Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Canadian Copyright Code, in Verse

U.S. Copyright Code | U.S. Patent Code | U.S. Trademark Code | U.S. Armed Forces Code

These verses contain
The copyright code
Of Canada written
Down as an ode

If you think you'll learn
Any useful advice
From reading these verses,
You ought to think twice

As some of you know
I've done this before
For the U. S. of A.
If you're keeping score

So what is the difference
Between these two codes?
You might think not much
But actually, loads

Canada's Board
Posts every rule
In the "Canada Gazette"
Which I think is cool

That way you know when
A law has been altered,
A process about which
The U.S. has faltered

Infringement in Canada
Depends on the context
Whether for profit
And what was the pretext

And whether made only
For personal use,
Which leads to less legal
And criminal abuse

It also writes here
In language courageous
That judges can improvise
When fines are outrageous

"Fair Dealing" in Canada's
A bit more constrained
Than U. S. "Fair Use"
As will be explained

In ranking the two
As to which I like more
I think that Canadian
Code gets top score


This section reports,
As a matter of fact,
That you can call this
"The Copyright Act"


It starts with a glossary
Of some terms within
Sensibly put where
Discussion begins


A work compilation
Of two or more kinds
Is considered the type
Most prominently defined


This little section
Clarifies the word
"Maker" in all of
The places it's heard


"Publication"'s printing
Or copying, not display
Or performance, which doesn't
Mean so doing's ok

Also note: works
Performed unauthorized,
Aren't "performed"
As far as the law applies


An author who reads from
A book on the radio
Isn't "performing"
Or letting others do so


Even more specs about
What means "perform"
And whether you're liable
For providing platform


"Renting" out media
Is only when gain
Of doing so outweighs
All of the pain


"Exclusive distributor"
Isn't defined
Possible definitions
Are still kept in mind


If you've got exclusive
License, then smirk -
Even the creator
Can't use his own work

Part I


Here it's decided
What copying means:
Producing or copying
By any machine,

Publishing, converting
From audio to text,
Or text into audio,
As well as what's next:

Deriving from one thing
And making another,
Filming, broadcasting,
Exhibiting (other

Than maps, or for selling),
Renting out audio,
Copying software,
Except when designed so


Gloriously obscure
Paragraphs detail
When copyright will
Succeed or will fail

Citizens or companies
Joined by the Berne
Convention, gain all
Protection they've earned

Or, failing that,
If published in quantity
So as, for the public,
Their interest to satisfy

Or whenever a relevant
Minister notes
In the "Canada Gazette"
(And please heed the quotes)

That a certain country
Respects Canada's
Copyrights, then Big C
Will do as those guys does


Copyright lasts
Until you have died,
And then fifty years
After that, beside


For unknown authors
It's still fifty years,
Thought why even one is
Something quite queer


For multiple authors,
It works as expected -
All of their rights
Aren't neglected


Something about
Works that were published
I think that this section
Could be better Englished


This just repeats
What verse 6.2 wrote
Also, section 8 was
Repealed, do take note


This section covers
Companies and pics
In terms of how shareholders
Enter the mix


Apparently, some kinds
Of movies are not so
Dramatic, and this verse
Takes pains to say so


Government works, or
Works by the "Crown",
Are also protected
Which might make you frown


Unless paid for work
In dollars or yen,
The copyright owner's
The one with the pen


Sec six said fifty years,
This sec says half,
I'm now so confused that
I just have to laugh


Regardless of who owns
A work's copyright,
The author retains
A few moral rights

Including integrity
And work attribution
To protect the author's
Name and reputation

Though no one can license
Moral rights to art
They still can be waived
In whole or in part


Moral rights exist for
As long as copyright -
Long after the author's gone
"Unto that good night"

Part II


Performers own rights
To all of their sounds
Even if illegal
Copies abound


But they still can enter
Licensing deals
To broadcast their music
Whenever they feels


So if they do license
Their work to a movie
They give up these rights;
Isn't that groovy?


Record-maker's rights
Always include free:
To publish, rent, or repro-
Duce (but not lewdly)


This little section
Says moneys collected
For broadcasts are split
After they are inspected

Half to the publisher and
Half to the artist
It doesn't matter which of
The two is the smartest


Remember that all rights
Written herein
Only apply to a


Broadcasters only
Own their own signal
Regardless of whether it's
Analog or dig'tal


If a country respects
The rights of Canadians,
Canada will reciprocate
For that country's citizens


Protection for broadcast
And also performance
Is fifty years after
Fixing in permanence


Performers own concerts,
Makers own records,
Broadcasters claim what
They air as their rewards


All of it's subject
To licensing rules -
This section's repeated
From earlier, fools


How can performers
Own a "performance"
If it's not given
Some kind of permanence?

