Bill C-32: Photographers and Performers

Nathan Fan, writing at IPilogue, looks at the impact that Bill C-32 (the Copyright Modernization Act) would have on the copyrights of photographers and performers:

The Copyright Modernization Act seeks to eliminate the distinction between photographs and other works by removing section 13(2), putting photographers back on equal footing with other authors (see Bill C-32 section 7).

The Bill also completely removes section 10, which was also an exception to the authorship and term of protection for photographs (see Bill C-32 section 6). … The repeal of section 10 in its entirety again attempts to equalize the rights of photographers with other authors.

… Bill C-32 also seeks to bring performer rights up to par with other creators by implementing the 1997 WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) and WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT). Section 10 of Bill C-32 proposes to extend moral rights to performers for live aural performances or performances fixed in a sound recording and for the same duration as the copyright term, as required by Article 5 of the WPPT.

Section 9 of Bill C-32 amends section 15 of the current Act to provide performers the exclusive right in digital distribution (making available to the public by telecommunication) of performances in sound recordings as well as the exclusive right to first sale or transfer of tangible copies of such sound recordings. Section 11 of the Bill also extends these rights to the makers of such sound recordings.


As Nathan points out, the changes to the provisions affecting photographers and performers have attracted comparatively little attention in the wake of Bill C-32’s introduction – but as his post demonstrates, the proposed changes are quite consequential for both sets of creators.

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Bob Tarantino

About Bob Tarantino

Bob Tarantino is Counsel at Dentons Canada LLP and focuses his practice on the interface between the entertainment industries and intellectual property law, with an emphasis on film and television production, financing, licensing, distribution, and IP acquisition and protection. His clients range from artists and independent producers to Canadian distributors and foreign studios and financiers at every stage of the creative process, from development to delivery and exploitation.

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