Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council honours Professor Michael Geist

Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2013

In a world where emerging technologies alter society at an alarming rate, it's comforting to know that Canada has brilliant thinkers in the social sciences and humanities who are ready to solve the challenges we face today and to anticipate those ahead.

University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist is considered such a thinker, one of the reasons why the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has awarded him the 2013 Impact Connection Award.

“Michael Geist is truly one of the University's most dynamic researchers—he has established a winning formula that engages the public and directly informs politicians, public policy makers and justices. This award will further strengthen Professor Geist's already internationally recognized leadership,” says Mona Nemer, vice-president of Research at the University of Ottawa.

The award highlights Professor Geist's contribution to copyright law through his SSHRC-funded seminal project, The Future of Copyright Law in Canada: Reconciling Creator and User Rights, which provided leading academic research on Canadian copyright law at a time when the Supreme Court of Canada issued an unprecedented five copyright rulings, on July 12, 2012, dubbed the “copyright pentalogy.”

The Court's decisions stated that musical works in a soundtrack require no additional tariff be paid for each broadcast, that copying materials for instructional purposes may qualify as fair dealing and no fees for previews on services such as iTunes.

His work was notable for bringing the broader public into the policy debate as well as the emphasis on knowledge dissemination, open access, multimedia and policy engagement in addition to extending the issue to international copyright areas. Through his research was born a new public interest model for copyright law in Canada that emphasizes a balance between the creator and user rights.

The Connection Award will enable Professor Geist to explore in his research the development of innovative tools that will allow Canadians to better understand the balance between the creator and user rights as decision makers begin to work on new reforms. 

Michael Geist is a law professor at the University of Ottawa, where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law. He is an internationally syndicated columnist on technology law issues with his regular column appearing in the Toronto Star and the Ottawa Citizen

He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Kroeger Award for Policy Leadership and a Public Knowledge IP3 Award. In 2010, Managing Intellectual Property magazine named him one of the 50 most influential people on intellectual property in the world.

His latest book, The Copyright Pentalogy: How the Supreme Court of Canada Shook the Foundations of Canadian Copyright Law, was published in April 2013 by the University of Ottawa Press.

For more information on the Impact Awards please see the SSHRC website or their press release.

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