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What the Govt Rejected in the C-11 Amendments: Access for the Blind, Cloud-Based Services & More

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.

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27 Comments

  1. At this point we can only hope that the SCC has more common sense than the Conservatives….

    Sadly it shouldn’t take a load of court battles just to strike down this nonsense that should NOT be passing in the first place.

  2. Honestly I’m ashamed to be a Canadian today, we’re all just puppets on a string to the United States corporate interests…..

    Don’t listen to the warm yellow kool-aid from Barry Sookman, Music Canada and countless other so-called “Canadian” industries (which are really just Canadian fronts for their U.S. operations).

  3. Digital locks has a voting constituency
    Tories may be underestimating the politics of their unconditional love of digital locks. The recent US backlash on hyperactive Congressional initiatives should encourage NDP to make a big deal of this.

  4. I see MPA Canada is spewing a ton of propaganda on twitter about how filming in Canada is creating so many jobs, but they’re forgetting that the only reason why they actually film in Canada in first place is because its CHEAPER TO PRODUCE IT HERE IN CANADA THAN IN THE UNITED STATES….

    See its all about money in the end, yet they’re trying to use jobs as a justification for draconian copyright legislation….

  5. CommieCowboy says:

    Civil disobedience…
    Abusive practices by the entertainment industries against consumers and unjust laws being passed by governments of all ideology (except perhaps the far-left and the Swedish Moderate Party) make the non-commercial acquisition and distribution of copyrighted media to be a legitimate form of civil disobedience.

  6. ….
    “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.”

    This bill must be taken to court seriously because they’re going to kill innovation if passed like this I just can’t believe how stubborn CONS are and just won’t listen, I’m so upset this is outrageous we either get rid of these guys somehow now or something has to give. eH!

  7. Curious if this will make it to the senate, and then get all the amendments proposed added there.


  8. Ki, I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.

    I wonder what reason the US will use to keep us on the Special 301 now. It amazes me the complete disregard for the Canadian people this government has!!! Oh well, I guess I’ll have to start ripping my DVDs in protest…DVD Decrypter here I come. I just bought a 9TB NAS that’s screaming to be filled. ๐Ÿ˜›

    In all seriousness though, this is isn’t going to affect the average person hardly at all. Ripping/decryption tools are easily available, a vast majority of the population considers format/time shifting (God I hate that terminology) completely fair use and has been ingrained in to our culture (By the industry itself) since the 80’s with the introduction of the VCR and cassette recorder…both, of which were going to be the end of their respective industries. Our kids are growing up in a culture where it’s not only easy to perform these tasks…it’s expected. PVRs, iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, etc., etc., etc. While there aren’t many services here in Canada, there are abroad and they’re easily accessed with easily attained free proxies. The industry has lost this battle. Like candle makers and type-writer manufacturers…it’s time to evolve. If ever a legislation, or at least a portion of legislation, was doom to fail, this is it. It will be a colossal failure, which so many unintended consequences…much like DMCA and HADOPI.

    The worst consequence this bill will have though, will be the chilling affect it will have have on the digital media industry in Canada. We’re probably 10 years behind most of the developed world. In another 10 years, we probably won’t be much further ahead than we are now. This is a sad day for Canada. Bring on SCC.

  9. @IamME
    I was more poking fun at the fact that they got the crime bill they passed amended in the senate because they rejected a Liberal amendment that they decide they wanted to have after they rejected it. It’s m ore a comment on how they seem to reject anything from the opposition on principle rather than merit.

  10. @Ki
    Ahhh. I missed, what should have been, the obvious sarcasm. It’s too early for crappy news. ๐Ÿ˜› Personally I think they’ll amend it right before the next general election so they can try to look like the big heroes.

  11. Russell McOrmond says:

    Off to the Senate…
    “before the bill heads to the House of Commons.” => “before the bill heads to the Senate” ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. im curious could the governor general veto a bill that she finds uncontitutional or no?

  13. @zb
    He probably could refuse to give Royal Assent to a bill that he finds unconstitutional, however the only bit that, as far as I’m aware, may be found unconstitutional is the bit about not having an exception related to people with perceptional disabilities… and even in that case I am not sure about that… what I have in mind specifically is if an audio or braille version of a book is published at the same time as the paper and/or electronic copy of the book. In any case, this wouldn’t be the first time that a Supreme Court challenge resulted in a law, in whole or in part, being declared invalid by the Supreme Court.

    With respect to the topic at hand, if one assumes the position that the digital lock provisions are there to offset the increased fair use provisions, then the rejection of the proposed amendments in that circumstance would make sense since the amendments affect the balance between creator and consumer rights. In the case of the perceptual disabilities proposed amendment, this affects both those with the disabilities but also the creator, since they lose that demographic as a potential revenue source. In this case, it comes down to a decision as to if not providing a format that can be used by people with the disability constitutes discrimination or not (and by extension, not providing, for instance, a non-braille version discriminates against the sighted, since most sighted people don’t read braille).

  14. Lawful Access
    Tell your MP to stand with Canadians against warrantless online spying

    http://openmedia.ca/StandWithUs

    If any bill that will kill the CONS support with everyone will be this one.

  15. @Anon-K
    It was my understanding the constitutionality issues arise from the fact the blanket digital lock rules, without linking them to actual infringement, affect personal property, which is provincial jurisdiction and have no place in federal law.

