In this context, some cases will be described and analyzed, in order to understand the law’s influence on the reality.
One of the most important acts that protects the copyright holders in Canada is the Copyright Act. In terms of this Act, “a work or other subject-matter is not deemed to be published or performed in public or communicated to the public by telecommunication if that act is done without the consent of the owner of the copyright.”1 This Act applies to literary or textual works: books, pamphlets, poems, computer programs, dramatic works: films, videos, plays, screenplays and scripts, musical works: compositions consisting of both words and music, or music only (lyrics without music are considered literary works), artistic works: paintings, drawings, maps, photographs, and sculptures, architectural works, (section 2) performer’s performances (section 15); broadcast communication signals (section 21); and sound recordings such as records, cassettes and CDs (section 18). The positive character of this act is that any work which has been created or written becomes automatically protected from the first moment of its existence. Moreover, the Copyright Act also protects the moral rights of the author. In spite of this, the Copyright Act does have some weak points, such as for example the stipulation included in Section 29, allowing usage of protected works without proper authorization in purpose of “research or private study… by an educational institution, library, archive or museum, or person acting under its authority”.
Internationally speaking, Canada is a party of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works of 1886. Canada has also signed but not yet ratified both the WIPO Copyright Treaty of 1996 and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty of 1996.
In USA, the most outstanding legislative act that protects