Tomorrow is Canadian DMCA Day

The government just announced that it will unveil the copyright reform bill – complete with the "Made in Canada Copyright Reform" spin – tomorrow morning (likely as Bill C-61).

Update: The National Post with coverage of what may be in store for Canadians. Further coverage from the Canadian Press and the CBC.


  1. The Con party should wait one more day for Friday 13th. After all, it is bound to be a house of horrors.

  2. Media Lockup

    Once the media lock-up has begun, no one will be allowed to leave the room or contact his/her office until the embargo is lifted. Journalists will be required to sign an undertaking to respect the release arrangements.

    Wireless communication devices such as cellular phones, BlackBerrys, personal digital assistants or any other removable wireless communication devices (including modems, air cards and wireless microphones) will not be allowed in the lock-up area.”

    Is trhis a standard thing to do when unveiling a new bill?

  3. Again?
    Why are we reforming copyright again? Consider that the levy against blank media is supposed to be going to prop up industry agencies like the CRIA, and more likely than not those monies (literally, our taxes) are being funneled to groups like the RIAA and MPAA. For what purpose? Let me see if I can get this logic correct: We pay a tax to the CRIA, who probably gives it to the {RI,MP}AA, who in turn uses it to hire lawyers to SUE THEIR OWN CUSTOMERS, and pay lobbyists to bribe politicians into making the laws harsher. I’m doing everything I can from exploding in a vitriolic list of curse words. I would certainly like it explained as to why I’m paying a tax to get sued and have American laws imposed in Canada. There are questions of our sovereignty at stake. Why are American trade groups influencing Canadian laws? There are many examples of this, like: how many Canadians know that the American DEA (That’s right, Drug Enforcement Administration) have offices in Vancouver (and I heard Ottawa too, but I don’t know that for sure)? I could go on and on about the litany of failure that the Harper government is, but it seems to be of no use. Dion realizes that right now the scales are too evenly balanced to call an election. We would actually be risking a Conservative majority – and these Conservatives would have devastating consequences for the things that Canadians believe in. Remember that Harper said the following statements in a speech to a George Bush-connected American Conservative think tank in 1997:

    “Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it”

    “if you’re like all Americans, you know almost nothing except for your own country. Which makes you probably knowledgeable about one more country than most Canadians”

    I apologize, my disdain for our current government slips through sometimes, and I’ve digressed from the point:

    Why would Canada, having already resolved the issue of copyright via a new tax be on board in any way? I purchase a pile of blank CDs to copy Linux onto, and give away to my friends. Not only am I out the cost of the discs (which I’m fine with if it speeds up Linux adoption) but I am thereby paying a tax for the music I’m allegedly pirating to a group who is undeserving of said monies – as the materials placed on that disc are unrelated to what the tax is intended for.

  4. Finally
    Finally! We get to see what this bill really has to offer. I for one am tired of all the speculation and dodging of the issue from the right. Now we can see this piece of legislation in plain view and have the politicians account for their direction.

    In response to Spencer’s question media lock-up’s are quite common in the Canadian legislative process. They have been used for the yearly budgets ([ link ]) for many years. I believe it is just to control the message so that they can’t be prempted by any other groups (oddly enough, I believe thats what happened in December).

    Now that we will have something concrete to debate, the road to rallying MP’s and citizens to balanced copyright will be that much easier.

    Here’s to a happy DCMA day.

  5. Dwight Williams says:

    Here We Go…
    Happy for its sensible opponents, one hopes…

  6. Media Lockup- Unusual
    While a media lockup is normal for a budget (so that people can not take unfair economic advantage as a result of proposed tax changes)it is fairly unusual for non taxation/monetary Bills.

    I’d have to read the lock-up as an attempt to control the spin on this issue. Good news is that they must be at least a little concerned.

  7. Bill Chalmers says:

    Will this be a confidence bill I wonder?

    One less PC voter here, and I have convinced my entire family and social network to vote otherwise based on this bill alone. Pretty sad that out of all the current political goings on that this one hits me the closest to home. I really think that Prentice is underestimating how hated this bill will be with the under 40 crowd. Talk about generational differences…man!

  8. Are they serious???
    Is this minority government serious about ramming a foreign industry wish list upon Canadian? I do hope that the opposition parties have the guts to stand for Canadians, not foreigners.

    Somebody bring in an election so we can, this time, completely destroy this party of nominally traitors to our society.

  9. Live Stream?
    Is there anywhere we can watch this live online?

  10. Aaron Clausen says:

    Yes They Are Seriuos
    Yes, the Conservatives are serious. They managed to push through some very bad immigration legislation, and because the Liberals are currently very terrified of going to the polls, they’ve basically turned the Conservatives into an effective majority government.

