I am working towards a Creative Commons certificate, which means doing a lot of homework related to the Commons, open licensing, and other issues related to copyright. I’ve put together a timeline of events related to the creation of the Creative Commons and its growth, and regret that I haven’t had time (yet) to fold in much of a Canadian perspective. You can see the timeline here.
The connection to US law and jurisprudence is inevitable, since many of the events that led to the creation of the Commons were directly connected to the passing of the Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA, also known as the Sonny Bono act) and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Canada has been slow to follow, but the overhaul of the Copyright Act in 2012 brought us anti-circumvention rules (protection digital locks) and the replacement for NAFTA will force us to add 20 years to our copyright terms…. which the US did in 1998. The Creative Commons has exploded independently of these changes, though, and is becoming more and more central to the Open Access and Open Education movements. If creators proactively licence their works and get in the habit of labeling them, they are working proactively to ensure that existing knowledge can be used as a permissive scaffold for new work.