    Am I wrong here?

  16. >
    How many more stops until royal accent?

  17. Anarchist Philanthropist says:

    How do we actually stop it at this point, and I mean “we” as in the collective voice of Canada?

  18. DiscordMelody says:

    At least the third reading debate and Senate vote are not scheduled yet, fingers crossed that it will not be before the summer.

  19. Ugachite says:

    Everyone! While the Senate vote and third reading is not scheduled yet, we must storm Parliament and get our voices heard! For those in Ontario flock to the House and Commons and target Harper to show that rejecting the amendments of the NDP, Liberals, Green Party, and the Bloc was an unconstitutional error upon our freedoms and rights. We must stop his thugs from advocating corporate interests and start to care for the near 100% of us!

  20. Ugh.
    This government is all about doing what the USA wants. The USA is killing their gun registry and so are we. They are passing stupid copyright acts and so are we.

    I don’t see how they can seek to limit how environmental groups advertise because they think they are getting funding from the USA, when the corporations in Canada are able to lobby the Canadian Government with money from the USA. Doesn’t seem fair.

    This copyright act is bad, and once it passes we might as well be Americans.

  21. Gah!!!! Why does everybody say “link circumvention to infringement”? That is absolutely the *LAST* thing you’d want them to do because they can, to put it bluntly, *DIRECTLY* link any circumvention to infringement by adding a new provision to copyright law that considers any unauthorized circumvention of copy protection to be a category of copyright infringement.

    I know I’m probably being pedantic, but really, what is actually meant is to link circumvention to what is *OTHERWISE* copyright infringement, and that is what should be getting said, because otherwise I can just envision a scenario where the conservatives effectively pretend to concede on this issue, pronouncing their allegedly benevolent intentions to give the people what Canadians are asking for, when in reality they aren’t actually giving us what we really want at all.

    I know that being brief with regards to these sorts of change recommendations is good, but for something like this, I think it’s much more important to spend the extra few words it takes to unambiguously clarify the intent behind a request than it is to leave a gaping loophole in a request where the letter of the request could possibly be satisfied while actually accomplishing almost the polar opposite of what was actually being desired.

  22. How horrid is this new “copyright modernization
    act” in terms of fairness towards the consumer.
    US citizens shot down SOPA, and if our citizens
    who own websites, or are just plain web surfers
    have the guts, they should be able to put some
    heat on the Cons to pull the plug on this awful
    piece of legislation.

    Please help us, Supreme Court Of Canada against
    this traitorous bunch, the Conservative “Corporative”
    party of Canada! We don’t need to have to have this
    draconian piece of crap, to be in line with the
    WIPO internet treaties.

    SCC, Anonymous, anyone.. please get this Bill C-11
    off the table!

  23. Passing of bill would hurt big ISP’s
    I’m going to tell you what I’m going to do
    if this bill passes. First off, go to a lower
    tiered internet. Am I going to pay $60 monthly
    to just surf web pages and check my e-mails?
    Uhh, not likely. I can just buy a newspaper
    if I want to read the news that badly.

    I can live without Facebook. It sure as heck
    isn’t worth $60 CDN monthly.

    I don’t know about everyone else, but is
    high speed express from Rogers, or whatever
    for Bell worth the money it currently costs,
    just to go to Slam news/sports, Facebook,
    check your e-mails for what you’re currently
    paying? Not for me it sure isn’t!

  24. Pc
    Pc party has always been puppets of the USA. We have always hated it. Thats why the party didn’t exist after the free trade agreement. Now we have a new generation of brainless voters who need to rethink their choices.

  25. @JJ

    You’re not kidding. This party isn’t for
    the little guy. It’s a party that represents
    the rich and powerful. The big corps and banks
    must really love the Cons. They suckered in
    the middle class by throwing them little bones,
    like the “home tax credit” to help sway the
    vote towards them. Otherwise, it’s the big
    players who receive the most from the
    Conservatives.

    They only got in power because the Liberal
    party was in shambles, and a lot of others
    were afraid the NDP would put too much into
    social programs, leaving the upper middle
    class to rich in the cold. Like they’d have
    to worry. lol

    Never mind that the NDP had balanced budgets
    in Governments they ran out in the western
    Provinces. And some always bring up Bob
    Rae as an example of how bad an NDP run
    country would be. Rae came in at a horrible
    time. Canada’s economy was in terrible shape
    when he first arrived.

  26. Don’t ask your MP (non-CPC)
    Don’t ask your MP what their position on C-11 is. Ask what they are going to do about it once the Harper government will be defeated in the next elections.

  27. A True Canadian says:

    Back to the Dark Ages
    If this bill passes, computer sales and Internet Service Providers are going to lose billions in revenue because canadians won’t stand for this! Living under draconian laws and living under the threat of “Big Brother”. People will be so sick of having these ridiculous bills shoved down their throats that people will simply shutdown their computers and get off the government controlled internet! Don’t think Microsoft or Macintosh will take too kindly to their stocks plummeting as people stop upgrading their computers and revert back to simpler lifestyles free from the now government monitored technology and their absolutely atrocious culling of the canadian population through their “total control” policies! It’s truly sad to see the “leaders” of the country I love, the true north strong and free, allow this bill to pass. We are NOT the USA, this is NOT the CANADIAN WAY!