Third Time the Charm for Canadian Copyright Bill?

June 3, 2010 -

Canadian Ministry of Industry Tony Clement (pictured) and Heritage Minister James Moore outlined new copyright legislation yesterday, and the pair’s choice of venue to introduce Bill C-32 might assist in indicating just which side (business or consumer) the legislation tends to favor.

While legislation is typically introduced amid the backdrop of Ottawa’s Parliament Hill, C-32 was introduced at the Montreal offices of Electronic Arts, which the Financial Post says was “a member of a lobby group that is pushing for a hard line approach to copyright.”

Among the Bill’s provisions, according to CBC.ca, is a measure that would criminalize the breaking of digital locks contained in media or devices. Shifting purchased media from one device to another, or from a CD to a device, would be legal however.

Consumers would also be able to back-up content, to protect against hardware failure. YouTube mashups would be permitted as well, as long as they are not used for commercial gain. A “notice-and-notice” protection against online copyright infringers would have copyright holders notify an infringer’s ISP, who would, in turn, notify the customer of their violation. The copyright holder could then obtain the infringer’s personal information via a court order.

ISP’s, and search engines, would not be liable for the copyright violations of their users.

The legislation also differentiates between commercial and individual copyright infringements. The fine for individuals would be between $100 and $5,000, well below a current maximum figure of $20,000.

Entertainment Software Association of Canada Executive Director Danielle Parr praised the proposed Bill, stating, “Promoting piracy under the guise of 'user rights' does nothing to defend the livelihood of thousands of Canadians who rely on turning great ideas into world class entertainment."

The University of Ottawa’s Michael Geist called the Bill “flawed, but flexible.” Regarding the legislation’s digital lock verbiage, Geist wrote, “…the government has caved to U.S. pressure and brought back rules that mirror those found in the United States. These rules limit more than just copying as they can also block Canadian consumers from even using products they have purchased.“

He continued, “The foundational principle of the new bill is that anytime a digital lock is used, it trumps virtually all other rights. This means that both the existing fair dealing rights and Bill C-32’s new rights all cease to function effectively so long as the rights holder places a digital lock on their content or device.”

Geist also pointed out that someone in the government forgot to renew the URL balancedcopyright.ca, which the pirate Party grabbed. The government instead set up shop on balancedcopyright.gc.ca.

Clement indicated that Bill C-32 “is not a done deal and that he hopes to further discuss it with opposition parties over the summer.” Similar copyright bills withered and died in both 2005 (C-60) and 2008 (C-61).


Comments

Re: Third Time the Charm for Canadian Copyright Bill?

Ugh, I thought this battle was over. The Conservatives had been fighting the NDP's retarded levy so vigorously, I had no idea they were going to pull this off.

Very telling they opened up about it in EA's office... EA is the reason there are special rules in Canada's labour laws allowing serious abuse of ANY employees in the tech industry. EA has done a lot of damage to our country and don't deserve to be here.

One thing to note is that the previous bills fell apart when the Conservatives decided to call an election. Perhaps this is their way of giving lip service to the bull the lobbies put out? If that's the case, and considering the poll numbers are heavily in favour of Conservatives right now, this may be election time.

Unfortunately, I don't get much of a voice in this issue; my local politician is part of the Bloq Quebecois, meaning he will ignore my existence because I am an anglophone (english speaking). Speaking of which, (off topic warning...) I have no idea how this asshat keeps making it into office, most of the people in Gatineau are employed in Ottawa and work for the Federal Government, yet they vote separatist? Selfish pricks.

Re: Third Time the Charm for Canadian Copyright Bill?

kinda makes me wonder how much this guy's earning in 'donations'

the golden rule: he who has the gold makes the rules

Re: Third Time the Charm for Canadian Copyright Bill?

The people that lobby for copyright laws, forgot why the copyright laws were invented, what is their purpose.

The copyright laws ARE NOT to give rights to authors, or allow them to "live", the laws, by any government, are supposed to protect the POPULATION. And authors are a minority. The copyright laws were invented to PROMOTE MORE WORKS. But they are getting now to the point that they are creating monopolies, and being used to bash the population instead.

In the original law, the "piracy" was not the users getting for free. The piracy was other companies using the author work without permission.

I am not like the most extreme site of the pirate party, that want to get rid of copyright completly, because I think that it is still necessary to promote works, but the copyright law needs some fixing to return to its original purpose.

 

criadordejogos.wordpress.com

--- MaurĂ­cio Gomes twitter.com/agfgames

Re: Third Time the Charm for Canadian Copyright Bill?

From the balanced copyright web FAQ: "There are some business models that rely on digital locks to protect their investments. These industries need to have the protection of the law. However, in other markets, in light of consumer demands, some businesses have chosen not to use TPMs. Creators may decide whether to use a TPM, and consumers can then decide whether to buy the product."

In other words: you want to slap some DRM on that blu-ray movie?  You go right ahead, and I just won't buy it.  This bill won't stop the invisible hand of the market from doing its dirty capitalist magic.  And who can put together a digital lock in this day and age that the Internet can't break in less than twenty-four hours?  If anything, the backlash against content-locking will be good for both developers and consumers, since there'll be more movement towards independent sales, which means better press and lower prices.

Meanwhile, the NDP, joined this time by the dorks from ACTRA, are still howling about expanding the "private copy levy", a tax paid on blank media which is redistributed to copyright holders, onto iPods and other devices.  They claim that this will compensate artists and creators for their work while somehow legalizing copying activities.  All it really does is pay off the corporations they hate so very, very much while incentivizing consumers to pirate more: "I've already paid a levy on this laptop, so why should I pay again to load it up with Blue Rodeo and Simple Plan?"  Not to mention that any sort of inter-device download is counted in that definition of piracy, because the levy in and of itself has nothing to do with the transfer of digital files for personal use.

I want to read the full text of the bill before I'm willing to sign it off completely, but as it's been described here it sounds like a fairly robust piece of legislation.

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Fangamer

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Fangamer

Re: Third Time the Charm for Canadian Copyright Bill?

The bill is actually not bad for the most part.  The major flaw is obviously the digital lock provisions.  Basically, if there is any kind of DRM on your media, you cannot bypass it at all, even for fair dealing and otherwise legal uses.  The DRM trumps all your rights, which is horseshit.  If we can get this part changed, it would actually be a pretty acceptable piece of legislation, all things considered.

Re: Third Time the Charm for Canadian Copyright Bill?

Not entirely true; it says on the site there's going to be provisions for jailbreaking cell phones and "undertaking encryption research," whatever that's supposed to mean.  (I hope it means curing cancer, because I'm a hopeless optimist.)

I agree that it's still not enough, but as I said in my own comment, I'm sure the backlash will have everyone thinking twice about whether it's worth it to ship content with huge restrictions all over it.  Plus, there are changes to statutory penalties for non-commercial infringement, which means it probably won't be worth the Canadian industry's time to go after individual citizens.  (Again, hopeless optimist.  But take a look at the comments on cbc.ca and try to tell me optimism isn't better than illiterate knee-jerk nutbar reactions.)

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Fangamer

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Fangamer
 
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