Bill C-11, the copyright reform bill, passed the report stage yesterday, leaving only a third reading debate and vote before the bill heads to the House of Commons. While many good elements in the bill remain intact, it is worth noting what the Conservatives voted against by opposing every amendment proposed by the NDP, Liberals, Green Party, and Bloc at committee and at report stage. Proposed amendments that were defeated included:
- link circumvention to copyright infringement so that Canadians could continue to exercise their fair dealing rights in the digital environment
- address a flaw in digital lock exception on perceptual disabilities that may restrict the ability of blind to circumvent a digital lock to access a work
- create a new notice requirement for the inclusion of digital locks
- create a new qualified circumventer system, similar to that found in New Zealand, so that those Canadians without the technical ability to circuvent a digital lock in permitted circumstances can do so
- add a new digital lock exception to protect minors
- remove the digital lock restrictions for time shifting and backup copies
- create a system to allow the Copyright Board to create new digital lock exceptions
- amend the network services provision so that providers can offer network-based PVRs and other cloud computing services. As it currently stands, the bill may create legal risks for such cloud-based storage services.
- change the restriction on digital interlibrary loans by requiring a notification of restrictions (including an ability to use a work for more than five business days) rather than the need to take measures to stop restricted activity
- remove the 30 day destruction requirement on lessons for teachers and students that use that new exception
None of these amendments were radical or undermined the goals of the legislation. There is much to like in Bill C-11 but the defeat of provisions designed to improve access for the blind, preserve fair dealing, enhance education, and open the door to innovative services hardly seems like something to celebrate.