Bill C-59, the anti-camcording bill, blazed through the House of Commons yesterday. The bill was debated and given all three readings (hearings were deemed unnecessary) in only 80 minutes, less time than it takes to actually watch most movies. The bill is now at the Senate awaiting approval.
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson opened the debate by citing the Globe and Mail coverage on the movie camcording issue and acknowledging again that Canada already has laws that address this issue. Nicholson argued that the "main purpose in amending the Criminal Code instead of the Copyright Act is to ensure that local police and not merely the RCMP are engaged in an effort to stop camcording." The Liberal and the Bloc MPs voiced great support for the bill as well, with Liberal MP Marlene Jennings indicating that she was working on a private members' bill to address the issue and Bloc MP Réal Ménard advising that he had a motion ready to demand that the Justice committee conduct hearings on camcording.
The most noteworthy comments came from NDP Heritage Critic Charlie Angus, who supported the bill but pointed to the industry's conflicting numbers and expressed doubt about the bill's effectiveness. His comments on broader copyright issues are well worth reading as they set the stage for where the real copyright battle will lie. Angus emphasized the difference between good copyright policy and counterfeiting issues. He also called attention to Bruce Lehman's comments about the failure of the DMCA, the problems associated with WIPO, and the emergence of the Canadian Music Creators Coalition. As I've said before, no one supports illegal camcording, though I believe you can object to how this bill emerged as government priority. The test will be whether this is the "first step" suggested by the CMPDA and how all the political parties react to the bigger, more contentious copyright issues.