Strangely enough
Performers do own them,
Whether recorded
On vinyl or platinum

Part III


Don't go infringing
On these copyrights
Doing so won't be
Considered polite

Sometimes you may get
Away with intention
Sometimes you won't,
So please pay attention

Even possessing
A copying doodad
May cause you trouble
Which would be too bad


Copyright law now
Tackles exclusive
Distribution. Why?
The answer's elusive

Why would "copyrights"
Deal with the import
Of legally made copies
Regardless of what sort,

Just to enforce some
Licensing deal?
Something about this
Is not right, I feel

Anyhow, only books,
(I guess I should mention)
Are covered by laws written
Here in this section


*Scritch* *scratch* and *hmmm*
This section explains
That moral rights are moral
Rights, as they're named


"Integrity" of works
Is only violated
If linked to a product,
Changed, or mutilated

Changing it's venue or
Hanging it elsewhere,
Is not problematic if
Handled with good care


Just when you thought
All copying's wrong
Sections that detail
Exemptions come along

Copying for research
Or private study
Is not called infringement
So cool it there, buddy


Copying for criticism's
Also fair game
When mentioning the source
And the artist's name


Same goes for journalism
It's within the line
Making fun of a product
On CBC is fine


Actions that follow
In sections remaining
Are ok if not done
For monetary gaining


Teachers can copy
For testing or training,
If copies from Loblaw's
Are no longer remaining


Student productions
Of music or plays
Are also permitted
And nobody pays


Teachers can also
Record all the news
And for up to one year
In class may reuse

After the year's up
They must destroy it
Or pay a royalty
To still enjoy it


Teachers can record for
Up to thirty days
While deciding whether
Performing it pays


All these activities
Are only permitted
When copied from sources
Lawfully transmitted


Schools that make copies
Must keep proper count
Of copies they make
To make an account


This section describes
The school newsletter
(From what I could gather,
Maybe you could do better)

Limiting quoting from
Authors, it appears,
To two passages only
Every five years

It doesn't define what
Is meant by a "passage" -
A paragraph or two
Seems like the message

But also, why bother?
Is not really clear
When terms of "fair dealing"
Should also work here


Libraries copy
For various reasons
If originals needed
Are no longer in season


Libraries also
Can copy, as service,
For those that may do so -
They need not be nervous


"Archives" may also
Backup their stuff
Unless the rights holder
Thinks one is enough


Warnings hung next to
Copy machines,
Exempt from infringement
Public places, it seems


The National Archives
Can copy recordings
After broadcasting
For saving and sorting


You not only can copy
For backups your software
But also adapt it
To use on your hardware


If you capture something
While filming a movie
When not done deliberately
You don't have to worry


You can copy ephemerally
When broadcasting live,
And newsworthy works
May sometimes survive


Ephemeral copies
May also be made
When broadcasting works
For which you have paid


Similarly, signals
Can be retransmitted
By those who are licensed
And when it's permitted


If someone complains
Pay them no mind
When copying for
The deaf or the blind


Governments pass
Many strange Acts
'Bout fishes and freeways
Tarmacs and tax

Canadian ones
Aren't immune
They pass 'em all year round
July until June

For some of these Acts
Listed herein
Copying objects
Isn't a sin


This section is full
Of laws miscellaneous
About situations
Sometimes spontaneous

An author can reuse
His studies and molds
Even if copyright
He no longer holds

Anyone can draw
Or take photographs
Of buildings or permanent
Statues, for laughs

You can also report
About lectures given,
Read aloud books
In order to enliven

Report on the nature
Of political speeches
Regardless of whether
In town halls or beaches

Performers at any
Agricultural events
Can sing any song
Present or past tense

And churches and charities
And most organizations
Are pretty much protected
From most litigation


All of these acts
Considered fair dealing
Are free for the doer
And in no way stealing


There's too many "later of"s
And "notwithstandings"
Written in this section
For my understanding


Also in this one,
Too bad, I should tell
That up until now
They were doing quite well


All of these last three
Sections are lawses
'Bout countries with treaties
And grandfather clauses

Part IV


In any real cases
Of copyright fooling
The owner can take you
To court for a ruling


Copyright ownership,
When in confusion,
Is whoever's name
Appears in profusion


The fine for infringement
Is only the damage
And any more profits
Defendant has managed (but see 42)


The copyright owner
Must do all the suing
When bothered by something
Some yokel is doing


Any court, whether
Provincial or federal,
Has jurisdiction
For all cases, general


