Did Canadian Politicans Give In To Hollywood's Demands On Copyright Reform?

from the the-hollywood-lobby-works dept

It looks like the Canadian battle over camcording in movie theaters was merely a prelude to the main show concerning copyright reform. If you don't remember, Hollywood lobbyists made a strong show earlier this year trying to convince Canadian politicians that camcording movies was a huge problem in Canada demanding much stricter laws. The problem was that the numbers that the lobbyists were tossing out (and which many in the press repeated without question) simply weren't true. Both the threat and the current condition of Canadian laws were exaggerated. Yet, it worked. Canada did, indeed, pass a much stricter law concerning camcording in theaters, despite little evidence that it would make the slightest difference or that it was even needed.

However, the bigger prize is a broad copyright reform act in Canada -- and having successfully walked politicians down the road before, it appears those same lobbyists may have done so again. Michael Geist reports that Canada is about to announce its latest copyright reform bill and it's a dreamlist of everything that the entertainment industry desires: DMCA-like anti-circumvention laws, retaining the private copying levy, no flexible fair use/fair dealing rules, no parody exception, no time-shifting exception (out, out, damn TiVo) and many others. The details aren't out yet, so it may be a bit premature to discuss this. However, Geist tends to have good sources on these things, and he's worried that this Hollywood dream bill will get fast tracked with little opportunity for people to speak up and complain that their rights are being taken away in favor of a number of big corporations and that the types of things that encourage new innovation and content creation are actually stifled by these types of draconian laws. Therefore, it makes sense for people to at least start making some noise now to get others aware of what is possibly in this bill and make it clear to the politicians that they won't stand for such a one-sided law.
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Filed Under: canada, copyright, reform

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  1. identicon
    Russell McOrmond, 28 Nov 2007 @ 7:05pm

    Getting active in Canada.

    I'm the host for digital-copyright.ca , a citizens forum aimed at helping fellow Canadians get involved in copyright revision. If we don't get active and make sure MPs know that this bill is a bad idea, it is a done deal. Canada has been receiving massive pressure from primarily US special interests (major label recording industry, major studio motion picture industry, USPTO, USTR, US ambassador, etc), so it will take a massive number of Canadians clearly stating how this direction is wrong.

    Note: Canadian law isn't going to loose copyright exceptions for parody -- we simply never had them. The reality is that there are many ways that Canadian law is already far "stronger" (in favor of copyright holders) than US law, contrary to what the various industry associations commonly lie about. Heck, if the Sony Betamax case is ever tested in Canada we would likely find out that VCR's and modern variations like ViVO's are all illegal in Canada. Fortunately this hasn't been tested, and Canadians can blissfully ignore some of the nasty aspects of our already excessive copyright act.

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