Monday, October 3, 2011


Once more into the breach goes the government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, resubmitting its sweeping revision of Canadian digital copyright law for Parliament's consideration. "Our Government received a strong mandate from Canadians to put in place measures to ensure Canada's digital economy remains strong," declared James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages as he introduced the announcement of law C-11—The Copyright Modernization Act. "This bill delivers a common-sense balance between the interests of consumers and the rights of the creative community."

News accounts say that C-11 is an exact duplicate of Bill C-32, which croaked when the 2010 Parliament dissolved without passing the bill. Now, as then, one of the biggest points of contention will be the provisions regarding "digital locks." These add up to a Canadian version of the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Act, with its DRM anti-circumvention provisions that make a variety of fair dealing (or fair use) activities untenable.

But critics of that portion of the legislation, such as Canadian law professor Michael Geist, suggest that this time around, the government will get its way. "After years of false starts, it is clear that this copyright bill will pass, likely before the end of the year" Geist writes. "While there is much to like in the bill, the unwillingness to stand up for Canadians on digital locks represents a huge failure. Moreover, it sends the message that when pressed, Canada will cave."

The pressure to give in comes in part from the White House, revealed by a WikiLeaks cable to have been quite actively lobbying Canada to get on the IP enforcement bandwagon for years. Around 2007, the Canadian Prime Minister's office went so far as to share with the US the mandate letters it sent to two key ministers on copyright, according to the dispatch.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.