The Wire Report reports on this week's Canadian Heritage committee of the Writers Guild of Canada, which argued for two levies that would cover all distribution and storage points. The WU wants both an ISP levy (as proposed to the CRTC last year) and an expansion of the private copying […]
Post Tagged with: "time shifting"
The Government continues to post copyright consultation submissions (still lots to go one month after the consultation concluded) with many making for interesting reading. Access Copyright's submission is worth noting for two reasons. First, rather than simply arguing against flexible fair dealing, it argues that the current fair dealing provision […]
Canwest runs a story that picks up on Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore's comments yesterday that he watches more television on his iPod or through his PVR than he does on a conventional television set. I am quoted in the piece, noting that many of the Moore's viewing habits may […]
My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) picks up on last week's story involving the Bell commercial touting a new digital video recorder that features an external hard drive permitting users to "record forever." The archiving functionality may sounds enticing, yet last week several media reports noted that Industry Minister Jim Prentice's Bill C-61 forbids Canadians from recording television programs for archival purposes. Indeed, the new "time shifting" provision in the Prentice bill contains at least a dozen restrictions that could leave consumers facing significant liability for those that fail to comply. Innovative businesses do not fare much better as they will also be forced to shelve potential new services if the bill becomes law. For example, Bill C-61 explicitly prohibits a network-based PVR that Telus has considered introducing into the Canadian market.
These restrictions leave Canadians trailing the United States, where consumers have enjoyed the legal right to time shift for more than two decades without the statutory restrictions that Prentice has proposed. Moreover, earlier this month a U.S. court ruled that Cablevision, a leading cable provider, can legally offer its network-based PVR. While it is tempting to focus on the need to improve the bill's PVR provisions, the reality is that the spotlight on Bell's promotion highlights a pervasive problem within Bill C-61. Surprisingly for a political party that typically promotes "market based solutions," the bill introduces a complex regulatory framework for everyday consumer activities and represents an unprecedented incursion into the property rights of millions of Canadians.
Just how far beyond restrictive television recording does Bill C-61 go?