November 5, 2012 @ 09:00:00
New Section 29.24 of the Copyright Act (Backup Copies) - Good Or Bad?
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Just as in the case of the new time-shifting Section 29.23, the idea behind the backup copies exception seems very reasonable for most business models today. Most, but not necessarily all. Again, I would prefer it to be worded in the form of a rebuttable presumption. Just because most copyright owners would not prohibit end customers from creating backup copies of legitimately purchased originals does not mean that the law should take away that right from copyright owners.

One more concern I have with this section is the extent that it overlaps with the reproduction for private purposes exception set out in Section 29.22.

Essentially, the private purposes exception says that as long as you own a legitimate copy of a copyrighted work, you can reproduce it for your “private purposes”, if you do not circumvent TPMs and don’t give the copy away. The backup copies exception says that as long as you own or have a license to use a legitimate copy of a copyrighted work, you can reproduce it for backup purposes, if you do not circumvent TPMs and don’t give the copy away.

Again, I will ask the question, if “private purposes” do not include research, private study, education, parody, satire, criticism, review, news reporting, creation of non-commercial user-generated content, time shifting (Section 29.23), or backup – what are these mysterious private purposes?

In other words, what is the added benefit of inclusion of Section 29.24 (the backup copies exception) when Section 29.22 already exists? What does it cover that the private purposes exception does not?

Yes, these two sections use slightly different language to express two concepts of which one appears to be completely consumed by the other.

The only meaningful answer to that question that I can find is that the backup copies exception stipulates that if the original copy is “lost, damaged or otherwise rendered unusable”, then one of the backup copies automatically obtains the status of a legitimate original from which further backup copies can be made.

In all honesty, I do not understand the big idea behind this duality, other than to provide redundant guarantees to users that they can safely disregard the rights of copyright owners in more than one way.

BOTTOM LINE: This section looks like overkill to me.

I don’t see how it adds anything substantive to what is already covered by the private copying exception.

Do you?

Categories:Intellectual Property:Copyright
Additional Tags:New Copyright Act
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