Archive for February, 2012

Canadian Music Industry Takes Aim At Google, Facebook, Reddit & Tech Startups With Bill C-11 Demands

The steady procession of Canadian music industry representatives to the Bill C-11 committee continues today with the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) ready to add to an already long list of industry demands to completely overhaul the bill. The music industry demands keep growing, but CIMA’s list is the most radical to date as it would create liability risk for social networking sites, search engines, blogging platforms, video sites, aggregators, and many other websites featuring third party contributions. If that were not enough, the industry is also calling for a new iPod tax, an extension in the term of copyright, a removal of protections for user generated content, parody, and satire, as well as an increase in statutory damage awards. Taken together, the music industry demands make SOPA look like some minor tinkering with the law.

Note that industry had already called for SOPA-style reforms such as website blocking and expanded liability that could extend to sites such as YouTube before the hearings began. This week has seen an industry lawyer inaccurately portray global approaches to digital lock rules and a musician association demand full statutory damages of up to $20,000 per infringement for non-commercial infringements by individuals.

Those demands are nothing compared to what CIMA has in mind, however. Topping the list is a massive expansion of the enabler provision. The music industry wants to remove a requirement that the so-called pirate sites be “designed primarily” to enable copyright infringement. It states:

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February 29, 2012 39 comments News

CETA Hits a Snag Over Patent Provisions

The negotiations between Canada and the European Union appear to have hit a snag over patent law changes demanded by large pharmaceutical companies that could add billions of dollars to Canadian health care costs. While the government previously indicated that a deal would be concluded within months, Minister Ed Fast […]

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February 29, 2012 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

The Issues Surrounding Subscriber Information in Bill C-30

Christopher Parsons offers a detailed analysis of the issues around subscriber information, providing a persuasive case on the need for court oversight.

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February 29, 2012 2 comments Must Reads

Beyond NZ & Switzerland: How Dozens of Countries Have More Flexible Digital Lock Rules Than C-11

The Bill C-11 committee began its sprint to the finish yesterday, hearing from the first series of witnesses with plans to hold four hearings per week until mid-March followed by two weeks of clause-by-clause review of the bill. The first panel included my colleague Jeremy deBeer, who pointed out that a review of hundreds of articles on legal protection for digital locks shows consensus that the restrictive approach found in Bill C-11 is unnecessary for WIPO compliance and likely to result in unintended consequences.

The committee heard from another witness, lawyer James Gannon, that the absence of digital lock legislation is hurting our economy (a reminder that the Canadian digital music market has grown faster than the U.S. for five consecutive years, that Netflix chose Canada as its first foreign market, and the music industry now calls Canada a greenfield opportunity might be in order) and that New Zealand and Switzerland – both OECD countries who link circumvention to actual copyright infringement in their digital lock rules – were the only developed ones that don’t follow the “international standard” with many of the remaining 80 or so countries having “compliant or more robust standards” for digital locks.

Yet a review of dozens of countries that have implemented the WIPO Internet treaties demonstrates that this is plainly wrong. In addition to key allies that do not have any anti-circumvention rules (e.g. Israel), have proposed more flexible rules (e.g. India), or have adopted more flexible rules but have yet to ratify the WIPO Internet treaties (e.g. New Zealand), it is worth noting:

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February 28, 2012 9 comments News

Documentary Organization of Canada Proposes Exception to C-11 Digital Lock Rule

The Documentary Organization of Canada has proposed specific language for a new exception to the C-11 digital lock rules that would exempt circumvention for documentary film makers.

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February 28, 2012 1 comment Must Reads