The majority Conservatives on Monday defeated a motion raised by the Liberals to stop Bill C-11 from being sent to committee and effectively kill the bill. While the vote was a foregone conclusion, the motion highlights the political divide that has emerged on the current copyright bill. All opposition parties – NDP, Liberals, Bloc, and Greens – supported the motion which read:
“the House decline to give second reading to Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, because it fails to: ( a) uphold the rights of consumers to choose how to enjoy the content that they purchase through overly-restrictive digital lock provisions; (b) include a clear and strict test for â€œfair dealingâ€ for education purposes; and (c) provide any transitional funding to help artists adapt to the loss of revenue streams that the Bill would cause”.
C-11 will eventually receive second reading and go to committee as the government clearly has the votes to pass it unchanged. However, copyright should not be a partisan issue. There is scope for compromise on all of these issues:
- On digital locks, the solution advocated by the majority of stakeholders is to link circumvention to copyright infringement.
- On fair dealing, it is to codify the Supreme Court of Canada’s six factor fair dealing test.
- On revenue streams, it is to commit to extending current funding without the budget slashing planned elsewhere
I wrote about these issues over a year ago with the obvious roadmap for a compromise. The compromise remains much the same, but the bigger question is now whether the government is open to it.