Equipment that's used for
Copy infringing
May soon be relieved
Or may get a singeing


Instead of determining
How much was lost
The owner can ask for
Statutory cost

For willful infringing,
Up to 20k
And no less than five hundred
Dollars to pay

If not done deliberately
Penalty may be
Only two hundred
Dollars in fee

In all the above
If these sums are silly
The court can determine
A fine willy-nilly


Those who may archive,
But not in this case,
Only pay royalties
Just to save face


You cannot collect
Any remedy
Unless you have registered
Your copyright, you see


Otherwise, injunction
Is all the respect
A courtroom will grant you
Is what I expect


For infringing buildings,
Even in construction,
You only get damages
And can't seek destruction


You've only got three years
To file your suit
After which, complaining
Is basically moot


Criminal damages
Are more of a downer
Than what you will pay to
The copyright owner

For summary offenses
You may have to pay
A harsh fine of up to
Twenty-five k

But if you're indicted
(Thou it doesn't say how)
The fine is a million
Which is just ... wow!

By the way, to be charged
There's limited time
It must be within
Two years of the crime

And also I might just
Remember to mention
Along with the fine
Is six months in prison


Performing for profit
Without permission
Nets you a small fine
And possibly prison

And changing the content
Or name of a play
Is twice as expensive
So could ruin your day


Don't bring to Canada
Infringing stuff
What they have now is
More than enough


Customs are able to
Check at the border
If they have a reason
Or given an order


Again with the books?
Dear readers, I must
Tell you I don't think
These sections are just

Giving protection
For distribution
Which violates no copyright
Is not contribution

To benefit the public,
So why have these laws?
The government's throat is
In business' jaws


I'm not sure I got this
But as it appears
Two exclusive distributors
Shouldn't have fears

Of suing each other,
Though how this could be
Doesn't make very much
Sense unto me


This section continues,
As if it were wise,
And says: to recordings
All this applies


Oh whew, thank goodness
For personal use
And other exceptions
They drop this abuse

Part V


Copyright workers
Have to find space
To sit in the Patent
Office's place


"The Commissioner or Patents"
Sounds very officious
And shouldn't be filled by
Someone suspicious

The Commissioner of Patents
Does a few things
Like taking this Act
Under his wings


A Copyright Registrar
Also exists
Or so this here section
Plainly insists


Either the Registrar,
Commissioner, or Office
Signs the certificates
As soon as they notice


The Copyright Registrar
Also must do
Whatever the Commissioner
Orders them to


The CoP also
Generally directs
The Copyright Office
In all its aspects


Registering copyrights
Will serve you quite well,
Certificates are evidence
As any court would tell


The copyright office
Keeps all the records
Of copyrights registered
On papers and postcards


The owner can register
Copyright there,
As can anyone
Who pretends to care


Not only works, but
Things insubstantial,
Like a performance
For profit financial


Fake registration is
Not a good move
You'll have to pay up
When damage is proved


Registering's finished
When all fees are paid
But even then sometimes
Corrections are made


All registrations
Are now international,
That's not an accident
It's quite intentional


The Governor Council
Can charge extra dimes
Or change the fee schedule
To after tea-times

Part VI


Eighty years ago
People had rights;
Read this if this fact
Keeps you up nights


Errors are made -
So the world goes,
They can be corrected
As everyone knows


The Governor Council
Makes regulations
Whenever he's suffering


Items with designs
Integral to function
Are generally copyable
Without compunction


You can draw these designs,
Or add to these items
Levers, or zippers,
Or handles to right 'em


You probably should know
The last two sections
Don't apply to circuits
On further inspection

Part VII


A Copyright Board
Is used to apply
To behinds of those
Who infringe and then lie

Just kidding, it's called that
'Cause all of its members
Must sit still for so long
Like pieces of lumber


The board has a chairman
And vice-chairman, too
Who do all those things
That chairmen must do


For time that they spend
They will get paid a lot -
Assuming "a lot" means
Something it's not


For conflicts of interest
They don't turn their cheeks:
The conflict is limited
To seventeen weeks


The Board gives a welcome
That's open and broad
For workers and specialists
To come on aboard


Board members finish
All jobs they were tasked,
Majority vote decides
All questions asked


Where difficult answers
Might need a revision
The members may reach an
Interim decision


Royalty decisions
Might sometimes be changed
If situation warrants
And someone gets blamed


After the Board makes
Any decision
They head to a bar with
Unfailing precision


Stuff they decide
Has force of the courts
For matters related to
Copyrights, all sorts


The Board can print up
Decisions it's written
And stick them on houses,
Billboards, and kittens


The members make studies
Whenever they're told -
They have to put all of
Their Quake games on hold


They do all these things
And write them all down
To give to the Minister
When summer comes round


The Governor Council
Can chastise the Board -
Five years of hard work
And that's the reward?


