The Montreal Gazette has published its masthead editorial on Bill C-11, the reintroduced copyright bill. The Gazette (rightly in my view) says “for the most part the Copyright Modernization Act strikes a good balance between the rights of consumers to use products they buy and those of copyright-holders who are entitled to due compensation for their creations.” It notes one caveat, however:
Less welcome, and the sticking point in previous attempts to pass this bill, is the blanket provision against breaking digital locks, even for purposes of personal use. This includes picking a lock on a DVD purchased overseas to watch at home, or transferring a purchased e-book to read to another personal device. The bill provides for $5,000 fines for even the smallest such violations.
This provision was apparently included as a result of heavy pressure from U.S. authorities and in the interest of maintaining cross-border trade and exemption from protectionist measures that would prevent Canadian firms from bidding on U.S. government procurement contracts. It is unlikely that there will be many prosecutions under this article as long as violations are committed in the privacy of people’s homes and not for any commercial purpose, but it is still a niggling restriction that caves in to the U.S. at the expense of the right of average Canadians to do what they wish to with their own property for their own enjoyment.