It's Baaaaaack. Canadian DMCA On The Way

from the if-you-wait-long-enough,-maybe-people-will-forget dept

You may recall that last fall, Michael Geist notified the world that the Canadian government was about to announce a Canadian version of the DMCA, that was effectively a Hollywood wishlist of unnecessary copyright controls. The politician in charge of pushing this through, Jim Prentice, thought that he could get it approved quietly with no one noticing -- figuring that copyright is a boring subject that no one cares about. He was wrong. Thanks to Geist shining some sunlight on the bill, tens of thousands of individuals suddenly became quite vocal in opposition to the bill -- and even a bunch of big Canadian companies came out against the bill. Prentice delayed the bill, insisting that he would listen to consumer and business concerns... though there were never any open hearings or public discussions.

Instead, it looks like Prentice made a very minor change in the bill (allowing "time shifting") and then has waited for a convenient time to re-release the bill. It's expected that the bill will once again be introduced this coming Wednesday (just before Prentice is set to leave town). Once again, Michael Geist has all the details including what the likely talking points are in support of the bill... and why they're totally bogus. It sounds like Prentice is going to stick to the entirely false claim that Canada needs to approve this bill to meet its "international obligations" as found in various treaties it's signed. This is a common trick used by the entertainment industry and politicians to justify bad legislation. But, as Geist notes, Canada already is in compliance with the treaty in question. It's too bad Canada didn't follow the lead of other countries in standing up for the rights of its consumers.

In the meantime, as Geist notes, Prentice seems to think that this particular bill will sneak through again without much opposition. It's surprising that he thinks that, given what happened last time. But, if he's going to think people forget things that quickly, perhaps its time for Canadian citizens to make it clear that they don't forget, and they don't appreciate Prentice selling out their basic rights to folks in Hollywood who are too lazy to update their obsolete business models.

Filed Under: canada, copyright, dmca, jim prentice, michael geist

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  1. identicon
    John Wilson, 3 Jun 2008 @ 12:40pm

    Remember....there's an election coming

    Jim Prentice can bring this thing back all he wants. After it makes it past second reading, if it manages that before the Commons prorogues for the summer, and that's a HUGE if.

    For our American friends, we all need to remember that the Tories are a minority government and they do not control when the committee will sit that will look this bill over and what the schedule may be. Prentice may want it in the dog days of summer though my bet is that the Opposition will schedule it for just after Labour Day so that it gets maximum coverage before the House is called back for the fall sitting.

    While anything is possible given our Prime Minister, I can hardly think that they'll cast this bill as a matter of confidence in an effort to ram it through the Commons. I can't honestly see him campaigning on anything even remotely this bad.

    (Again for our American friends, if the Government loses a vote on a bill that they say is a matter of confidence there's close to a 100% chance we'll all be traipsing to the polls in late fall or early winter. Canadians have a habit of punishing Governments that pull that timing off by "tossing out the bums".)

    If it makes it past the Commons there's the Senate to consider who have been showing the odd flash of activity and sense recently. Surprising as that is!

    So it ain't over till the fat lady sings. More to the point it ain't over till the G-G signs the bill to bring it into force and until the Courts have their look at it.

    I can guarantee that one thing that will lead to serious opposition to this bill is the charge that as far as the MPAA/RIAA and Bush Administration are showing Canada is merely an extension, less than a colony even, of the United States. Seriously the wrong way to get any legislation passed.



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