    Look for some bad, anti-consumer legislation and little or no chance for the Opposition to dare toppling the government. Let’s also remember that the Liberals were preparing their own anti-consumer copyright legislation before they’re own collapse, so I doubt there’s anyone in their caucus who is going to lose any sleep over letting this one slide on through.

    Isn’t it lovely. By next year, we’re likely to see MediaSentry up here delivering the IP addresses of photocopiers and little old ladies to the media giants.

  11. Forgive my ignorance on how government works but what does tabling a bill mean? Do they present it and then vote on the matter or is it simply introduced and made law? Basically, is this going to become law or is there still a possibility it could be scrapped?

  12. Imagine if the Cons had a majority
    How disastrous for Canadians that would be!

    I never liked Dion, but Liberals are getting my vote next election. At least they don’t sell out the country.

  13. Bill Chalmers says:

    “I never liked Dion, but Liberals are getting my vote next election. At least they don’t sell out the country”

    You should do a a google search for Sarmite Bulte; she was the reason I didn’t vote for the Libs last time around.

  14. I hate the Cons
    If this passes, my vote won’t go to the Conservatives. It’ll go to someone else who would rather stand up for Canadian sovereignty then to let American interests govern us.

  15. Ted from Rural Ontario says:

    Copyright Act Submission
    Well, I know that there must be a number of Conservative politician and staffers reading this, and this is all I’ll say:

    If this negatively affects Canadians by turning people like my parents, kids and myself into criminals for what was just fine yesterday, the conservatives will lose the next election.

    Doing such a thing is pretty much political suicide.

  16. I hate the Cons…too
    another vote lost for the cons… mine!

  17. Phuong Nguyen says:

    Sad Day for Canada.
    We should make a group to see how many people will not vote for the Cons, I want to see how many votes they will lose, I, my family, my class, my school, my work place, will not vote for the Cons this time around if this bill passes, as we are not conserving our way of living, we are changing it to assimilate into what the americans want.

  18. “You should do a a google search for Sarmite Bulte; she was the reason I didn’t vote for the Libs last time around.”

    Oh god, I cannot believe I forget about her.

    What is it with these politicians wanting to turn ordinary people into criminals? Prisons are a huge growth industry in the US so maybe the Con party wants to imitate that successful American industry as well.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Tomorrow is the day when the conservatives shoot themselves in the foot. Vote for anybody but them. New dmca and nothing will change the views of canadians. The term fair use is obsolete.

  20. Vishal Malik says:

    An answer for Elroy

    When a bill is tabled in either house of the Parliament (the House of Commons or the Senate), it is voted upon by the members of the house several times. If it passes with a majority of the votes every time, it moves to the second house where a similar procedure is followed. Only after it has been passed by both houses does it become a law.

    This is why Canada is a democratic country, since a legislation becomes law only if it is approved by a majority of the MPs elected by Canadians as their representatives.

    So, to answer your question, the Conservatives’ tabling of this bill does not necessarily mean it will become a law.

    Some more information if you want:

    Some bills in the Parliament are considered a matter of confidence .i.e if that bill is defeated in the voting process, the government falls and an election is called. The annual budget is one such bill. Also, the government has the discretion of declaring any bill as a matter of confidence.

    The Liberals have been abstaining to vote on certain bills these days because those bills were a matter of confidence, and they do not want to provoke an election by defeating them.

    Feel free to ask any more questions on the parliamentary process. For more information, you can refer to [ link ].

  21. What will the Liberals do?
    The only way this can pass is if the Liberals back it too. It’s all up to Stéphane.

  22. Vishal Malik says:

    Other Choices
    For the people debating over whether Liberals are any better than the Conservatives over consumer rights and other issues, I’d like to remind that, compared to the US, we’re fortunate to have more political choice in Canada. What about the NDP and the Greens?

  23. I believe Jim Prentice is about to look for a new job after he introduced the bill.

  24. No Conservatives or Liberals
    Perhaps I’m just cynical when it comes to Liberals, but they seem just as corporate friendly as the Conservatives.. they’re just open about it. In my opinion we should give NDP a chance this time around.

  25. What is vital is to focus on the property rights being taken away by an DMCA like legislation. By criminalizing tools that remove DRM, they criminalize:

    putting music you bought on your iPod, that you own,
    putting movies you bought on your iPod, that you own,
    playing DVDs you bought abroad,
    playing DVDs you bought, on your linux PC, that you own,

    It’s vital that the Conservatives, and Prentice understand that taking away our property rights is just not right, not fair, and not a vote winner. It’s a vote looser. How are those Conservative MPs going to feel when newspapers across the land have it pointed out that the local MP voted to make criminals of ordinary media purchasing citizens. I’d say – “never get elected again.”

