PM Harper Confirms Canadian Movie Piracy Bill On the Way

CTV is reporting that Prime Minister Stephen Harper today will confirm what has become increasingly obvious – under pressure from the U.S. and Hollywood studios, Canada will introduce anti-camcording legislation. Harper is using California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's visit to Ottawa to serve notice of the proposed bill.  That approach really says it all – given that this marks the culmination of a torrent of pressure from U.S. politicians and U.S. lobby groups on Canadian officials, first notice appropriately goes to a U.S. politician, not the Canadian public.

Further, the CTV report continues the trend of providing a one-sided (and arguably misleading) perspective.  It claims that "if the bill passes next fall, cheap and readily available copies of popular current releases will presumably be less frequent in Canada and on the worldwide market."  The reality is that there is no evidence to suggest that the law will have any such effect.  Indeed, the U.S. is world's largest source of camcorded films notwithstanding the existence of anti-camcording legislation.  Moreover, the report adds that "there are lots of great Canadian films that are made too and you don't want them necessarily sent off through the Internet", though there has been no evidence that the camcording issue has involved Canadian films.

We should at least be honest about this bill.  It is the result of U.S. pressure, it will have no discernable impact on movie piracy, and it has nothing to do with Canadian films.  By timing the announcement with the Schwarzenegger visit, even the Prime Minister is being transparent about the motivations behind this change in government policy.


  1. Canada’s New Government Is Acting to Put a Stop to Film Piracy

    OTTAWA, May 30 /CNW Telbec/ – Canada’s New Government today announced its
    intention to introduce a Bill to address the problem of film piracy. The Bill
    will be put on the notice paper today and introduced in the House of Commons
    on Friday.
    The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status
    of Women, the Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson, Minister of Justice and
    Attorney General of Canada, and the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of
    Industry, intend to address the problem of unauthorized recording of movies in
    Canadian theatres.
    “Canada’s New Government will take action to put a stop to the problem of
    film piracy and will bring forward amendments to Canada’s Criminal Code,” said
    Minister Oda. “Piracy has a devastating impact on the entire film industry and
    our government intends to ensure respect for the intellectual property rights
    of cinematographic works.”

    They really have to stop with the “Canada’s New Government” idiocy.

  3. Yeah – what the frick is “Canada’s New Government”??? Is that, all capitals, the slogan for the Conservatives? When they lose the next elect will the media refer to them as “Canada’s Old Government” (all caps)???

    Bev is FAR from honourable. I feel ill that I voted for this puppet of the multi-national entertainment industry.

    If the government acted with as much will on crime as on morons cancordering a movie, this country would be much safer.

    Oh, priorities…

  4. “Government officials said the new bill will amend Canada’s Criminal Code to “encourage police to arrest and prosecute.””

    Lovely. It’s nice to see “Canada’s New Government” is putting the interests of US Copyright Cartels over those of Canadians. I hope that we’ve solved all violent crime so we can spend police time and resources arresting people for copyright infringement.

    The fact that their corrupt “Canadian Heritage” minister is introducing it is icing on the poison cake.

  5. News
    “if the bill passes next fall, cheap and readily available copies of popular current releases will presumably be less frequent in Canada and on the worldwide market.”
    Will there be remotely equal coverage when worldwide availability of cams doesn’t change one iota?
    Doubt it.

  6. Arjun Thomas says:

    Great, wonder when this is going to stop… going the RIAA way seems to be a fashion these days..

    Arjun Thomas ( [ link ] )

  7. Programmer
    Is there anything Harper and his cronies WON’T do for the USA? They have caved in on every single issue, and like their surrender in the lumber dispute, these actions give them a short term visibility boost, but will negatively impact all Canadians in the future.

  8. please think
    What’s important here is that piracy is stopped. It doesn’t matter where or what the catalyst is. Pirating is the same as stealing, stealing is a CRIME.

    If it takes a special visit from the terminator to shame us into actually enforcing our own laws, then so be it.

  9. You’ve lost my vote…
    Pressure from foreign politicians, lobbyists, businesses and interest groups have NO place in the Canadian political system.

    This is the sort of thing that made me wish we had even more parties that disagreed with each other so aggressively that nothing, good or bad, would ever get through parliament.

    Prime Minister Harper, you have lost my conservative vote.

    [What’s important here is that piracy is stopped. It doesn’t matter where or what the catalyst is. Pirating is the same as stealing, stealing is a CRIME.]
    BZZZT! Wrong. Copyright infringement is copyright infringement. All I am “stealing” is your imaginary value of an imaginary work. The last time I checked, ideas are like fire — you can only duplicate and expand them, not steal them.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Um, I know that it’s fun to play Dennis the Peasant (to wit: “help! help! I’m being repressed!), but isn’t it possible that Canadian exhibitors were being harmed by illegal camcording? That asking an 18-year-old usher to try to stop someone from camcording a film might be putting them into a dangerous situation, especially if the camcordee doesn’t have to fear prosecution?

    If someone goes into a bar and tries to steal a bottle for their friends outside, the bar should have the right to prosecute the thief. My understanding is that under current Canadian law, the theatre can only ask the person to stop camcording, and can’t even confiscate the camcorder. No charges can be laid because intent to distribute is notoriously difficult to prove. Putting a few teeth into the law seems to make good sense.

    Arguments that police are not going to be solving murders because of this legislation are, for want of a better word, juvenile. Perhaps we should stop enforcing parking laws or pollution laws because, well, the guy writing the ticket might have caught Robert Pickton before he killed again. That’s nuts.

    I’m as much an anti-DRM guy as the next, but how about looking at the legislation on the merits of the legislation, rather than on who you think lobbied for its passage. People, corporations and special interest-groups lobby for legislation every day – that’s how government works. I’m all for trying to make it the best, most specific legislation possible, but denigrating it because of the source of the lobbying seems to me the most puerile of reasons.

  11. Not getting it…
    John Galt, you are not getting it. The biggest problem here is that foreign bullying is the driving force behind this law, and not the needs of Canadians.

    Next to that is the slippery slope and frighteningly flawed wording and implementation. “Stephen W”‘s comment here describes it very well: [ link ]