The dispute over movie camcording in Canada has escalated further with the intervention late last week of two prominent U.S. Senators. Senators Dianne Feinstein and John Cornyn have written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to urge Canada to enact new anti-camcording legislation. The letter pulls out all the usual suspects – the 20th Century Fox claims that Canada is responsible for 50 percent of camcorded movies, the claims that Canadian copyright law is unable to deal with the issue, and the argument that Canadian camcordings are "higher quality."
The Senators also suggest that the alleged growth of Canadian camcording is a direct result of their U.S. anti-camcording legislation (ie. camcording moves north due to fear of the U.S. rules). Of course, they do not mention that the U.S. National Association of Theatre Owners has commented on the spread of camcording within the U.S. (then again, there is unsurprisingly no reference to data that calls into question the severity of the problem and its economic impact).
The letter concludes by warning that "if Canada does not criminalize illicit camcording, we are afraid that illegal pirating will continue to mushroom in your country." This issue continues to play out in an entirely predictable fashion – threats from U.S. movie studios, reports from U.S. lobby groups, and now letters from U.S. politicians. Up next will be a much harsher warning from the U.S. Trade Representative, which will cite these developments and follow the IIPA recommendations in its Section 301 Report that will be released next month.
Update: A reader notes that it isn't just the U.S. Senators who stepped up the pressure last week. U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins called on Canada to introduce copyright reform. Wilkins described Canada's copyright as the weakest in the G7.