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Michael Geist's Blog

The Government's "10,000 Consultations" on Copyright

Last week's House of Commons copyright debate on Bill C-11 included a curious comment from Industry Minister Christian Paradis, who, in trying to demonstrate the amount of debate that went into the bill, stated that "more than 10,000 consultations have been held across Canada." The "10,000 consultations" claim made it onto the Hill Times front page article on the bill titled "House Set to Pass Controversial Copyright Bill Next Week, After 10,000 Consultations."

The problem with the "10,000 consultations" claim is that it isn't entirely accurate. Paradis is likely combining the total responses to the 2009 copyright consultation (just over 8,300) with submissions or witnesses to the Bill C-32/C-11 legislative committees (roughly 300). Throw in the two town hall meetings and private meetings with stakeholders and you might come close to 10,000. However, if Paradis is relying on comments and submissions from the public to the government, the 10,000 figure massively understates the public response. During the same debate, Liberal MP Geoff Regan indicated that his office received over 80,000 emailed submissions over the past several months alone. Three weeks after the introduction of Bill C-61, Industry Canada received tens of thousands of actual letters. When you combine the additional MP meetings, thousands of letters and emails to MPs, the number of submissions on this copyright bill is at least 10 times the Paradis estimate.


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India Passes Digital Lock Rules That Link Circumvention to Copyright Infringement

India's two Houses of Parliament passed copyright reform legislation this month that includes digital lock provisions. The Indian approach is very similar to what dozens of groups recommended for Canada as it links circumvention to copyright infringement. The new Indian digital lock rules state:

65A. (1)  Any person who circumvents an effective technological measure applied for the purpose of protecting any of the rights conferred by this Act, with the intention of infringing such rights, shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine.

(2) Nothing in sub-section (1) shall prevent any person from,—

(a) doing anything referred to therein for a purpose not expressly prohibited by this Act:

Pranesh Prakash offers detailed analysis of the bill and the digital lock provisions.

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