In 1999, Shawn Fanning and his little program called Napster created quite a stir in society. Napster's software allows music listeners to open pieces of their personal hard drives to everyone using Napster, sharing whatever MP3 songs they have already downloaded or stored. At any time, thousands of people are online, sharing hundreds of thousands of songs, many of which are technically illegal to download without the permission of the copyright holders.  This led to a lawsuit filed by the Recording Industry Association of America, with the rock group Metallica as its frontman. In this case, several issues were brought up, one of which was the right of the creator of the music to control what happens with their intellectual property. In the United States, it was found illegal, in the form of Copyright laws, for people to download the musician’s music without permission. However, this only gave full rights of intellectual property to the creator. But this was only the ruling in the United States. Other countries have different versions of Copyright Laws with different interpretations.
In Canada, the Canadian copyright law is governed by the Copyright Act, which protects original literary, artistic, musical and dramatic works. One very significant right granted to the owner of Canadian copyright in a work, is the exclusive right to reproduce the work, in any material form they choose. For example, the owner of copyright in a book has the right to stop others from making copies of the book, whether the copying is by way of a commercial printer, a photocopy machine, or by way of a computer image/text scanner. Copyright in a work may be assigned or licensed to others. All assignments and licenses of copyright must be in writing to be valid. The mere transfer of physical possession of a work does not thereby include an assignment of copyright in the work.  These seem similar to the Copyright laws found in the United States. It provides similar protection to literary work, artistic, music and so on. But as the times change, so too will the way the laws work.
Changes to the Act
On March 19, 1998, Part VIII of the Copyright Act dealing with private copying was brought up for a major change. Before that, “copying any sound recording for almost any purpose infringed copyright, although, in prac...
 Borland, John. “P2P downloading is legal, says Canada.” 15 December 2003. Silicon.com. 9 February 2004. <http://www.silicon.com/management/government/0,39024677,39117341,00.htm>.
 O’Reilly, Tim. “Piracy is Prograssive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution.” 12 December 2002. OpenP2P.com. 9 February 2004. <http://www.openp2p.com/lpt/a/3015>.
 Reid, Shaheem and Walker, Curtis. “50 Cent Says He's Capitalizing On Arrest, Doesn't Mind Being Bootlegged.” 16 January 2003. VH1.com. 10 February 2004. <http://www.vh1.com/news/articles/1459547/20030115/50_cent.jhtml?headlines=true>.
 King, Howard. “Why Metallica Sued Napster.” 1 May 2001. Findlaw.com 10 February 2004. <http://writ.news.findlaw.com/commentary/20000501_king.html>.
 Kearns, Dave. “Intellectual property: Napster and ethics,” 9 April 2001. Network World. 10 February 2004. <http://www.itworld.com/Net/4159/NWW010409kearns/>.
 Barlow, John Perry. March 1994. “The Economy of Ideas.” Wired. Issue 2.03. 10 February 2004 <http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.03/economy.ideas_pr.html>.