Canadian Industry Minister Admits He Breaks Copyright Law Frequently

from the but-will-the-new-bill-fix-it? dept

Michael Geist points us to an article about how Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement has admitted that, under current Canadian law, he breaks the law all the time -- mainly by transferring songs from CDs to his iPod, which is apparently not currently allowed under Canadian copyright law (something I did not know...). Clearly, Clement is bringing this up to show that Canadian copyright law has some serious problems, though it's amusing to note that, if this is accurate, it's yet another in the long list of ways that Canadian copyright law (despite claims to the contrary by US politicians and the entertainment industry) is actually significantly more favorable to copyright holders than US law.

That said, Clement is the guy who supposedly was fighting for more reasonable copyright law in Canada, but the rumor is that he lost that fight to Heritage Minister James Moore, who pitched a US-style law. We're still waiting for the official release of this new copyright proposal, but if it's true that Clement lost the fight for a more reasonable law, the reason he's bringing this up now is that the upcoming bill to change Canadian copyright law will add lots of things that the entertainment industry wants, but won't balance it out with more rights for consumers -- such as the basic right to place shift your legally purchased music.

Of course, when you have your own government officials admitting that they break copyright law regularly (and give a good reason for it), it should be obvious that it's time to fix the law. Unfortunately, if the rumors are true, the "fix" is only going to make things much worse.

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  1. icon
    Craig (profile), 28 May 2010 @ 2:09pm

    Proud to be Canadian...

    ...but it's sad when this kind of bullcrap shows up. The people who are currently in power are very ignorant of how the internet works, and they are also very friendly to corporations and lobbyists. Our Prime Minister runs the show...not his cabinet, nor his caucus. He's the boss. Do as I say or GTFO, not unlike the government in the province of BC and its Premiere.

    Add to that the fact that we have very little competition amongst the telcos/cable/internet/satellite providers -- who lobby hard in Ottawa to a friendly PM, resulting in a populace that is getting kicked in the collective nuts. We have very little innovation because of the monopolies. We have very high prices for the same reason. You'd think that there would be an organization in place to ensure the public is consulted and has a voice in all of this. Well, we have a watchdog organization like the FCC in the US called the CRTC. It's a watchdog, to be sure, if by 'watchdog' you mean a toothless chihuahua yipping at a pack of rottweilers.

    And this is the sickest part -- what do we Canucks do about this? Well, we bitch a lot, but most of us just keep paying the prices and do nothing to force those in charge to not ignore what the people want and actually come up with laws that make sense in the modern world.

    And sometimes we wonder why other countries pat us on the head like the cute little neighbour kid next door. Give us a cookie and a smack on the butt and send us home. Bah. When are we going to wake up and do something?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 May 2010 @ 2:37pm

    i wouldnt take the word of mr clement as anything more than heated air. i would ask for a legal opinion from a lawyer before i would trust him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 May 2010 @ 2:44pm

    I bet you industry lobbyists/officials and politicians all break most of the IP laws out there regularly, they just don't admit it publicly. The laws don't apply to them of course.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 May 2010 @ 2:47pm


    Wait, so we need a lawyer to tell us whether or not Clement is breaking the law?

    Exactly what point from Clement is it that you're contesting? Are you saying it's legal to copy audio CD's onto an Ipod in Canada?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 May 2010 @ 2:54pm

    Re: Re:

    the only reason in canada there is any question is because there is no blank media surcharge on mp3 devices at this point. otherwise, it would fall in the same fair dealing that personal copies fall into under what has come from the laws and the canadian courts. he could copy the tunes to blank cds and play them on his walkman cd player. the difference is at best a technicality that nobody is pressing as an issue. in fact, if you have the original cds in your possession at home, it is unlikely anyone is going to give a crap one way or the other.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Dean Landolt (profile), 28 May 2010 @ 2:56pm

    "significantly more favorable to copyright holders than US law"

    You should probably reword that -- that's a pretty big assumption (and one I know you'd disagree with).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    crade (profile), 28 May 2010 @ 3:18pm


    The laws don't apply to anyone in this case. They are just a mistake that everyone is ignoring instead of correcting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    crade (profile), 28 May 2010 @ 3:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    And the reason we need a blank media surcharge for private use of media we have already paid for is?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    crade (profile), 28 May 2010 @ 3:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    wait, let me guess.. to stop piracy right?

    1. We screwed up in the law, so activities everyone and their dog knows should be legitimate are infringing.
    2. Loss numbers are scewed as a result
    3. ???
    4. Since everyone knows these activities should be legitimate, everyone should have to pay a levy to compensate for these loss numbers (due to the skewed numbers from the mistake?) so we can allow the legitimate activities.
    5. levy

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Michael, 1 Jun 2010 @ 5:22am

    No one is concerned

    I don't know anyone in Canada that thinks twice about downloading music, movies games etc. from the internet. Most don't even hide it. I could care less personally what they enact, my computer is encrypted, and they can threaten me all they like, not as if they could actually prove anything in a Canadian court.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    David Rymes, 4 Jun 2010 @ 8:30am

    How come Tony Clement does not face charges

    for confessed law breaking
    Who can trust a confessed law breaker ?
    The pirate Tony Clement !

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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