And Of Course, Canada Gets Its New Anti-Camcording Bill
from the you-saw-that-coming,-didn't-you? dept
Since the beginning of the year, we’ve seen news story after news story about how Canada supposedly had a huge camcording problem, with people apparently making unauthorized copies of movies for sale after taping them with a camcorder in the theater. This left out a few important things. First, camcording is increasingly a minor problem for movie studios, as the copies you see online and on counterfeit DVDs are more often leaked from studio prints or early released DVDs, rather than the weak quality camcorded versions, complete with audience coughing and heads blocking the bottom of the picture. Second, the numbers the industry kept claiming didn’t add up, and the MPAA refused to provide any proof for the numbers they kept claiming about the problem (and those numbers kept changing). In fact, Canadian politicians have said they’ve relied on these questionable numbers rather than asking for any independent studies. Third, the press and the MPAA almost entirely ignored the laws in Canada that already made it illegal to tape movies. Fourth, the US had stronger laws passed already, and there’s no evidence that it’s done anything to decrease incidents of camcording. Of course, why let facts get in the way of a few lobbyists and campaign contributions? As expected, Canadian politicians have introduced a much stricter anti-camcording bill that will include jail time (two to five years) for those caught camcording. Michael Geist notes that the bill is on the “fast track” and may not even have any debate before being approved. This seems clearly a case of politicians bowing down to corporate interests (even those outside their own country). No, there’s no defense for camcording a movie — but if it’s not a huge problem and existing laws can handle it, why waste government, law enforcement and judicial time and money over what’s really a corporate problem?