Canadian DMCA Introduced; Digital Lock Provision Trumps Any And All User Rights
from the with-this-lock,-i-control-all dept
As was widely expected, Canadian politicians have introduced their version of the DMCA, dubbed the “Copyright Modernization Act” (or Bill C-32 if you want to get technical). Michael Geist runs down the good and the bad at the link above, but it appears there’s a lot more that’s bad than good. While the plan tries to add “balance” by extending fair dealing provisions just slightly wider than before (though, still pretty limited), it undermines that very concept with a heavy anti-circumvention clause. This is the worst aspect of the DMCA exported north to Canada. Basically, as long as a rights holder puts some form of DRM/copy protection on their work, all those exceptions go out the window. You can’t circumvent, even for non-infringing reasons.
What this does is change the basic contours of copyright law. It gives the rights holders the ability to define the exceptions, and take away the right of users. It’s this very aspect of the DMCA that needs to be fixed, not expanded to other countries. It goes against the core principles of copyright law, which include exceptions for the sake of important modes of expression. By letting the rights holder determine what is and what is not allowed as an exception, simply by letting the rights holder put any kind of digital lock (no matter how weak) is a travesty of copyright law. It’s not copyright law at all, at that point. It’s really a law to lockdown content away from the public, and to have the government declare a particular business model as supreme and protected by the government.