What is intellectual property?: A novel? A film script? A joke? A cook book? A character in a TV show? A painting? The lyrics to a song? All of these are intellectual property.

In Canada, consumers have certain rights to use copyrighted material without permission or license from the owner of the copyright. These rights are defined in the Copyright Act as Fair Dealing exemptions and were redefined in the 2012 changes to the Act. A good knowledge of Fair Dealing can be extremely helpful in understanding what you and your students can do with media in class. It’s important to note that the Copyright Act provides very little definition for many of these terms; instead, most of the specifics of Fair Dealing have come from court rulings, and the new exemptions and other changes done in 2012 will likely also be further defined in the same way.

Intellectual Property

In this section we explore the ethics, laws, and rights that surround questions of intellectual property. Whether it’s a question of downloading music, borrowing graphics and photos, or copying text from an academic source, there are bound to be questions about what is and what is not fair use.

The Internet has revolutionized how young people watch movies: half of Canadian teens say that they download movies without paying for them at least once a week. [1]

Media Issues
In this section, you will find our collected writings on issues related to the ways that media represents and sometimes misrepresents specific groups of people; how media influence our attitudes and behaviours; and the ethical decisions we make daily as media consumers.

After the controversy surrounding last year’s proposed copyright bill C-61, which eventually died on the order table when Parliament was prorogued, the Federal government has decided to hold consultations across Canada before introducing a new version of the bill. While only time will tell how responsive the government will be to the public’s submissions, the series of town halls and round tables is definitely a good start in making the process transparent and taking the views of a wide variety of Canadians into account. Below is an expanded version of MNet’s submission to the Round Table held in Gatineau, Quebec on July 29th 2009.

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