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Is Bill C-61 the right copyright law for Canada?

I’d say the answer is no:

Under the Prentice bill, transferring music from a copy-protected CD to an iPod could violate the law. So, too, could efforts to play a region-coded DVD from a non-Canadian region or attempts by students to copy-and-paste content from some electronic books…The need to read the fine print does not end there a new statutory damage award of $500 for personal-use infringement applies to music downloading that many believe is legal, while it does not cover uploading files onto peer-to-peer networks or even posting videos to YouTube…their self-described “made in Canada” solution actually looks an awful lot like the much-criticized U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Once Canadians read the fine print on this bill, many may demand that the government go back to the drawing board.

That comes from an article Dr. Michael Geist wrote in the Toronto Star today. Anyone who has followed this issue know that Dr Geist has been a leading critic of the Conservatives proposed copyright reforms. At his own blog, he goes even further, calling this bill a betrayal:

..Because the Conservative Party of Canada promised to Stand Up for Canada, yet the Canadian DMCA is quite clearly U.S.-inspired legislation, the result of intense pressure from U.S. officials and lobby groups. Because the interests of individual Canadians – including those calling for more flexible fair dealing – is completely ignored. Because the Canadian DMCA was introduced without consulting consumer groups, education groups, civil society groups, or the Canadian public. Because Jim Prentice knows better. He saw first-hand the passion of Canadians calling for balanced copyright and has received thousands of calls and letters on the issue. Yet rather than genuinely working to craft a balanced solution, he opted to release a fatally flawed bill.

I will say that I don’t expect this legislation in its current format go anywhere fast with the Cons. being in a minority government and with the opposition parties all apparently opposed to this bill. If Prentice and the Cons. refuse to listen to the demands of thousands of grassroots Canadians to make this bill much more balanced toward the rights of consumers and not just an American DMCA re-run that gives in to the American copyright lobby, then the opposition parties should heavily amend this bill to make it reflect more balance and pass it in the House over the protests of the bleating Cons.

If the Cons withdraw the bill so as to not allow that to happen, then an opposition party who chooses to campaign on Fair Copyright Laws has an instant issue and platform plank in the upcoming election campaign. I’ve checked out the Fair Copyright For Canada Facebook group since Bill C-61 was introduced. There were about 40000 members of that group, give or take a thousand, prior to Jim Prentice’s release of the proposed Bill C-61. Since his announcement, the group had gained 5000 members and is up to 46 319 as of this blogpost. For a Canadian based Facebook group, the large # of members and the amount of new members coming in a matter of a couple of days is pretty amazing. This could be the sleeper issue of the next general election, and it’s going to bite Jim Prentice and the Cons. hard if they leave this fatally flawed legislation in its current format.

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5 comments to Is Bill C-61 the right copyright law for Canada?

  • I am, and you should be too. Remember the Liberals introduced a bill similar to this one, and only died because the NDP forced the last election.

  • @Greg

    This isn’t a money bill.. so it won’t likely be declared a vote of confidence.. and it’s not going to be looked at in-depth until the Fall. I’m not particularly worried about this bill passing.

  • Tim Webster

    I remind you this is right on schedule. As you probably remember from my previous message about a month ago.

    “I heard from a very reliable source this morning that the dreaded copy right legislation may be introduced before the summer break. This is being done at this time, because given the state of the Liberal party leadership, it will not oppose the legislation and the legislation will be introduced as law.

    Key items focus is to go after mod chips and content indexers.”

    Look carefully at this bill it was designed for censorship.

    Designed to lock in content by preventing unlocking devices and deny access to information by outlawing indexes of contraband information.

    This is censorship bill.

  • Too bad isn’t it that while Liberals will denounce this bill, the chances are it will pass.

  • […] How to fix Bill C-61 I’m still annoyed at Bill C-61. I’d like to apologize to my readers and commentators, first off, that I’ve been slow in moderating. I approve all comments, without edit, that aren’t spam bots. Please leave a comment. Further, I’m appalled and disgusted by the lack of writing on this topic by fellow Blogging Tories, and fellow Liblog’ers. The only one who got it right is Canadian Cynic, although their writing style doesn’t lend them credibility on any issue (at least they wrote this entry well, without their usual garish style). Copyright legislation should not target consumers. Copyright legislation SHOULD target people who distribute IP they do not own for profit. Copyright legislation SHOULD EXPRESSLY ALLOW fair use by consumers. Copyright legislation SHOULD EXPRESSLY PROHIBIT overly restrictive DRM, which created this problem in the first place. Politicians should demand that PUBLISHERS APOLOGIZE to CONSUMERS for creating this problem. If you wish to debate any of these points, please leave a comment. Updates: Blogs that are chiming in Scott’s DiaTribes […]

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