The Canadian Intellectual Property Office has posted an online quiz on “IP basics,” inviting the average citizen to test one’s knowledge of copyright.
Weirdly, the second question in the Copyright section shows as correct an answer that is incorrect.
What constitutes a copyright infringement?
* Reproducing an article without the owner’s permission
* Playing songs on the radio without the owner’s permission
* Recording the performance of your favourite group without permission
* All of the above
According to the quiz, “all of the above” is the correct answer, but this is not true in Canadian copyright law. None of the above uses are categorically infringements: some uses are protected by the fair dealing exemption, others by blanket licensing (as described in the first comment below). The quiz offers no explanation for designating its purported correct answer.
I find this error a troubling detail, as it shows the national copyright office to be publicizing incorrect legal information and misleading the public on an aspect of copyright law that is important to everyday users of copyrighted materials.
The quiz and the wrong answer, as well as fuller explanations for why the answer is wrong, were brought to my attention today via the ABC Copyright listserv, whose subscribers and e-mail correspondence I thank for an intensive discussion of this disturbing irony. It should give Canadians pause to critically consider how much we can actually trust the federal office responsible for copyright law.