Any Act in any jurisdiction respecting copyright. In real terms, copyright is meant to assure that the creator of some work, such as a book or a DVD, will receive royalties from the legal sale of such works.
In Canada, for example, the Copyright Act, Chapter C-42, defines copyright regarding a work to mean the sole right of the creator to produce the work or any substantial part of the work in any form, or to perform the work or any substantial part of the work in public. If the work is unpublished, copyright means the sole right of the creator to publish the work or any substantial part of the work. Copyright also applies to but is not limited to the creator’s rights to the production, reproduction, performance, or publication of any translation of a work; the conversion of a dramatic work into a novel or other nondramatic work; the making of a sound recording, film, or other mechanically reproduced version of a literary, dramatic, or musical work; the conversion and performance in public of a novel, a nondramatic work, or an artistic work; or the communicating via telecommunications of any literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work.
In recent years there has been considerable controversy concerning weaknesses in copyright law in some jurisdictions. For example, legal authorities have argued that a vacuum in digital copyright law in Canada has made it a virtual heaven for illegal copies of hit television shows such as Seinfeld. Fans of the show could have purchased in March 2005 all nine seasons on DVD from at least five Canadian Websites—despite the fact that only the first three seasons had been legally distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
In the United States, in contrast, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) assists legal authorities to charge those making illegal copies of DVD content through the Internet, because Internet Service Providers must disclose information on their subscribers when asked. In Canada, the Internet Service Providers do not have to disclose such information unless a search warrant is issued. Because of such Internet legal loopholes in Canada and elsewhere around the globe, Time Warner said that loss of revenue from DVD sales of Warner Brothers’ shows alone could be as high as $1 billion in 2005.
Department of Justice Canada. Copyright Act. [Online, April 30, 2004.] Department of Justice Canada Website. http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/C-42/38965.html; Whitney, D. Internet: DVD Pirates Find Safe Harbour in Canada. The Globe and Mail, April 26, 2005, p. B9.