FIMS Publications

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Conference Proceeding

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This paper compares the Government of Canada’s copyright focused approach for encouraging the production of digital content with the U.S. Government’s adoption of a range of incentive systems for the production of content through a content analysis of government policy papers. The first part of the paper examines Canadian policy outlined in the Improving Canada’s Digital Advantage consultation paper and the proposed amendments to the Copyright Act (Bill C-32). The paper argues the government is overly reliant on copyright to encourage the production of creative digital content. Though Bill C-32 would expand the definition of fair dealing and create a user generated content exception, the effectiveness of these measures is severely limited by through the proposed protections for technological protection measures. The second part of the paper examines innovative alternatives to copyright that are being promoted by the U.S. government. The Obama Administration’s Open Government Directive not only provides citizens with access to government data, but also calls on federal departments to use prizes to encourage innovative uses of the data. The U.S. National Institutes of Health has taken a leading role in promoting open access publication of research funded with federal monies by requiring deposit of publications resulting from research in the open access repository PubMed Central. The paper concludes by positing that Canada’s digital economy strategy would be strengthened by providing greater federal support for alternatives to intellectual property such as open data and open access and lessening the focus on copyright as an incentive digital content production.


Paper presented at the Canadian Communications Association Annual Conference held in Fredericton, NB in June 2011