  26. It’s raining in the desert.
    This just ensures that the big money continues to make the big money.

    I wish I could be in a business where the government(by the threat of imprisonment or fines)ensures that my business makes a continual and ridiculously hefty profit year after year.

    If you made money selling water in the desert and it suddenly started raining. Too fucking bad. Find a new business. The rest of us have to.

  27. Mr. Geist, since you’re the expert, what is the plan of attack at this point to block this bill from passing?

    Sitting around signing online petitions obviously is NOT working, and never did.

    I cant believe our own governments turned out to be spineless idiots who are controlled by select Hollywood billionaires. Did i read properly that only TWO american politicians backed by hollywood interests caused this mess, and the mess that is coming at the Tokyo conference in July?

    Who are the men behind these 2 american politicians, maybe they should be investigated.

  28. Yawn
    While I agree that there is a copyright issue, I doubt that tomorrow will bring anything good to the table. It’s impossible to enforce a US-like policy fairly (if at all) and I really hope that they see that. How many file sharers are still kicking in the US? As for the Internet providers ‘monitoring’ … how much extra will we have to pay for that ‘service’? And how long before the theme changes and people adapt? It’s bound to happen. We need to stop running around in circles for corporate interest. A tax-like proposal is the only logical step at this time and they should spend time and resources finding a solution, not covering-up the issue. The second that bill becomes law, it will be obsolete.

  29. 2004 ruling makes this illegal
    >A tax-like proposal is the only logical step at this >time and they should spend time and resources finding a >solution, not covering-up the issue. The second that >bill becomes law, it will be obsolete.

    We already pay a levy on all blank media. The existing levy is what persuaded the judge from 2004 to decriminalize music filesharing.

    Technically, this bill should not pass.

  30. Rod
    I think we just need to black mail all the elected officals.
    we plant all our old memory cards loaded with MP3s and hide them in their yards, taped under their cars, what ever.
    so if they pass poor legislation we can say “hey I know for a fact there is at least 2000 MP3s hiding under his front porch. and another 30k songs on the roof.

  31. Reform is good, This will be bad!
    I do think we need a better system for rewarding artists for their creative works. When we download movies, shows, and music without paying for it we are hurting the artists and stifling creativity.

    My question, however, is why do we let a single industry force this legislation down the government’s throat? Why doesn’t Canada say, no guys you have to figure out a better way to do this.

    What about:
    (1) micro payment systems
    (I download and want to reward as I see fit.)

    (2) license transfer allowances
    (I owned the DVD but it is scratched, give me a new one for free! My license still stands.)

    (3) media independent licenses
    (I own the CD, I get the MP3s free from the web)

    (4) REAL pay-per-use TV programming and REAL a-la-carte broadcast.
    (no massive package deals that make it cost ineffective to think of buying 3 channels).

    (5) Automatic creative use licenses. I can cut a magazine up and use pictures in collage art. Why can’t I have the automatic right to do the same thing with music and be able to re-release at a reasonable cost? Artistic integrity is BS.

    (6) Affordable licensing fees for podcasting. I have some songs I like, why can’t I broadcast them to my small group of friends for a price we can actually afford.

    Basically if the market, not the government, was allowed to force the media companies to find new licensing schemes I think we’d be much better off.

    Media companies: I want to pay! I will only pay for something that I can then actually use as I want to use it. If I can’t use it as I see fit, why should I pay for it? Wake up and listen to the customers, are we not always right?

    Conservatives: Do this right or my vote is going back across the floor. Consult the people (esp. the youth) on this, don’t just listen to a few billionaires.

  32. Is it fair to ask where the money went? From what I remember when I first read about cd levy. It was supposed to go to the artists. I know a few of them that never got a cent. Someone correct me if I am wrong about that.

  33. I was under impression that only people hurt by downloading are artists that are a) self published (very few of those) or b)movie/music industry. Artists get pennies on the cd sold we all know that music industry is a form of slavery and nothing else. Movie stars are paid before they even get on the set and they don’t see anything from sales of dvd for the most part. Unless they licensed some move merchandise or something similar.

    Don’t get me wrong downloading is both bad and good. I’ve gone and ordered music from the artists’ site after being able to listen to their cds somewhere online, be that streaming or allowed downloading.

    I will always support innovation. And this bill aims to stifle it.

  34. Just in time for the Canadian launch of the Zune? 😉

  35. John Again says:

    Do the artists get the money?
    Everyone knows the artist gets very little money when it comes right down to it. The industry wants you to think it’s the artists that starve if you don’t buy the media “legitimately”. It’s just a public relations campaign by the big media cartels. Would you really care if you knew that majority of the hard earned money that you spent on that compact disc (that only has two good songs on it), was for company lawyers and other “industry” people that have too much money already. The artist gets a very small piece of the pie if they get anything at all. Please stop the whole artist compensation argument. If the media industry was not a cartel, artists would have more money in their pockets instead of their digital pimps.

