Increased copyright flexibilities for user-generated creativity

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978 1 80392 224 9




The arrival of new communication technologies has presented individuals with an unprecedented ability to create new copyrighted works to benefit society. To unleash its potential, policy makers has advanced a wide array of proposals to reform copyright law. In the past I suggested the introduction of a copyright exception for predominantly non-commercial user-generated content (PNCUGC exception), which the Bills Committee ultimately adopted as one of its committee stage amendments. Although this proposal was inspired by Section 29.21 Copyright Modernization Act of Canada, it also derived support from the transformative use doctrine in the United States. Having fuelled innovation in the information technology sector, which ranges from search engines to mass digitization initiatives to the use of text and data mining, this doctrine remains one of the more attractive and valuable features of US copyright law. While the reform proposal to introduce a new PNCUGC exception would provide the flexibilities needed to boost user-generated creativity, some policy makers may find it too progressive that the proposal would tip the balance of the copyright system too much towards users at the expense of copyright holders. However, although increased flexibilities in copyright law have provided many benefits, they also have generated some concerns and criticisms. Today the potential of user-generated creativity is too important to ignore. Countries that are willing to increase copyright flexibilities for such creativity will likely be in a better position to realize the full potential generated by new communication technologies. If we are to fully realize the political, economic, social and cultural benefits provided by the Internet and new communication technologies and be adequately prepared for the future, taking note of Professor Johns' suggestion that the relation between creativity and commerce may shift again, policy makers and commentators should pay greater attention to law reforms that increase copyright flexibilities for user-generated creativity.

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Edward Elgar


Gustavo Ghidini & Valeria Falce

Book Title

Reforming Intellectual Property

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