Whoever keeps track of
Performance rights
Must answer all questions
Without any fights


This body reports on
Tariffs and such,
And when they are missing
Decides on how much


The Copyright Board is
Where tariffs are set
And published forthrightly
In the Canada Gazette


From what I can tell
This section's advising
On tariffs on income
From advertising


Tariffs and royalties ...
I'm starting to twitch
It seems I've forgotten now
Which one is which


When people perform
Concerts outside
People with radios
Don't have to hide

Only broadcasters
Pay for transmission
And must ensure they have
Proper permission


These sections apply
To license collectives
Who own all the media,
From public perspective


Collectives must answer
All licensing questions
But don't need to take any
Public suggestions


Collectives will sometimes
Discuss with the Board
Or public about all
The works that they hoard


Collectives must file
Before it is Spring
Licenses they charge
For everything


There's nothing to see
Inside of this section
Just references and numbers
In one small collection


The Board can make changes
And then certify
The tariffs as valid,
And then they apply


The Board then makes public
All of these fees
While those who must pay them
Collectively wheeze


For anyone willing
To pay the set fee,
From any form of
Litigation is free


You must pay the fees
Even if they're proposed
So long as the fee infor-
Mation's disclosed


Private agreements
Trump any tariff
And keep far away
The copyright sheriff


In this sort of case
The tariff is mute
And you'll have no fear of
A copyright suit


If you are stuck haggling
The licensing feeses
The Board may decide for
Whomever it pleases


But if, while they're thinking,
Agreement is reached,
The Board will pretend
It was never beseeched


Any agreement is
Enacted both ways:
Who can use what rights
And which party pays


Agreements are filed
And after submission
Reviewed by Commissioner
Of Competition

If not satisfied,
He gives it back to
The Board, and asks them
To make a review


The Board then reviews
And might change some clauses
Telling the parties the
Whys and Becauses


I don't understand -
I'm not trying to be mean -
But this section repeats


The Board takes objections
To its proposed fees
So file a complaint
If you are displeased


After the fees
Have all been approved,
Chance for objection
Has been removed


Small retransmission
Systems get preference
On all of the fees
Previously referenced


In case it's not obvious
Collectives may go
Out to collect all the
Fees that you owe


If you are an artist
You don't have to ask;
Your friendly collective
Will take up the task


If you tried to locate
A copyright owner
And couldn't find him,
It's not such a downer

Whichever collective
To whom he'd belong
Can give you a license
For movie or song


The Board may decide,
When all's in dispute,
A sum, unless someone
In court filed suit

Until it's decided,
The Board may prevent
Use of the items
In any event



The next sections here,
Numbering nine,
Levies for private
Copying define

Which means that they'd rather
Tax blank CDs,
And blank tapes indis-

Rather than chase every
Tom, Dick, and Harry
Personally copying on
Stereos they carry


Copying for personal
Use in permitted
And no form of payment
Need be remitted


Instead they get taxes
On every blank media
A practice which some folks
Consider much seedier

(Little of it gets to
The artist themselves
Most of it sits on the
Collective's shelves)


Makers of audio
Recording devices
Must pay collectives
A fixed set of prices


Collectives make claims for
What artists should get
According to sums
In the Canada Gazette


Whoever collects all
The fees then gives out
The sums to collectives
Without any doubt

(But note that the gravy train
Ends over here;
How money gets to the
Artists ain't clear)


The Minister also
Sometimes agrees
To pass on to foreigners
Similar fees


Retailers selling
Recording devices
To deaf or to blind people
Don't pay these prices


The Governor Council
Fixes these laws
Ensuring that everyone
Follows each clause


Those device makers
Who fail to pay fees
Could get in trouble
Up to their knees

Part IX


No one can make
A copyright claim
Except as the laws in
This document frame


Nothing herein
Has set any fees
Or specified values
For any royalties


The Governor Council
Works to ensure
That all international
Laws are secure


They re-checked this Act
For any type of flaw
After they passed it
And it became law

That's all she wrote
Now I can rest
And yes, this material
Will be on the test


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Anonymous said...

Great use of iambic pentameter. Exposition and phrasing are excellent. Not that I know what any of that means (but its all I remember from high school poetry). That being said, I do like it.

Now, the trick is geting it cited in a case!

Yehuda Berlinger said...

david: heh. Not iambic pentameter, but thanks!