright?”.


Dr. Michael Geist is the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa. His articles and government reports on the Internet and technology law are published regularly in the Toronto Star and BBC. Dr. Geist is the creator and editor of BNA’s Internet Law News, editor of the Canadian Privacy Law Review, founder of the Ontario Research Network for E-Commerce, and is on the advisory board of several leading Internet law publications. Dr. Geist serves on the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Expert Advisory Board and has served on the board of several organizations such as the Canadian Internet Registration Authority and Canada’s National Task Force on Spam. In 2003, Dr. Geist received the Ontario Premier Research Excellence Award, was named one of Canada Top 40 Under 40, and received the Public Leadership Award from Canarie for his contribution to the Internet in Canada.