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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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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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Elsevier Withdraws Support for Research Works Act

Elsevier, which has faced enormous online protests over its support for the Research Works Act, has withdrawn its support for the U.S. bill.
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