Imagine a world where you could receive a fine, and possibly be dragged before a judge, just for clicking on the wrong link, or where big media companies could demand your private online information. Here in Canada, our government looked at giving this kind of control to big media, yet the public opposition led them to decide against it.
The House of Commons may have passed Bill C-11, but the constitutional concerns with the copyright bill and its digital lock rules will likely linger for years. Many experts believe that the government's decision to adopt one of the most restrictive digital lock approaches in the world. And guess what? It's vulnerable to constitutional challenge.
The Motion Picture Association - Canada reports meeting with Canadian Heritage Minister, Foreign Minister, and Industry Canada Senior Associate Deputy Minister all on the same day. These meetings occured less than three weeks after the introduction of Bill C-11 and the decision to sign the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Ministers were willing to meet with the top U.S. copyright lobby group, but not with Canadian creator, consumer, or education groups who offered a much different perspective on legislative reform.
The second reading debate on new copyright legislation Bill C-11 will conclude today. Canadians have been speaking out on copyright reform in general and digital locks in particular for years with widely held views, but will the government listen with the bill now headed to committee for further hearings?
The Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright has already expressed concern with the Bill C-11 digital lock rules. Turning Bill C-11 into a Canadian SOPA would only make matters worse, creating a legal framework that would harm Canadian business and consumers.
While SOPA may be dead (for now) in the U.S., lobby groups are likely to intensify their efforts to export SOPA-like rules to other countries. With Bill C-11 back on the legislative agenda at the end of the month, Canada will be a prime target for SOPA-style rules.
As last night's Republican debate showed, even right-wingers are opposed to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). All of this raises the question of whether the federal government's approach and the reactions to Bill C-11 will be consistent with the U.S. trend. The devil, however, is in the details.
Some of the Internet's leading websites, including Wikipedia and Mozilla, will go dark today to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The U.S. bills have generated massive public protest over proposed provisions that could cause enormous harm to the Internet and freedom of speech.
The video game industry has been a Canadian success story and copyright is certainly an issue for some companies within it. But the government's claim that adding balanced digital lock rules to Canadian copyright law would destroy the industry is plainly false.
Harper's bill C-11 is far more restrictive than it needs to be, more than the controversial copyright laws being fought in the U.S. courts, and more than international treaties regarding intellectual property require. Honest, hard-working educators, archivists, documentary filmmakers and consumers will be criminalized.
The second hearing of the day involved a fight between broadcast distributors and the copyright collective Re:Sound over the "performance" of music in movie and TV show soundtracks. Re:Sound's counsel ducked so many questions that Justice Abella joked, "You're lucky I have nothing else to do this afternoon."
The Supreme Court of Canada heard three of the five scheduled copyright cases yesterday in an unprecedented focus on copyright. The case featured discussion on how services like song previews or downloadable video games provide revenues for both music creators and the companies.
The Canadian digital lock rules are more restrictive than those required by international law, more restrictive than those found in many other countries, and so restrictive that they undermine the government's claims of striking a balance.
While everyone is opposed to counterfeiting, the CACN is pushing for a massive public investment into private enforcement matters at the very time when the evidence suggests Canada already has strong legal rules against counterfeiting and a clear commitment from law enforcement to take appropriate action.
The pipeline decision is one of several U.S. decisions that have gone against Canadian interests in recent months. Whether it is the decision to apply new border fees for Canadian travellers or the imposition of Buy American rules (which the current U.S. Ambassador implausibly claimed was good for Canada), Canada has sustained successive losses on the economic policy front with the U.S.
While most of the Conservative responses have stated that they believe Bill C-11 is balanced, Lee Richardson provided another reason for why the public should not be concerned by the digital lock rules. Essentially, Canadians should not be concerned because they can simply break the lock without fear of being sued.