  36. Anonymous says:

    “Basically if the market, not the government, was allowed to force the media companies to find new licensing schemes I think we’d be much better off. ”

    Well if they want goverment regulation to ensure their profits, hell let’s give it to them. But let’s give them goverment regulation up the A$$. Put a cap on the $ earned by a copyright ‘product’, after the cap ismet the product is either public domain or the $ goes to fund up an coming artists. I mean after all it’s all being done for the artists benifiet right.

  37. I’ll be importing my blank media from the US to circumvent paying the levy. The levy really shouldn’t be enforced if this C-61 comes to pass. I mean, CRIA and their goons would be effectively double dipping – all the free levy money AND getting the chance to sue the public. Great idea!

    It’s a foregone conclusion to everyone I’ve talked to – enjoy what’s left of your time in office, Prentice and Co. You just signed your defeat at the next election, which I hope comes soon so I can get then Conservative jackals out. I’d even consider Jack or the Greens. I’d even overlook Dion’s English (it’s marginally more understandable than Chrétien’s).

  38. Tom Bill
    What truly worries me is they had to know this wouldn\’t normally pass in a minority government.

    Which means this is either hot air to make certain companies think they tried or they already bribed ,blackmailed enough votes to get it to pass.

    Some of this like unlocking phones makes no sense at all unless you look at it from the big business side were you are no forced to buy a new phone when you change carriers.

  39. best shine up those jackboots for the reichwing. too bad harper doesn’t realize following the bushites is a losing proposition.
    By the way – the one teen who can vote is angry and the other who is just about to turn voting age is also not a happy camper.
    Both are now anything but tory supporters and never will be by the talk I hear.

  40. Gambling on the Liberals
    “What truly worries me is they had to know this wouldn’t normally pass in a minority government.”

    They’re gambling that the Liberals will stay true-to-form, and abstain on this one.

    Quite frankly, I’m tired of pretending that any civil debate over this issue is possible. Jim Prentice is a whore, pure and simple, and I think that label probably applies to the rest of Harper’s thugs. The veil of secrecy over this government is despicable. I can’t help but wonder if something like this–which no one in Canada wants, including the people who its supposedly helping–is in the public eye, what DON’T we know about?

    Jim Prentice: The Honourable Member for Disney.

  41. Media Lock-up
    Prof. Geist, will you be registering for the media lock-up? You are a member of the press, after all. I’d love to hear the kind of spin they are playing for the media in this lock-up..

  42. French-Spaeking Press
    What is most depressing to me is the fact that I could not find good coverage in any french-speaking press. The only article I could find is titles “Ottawa to stop illegal downloading”… If this was ONLY about downloading music/video, I would not even care. This is about cultural lock-down.

    If this bill included DCMA-style laws about circumvention, I will make any sort of warranty-break rules into law: Because you can only use the device for the original intended purpose, or you are a criminal… Great. As if the RCMP didn’t have their hands full already…

  43. Today’s agenda
    I just went on the Parliament website and looked at today’s agenda. Nowhere does it mention “An act to amend the Copyright Act”. Is it because this will be in lock-up that it doesn’t appear on the agenda?

  44. Rob Wiebe says:

    French Speaking Press
    David, here ya go, dude;

    [ link ]

    [ link ]

    [ link ]

  45. Dave Jenkins says:

    Did public consultation begin or end with the tabling of this bill?

  46. Your site was down!?!?
    Hey dude, your site was down, I was not able to acess it around noon until now, is there anyone interfering with your site precisely today?!?!?!?!?!?

  47. Ben Green says:

    My Rights
    Yesterday I spent about $100 between two bluray movies for my Dad for fathers day and the Simpson’s season 10. I took the Simpsons episodes and ripped them to my computer to put them on my iPod Touch, using DVD43 and Handbrake programs. Not only would this probably be illegal with the new bill becuase i went around the encryption, it would probably mean I could no longer record TV shows to watch later and rip CDs to my iPod! There is simply no way I will stand for this. I have already wrote my MP and have told everyone I know about this to do the same. I legally acquire nearly every bit of music and video I have and they have no right to tell me what to do with it after I have bought it.

  48. Full text of bill now available
    Read it and weep here: [ link ]


    DO YOU want to stop this law

    DO YOU?
    LET THEM GIVE ME 5.5 years in jail per download
    LET them give me life in prison for something 30 years old

  50. scott philip says:

    lost my vote
    I’m politically center and the conservatives just lost any chance of ever getting my vote. That’s the quickest way for me to sum up my opinion.

  51. What action can we take?
    Please, please let us know what action we can take on this bill. While it is useful to know what the government is up to, it would be even more helpful to know what we can to discourage the government from passing this bill.