Copyright and movie camcording were both raised yesterday during Question Period in the House of Commons. While the responses from Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda and Industry Minister Maxime Bernier were about as expected (essentially "we're working on it"), the questions from Bloc Heritage Critic Maka Kotto are revealing. Kotto focused on Canada's "outdated" copyright law and asked when it will be modified to "be in line with the two WIPO treaties Canada ratified in 1996." Regular readers will know that Canada did not ratify the treaties in 1996. Rather, Canada signed the treaties in 1997 and there is a world of difference between signing and ratifying a treaty.
Kotto's question about movie piracy lumped Canada together with China, Malaysia, and India, while claiming that "Canadian industry and the Government of Canada have suffered estimated losses of several million dollars."
The question demonstrates the impact of the media blitz on camcording – there has been no independent evidence put forward about Canadian industry or government losses (nor any reference to India that I can recall) yet that is how the question is framed. In fact, Kotto raises an important issue with the wrong question. A question that needs answering is not whether camcording is a good thing – it obviously is not (particularly in the way that it degrades the quality of the film) – but rather whether there is an impact on the Canadian film industry such that this issue should leap to the front on the line for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.