Copyright a contrario – CDACI Lecture series, Université de Montréal

Here is the video of a lecture in English I gave yesterday at Université de Montréal’s Centre du droit des affaires et du commerce International. I also pasted below the abstract and the poster of the event :

Copyright, caught in a digital maelstrom of perpetual reform and shifting commercial practices, exacerbates tensions between cultural stakeholders. On the one hand, copyright seems to be drowned in Canada and the USA by the role reserved to exceptions by the legislature and the courts granted to certain institutions. On the other, these institutions, such as libraries, are keen to navigate digital environments by allocating their acquisitions budgets to digital works.

Beyond the paradigm shifts brought by digital technologies, one must recognize the conceptual paradox surrounding digital copyrighted works. In economic terms, they behave naturally as public goods, while copyright attempts to restore their rivalrousness and excludability. Within this paradox lies tension, between the aggregate social wealth spread by a work and its commoditized value, between network effects and reserved rights. How can markets emerge if we are not able to resolve this tension?

After discussing some theoretical aspects described above, this paper will attempt to cast new light on user rights (as posited by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2004) and other emerging concepts in copyright. In particular, the making available right will be analysed from the perspective of the library community. The goal is to express how libraries can fit in a distribution chain of cultural products through the two copyright tools at their disposal: licences/limitations and exceptions.

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