Canadian DMCA Introduced (Finally); Pretends US Lobbyists Had Nothing To Do With It

from the 51st-state dept

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. Originally slated for the end of last year, an uproar from tens of thousands of concerned citizens in Canada, made Industry Minister Jim Prentice delay the bill. He insisted that he would listen to constituents and open the process up to make sure the bill achieved the right balance — except that no open discussions were ever held. Instead, he apparently looked to add a few “consumer friendly” provisions to the bill, legalizing things that should be perfectly legal anyway (time-shifting, ability to move songs you purchased to an iPod) and then kept all the bad things. After trying to sneak it through last week, the bill was delayed briefly. However, with Prentice promising the entertainment industry that the bill would be released before summer, he was running out of time.

And, indeed, this morning the bill was finally introduced. It’s pretty much as bad as you would expect. It includes a DMCA-like anti-circumvention clause and fines of $500 to $20,000 for any unauthorized content you may have. Existing law already had similar fines, but the new law basically expands what you may get fined for. The law also does provide safe harbors for service providers (a good thing) including a “notice-and-notice” provision, rather than an American-style “notice-and-takedown” system (i.e., when informed of infringement, the service providers just need to inform the user, rather than immediately take down the content). Those make sense, but are drowned out by other problems with the bill. Prentice is pushing the angle that this bill is a “made-in-Canada” law, which is pretty laughable, since everyone knows that it was pretty much written by US industry lobbyists.

Even the supposedly “pro-consumer” parts of the bill (which weren’t in the original version) have a lot of questionable fine print. And, of course, it looks like Prentice is using some procedural tricks to try to get the bill fast-tracked with as few opportunities to change it as possible. Hopefully, the expectations by some that this bill will be left to die come true. While there may be elements of Canada’s copyright law that need updating, creating a mini-DMCA is hardly a step in the right direction.

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Comments on “Canadian DMCA Introduced (Finally); Pretends US Lobbyists Had Nothing To Do With It”

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Craig (profile) says:

Canadian "copyright"

I hope that people will realize that this legislation came from a government that, at least in this instance, ignored ordinary Canadians.

We hate this bill, period. It proves how out of touch the government is regarding how media are consumed. I did my part and wrote a letter to my Member of Parliament to complain. I hope that many more Canadians will do the same.

Just look at the CBC.CA website and the number of comments this news article is getting. People are PISSED.

Keep the pressure on folks, it’s the only way to succeed!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Canadian "copyright"

Maybe all Canadians with internet connections should visit the pirate bay on a daily basis as retaliation. Thay cannot stop all of the torrent traffic, and cannot peak behind properly setup hardware firewalls. Screw all of what any DMCA says,and remember boys and girls:


John Wilson (profile) says:

Re: From the article

About the only procedural trick I can think of is to make this thing a vote of confidence which would, finally, bring down this government.

I can just see the Opposition gearing up to fight an election on this and knowing full well that they’ve been given an incredible gift.

And for any government the worst charge that can be made is that it’s doing the faithful bidding of the United States.

Defenders of the bill will find it impossible to deflect that simply because the bill is, for all practical purposes a cut and paste job on the US DCMA.

Editorial backers of the bill note that it has support in industry though you know without even looking that they are the same groups who support such actions in the United States. One software publisher so far and that would be Microsoft Canada.

This thing will be stuck in committee for months, I’ll bet and, if it looks as toxic to Tory strategists as it is looking now it will die on the order paper.

Regardless, if the Opposition plays this one correctly, it will be the end of this government.

That will be greeted by the sound of one hand clapping because what we’ll get is a Liberal minority and they’re no better than the Tories.



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