As expected, the federal government introduced Bill C-59, its anti-camcording legislation on Friday (coverage from CBC, CTV, Canwest, Toronto Star, Globe). The bill creates two amendments to the Criminal Code:
- The recording of a movie in a movie theatre without the consent of the theatre's manager, punishable by up to two years in jail.
- The recording of a movie in a movie theatre without the consent of the theatre's manager for the purpose of selling, renting, or other commercial distribution of a copy of the recording, punishable by up to five years in jail.
The Globe is reporting that the bill may fast track through the House without any hearings – literally in a matter of minutes – despite a clear need to review the law for potential amendment (for example, I would suggest that there is the need to add the word "knowingly" to the two provisions and suggest adding a reporting mechanism everytime the provision is triggered so that we can get a better handle on the scope of the problem). Everyone would agree that no one credible supports illegal camcording. Indeed, while the economic impact may be subject to debate, there is no doubt that the practice does real harm to the artistic merit of the film and thus harms the creators. That said, this bill troubles me for several reasons.