Canadian DMCA On Hold?

Rumours tonight indicate that the government has again decided to delay introducing the Canadian DMCA.  With the House of Commons off next week and the budget coming the following week, if this is true it would appear that there will be no copyright legislation for at least another month (assuming there is no election).  It is impossible to pinpoint any one reason for the delay – the public outcry through Facebook, the treaty issue, the opposition from education, the impact of copyright on some MPs electoral chances, the privacy concerns, the outcry from artists groups, the op-eds, and the creation of a powerful business coalition calling for balanced copyright may have all played a role.

The key question is now is whether the government accepts that it is not the communication strategy that needs fixing, but rather it is the bill itself.  I would argue that there is a deal to be had that would leave virtually all stakeholders sufficiently satisfied to garner broad support (or at least limit the heated and potentially costly opposition).  A bill that implements WIPO by rendering circumvention an infringement only where it occurs for infringing purposes, the introduction of a more flexible fair dealing provision, the establishment of a notice-and-notice system for infringing content, and the creation of intermediary protection for third party content could serve as the foundation for a forward-looking package that meets consumer needs, business demands, and U.S. pressure.  Over the past 10 weeks we have witnessed the passion and interest of thousands of Canadians on the copyright issue.  The government may have heard enough to hold off on a Canadian DMCA.  Let's hope it uses this opportunity to consult and build broad support for a copyright solution that serves Canadian interests.


  1. Hopefully…
    Hopefully they’ve figured out that it’s not just a communications problem. Copyright getting this much attention from the general public and the mainstream media is rather unprecedented. It’s quite possible they’re just figuring out now that our position isn’t just a lunatic fringe.

    We shouldn’t let up on our MP’s though. I still have yet to receive a reply from my first letter to my MP and the minister, so I sent another round this weekend. I encourage everyone else to do the same.

  2. Michael Tyas says:

    A problem with delay is the public begins to lose interest.

  3. I agree a notice and notice system would be most effective. It’s probably already been mentioned here, but even that system is a costly pain in the ass for ISPs. It costs a large ISP $11.76 to process one “notice and notice” and they do thousands of these a month.

    See [ link ] for more data.

  4. Communication?
    As Mr. Geist suggests: “The key question now is whether the government accepts that it is not the communication strategy that needs fixing”. He is a very optimistic man. I worry that their idea of communication is getting people to agree. I honestly don’t beleive that they intend to represent the Canadian people. If they were, then listening would be a priority… not dictati.. er.. I mean, communication.

  5. Doc
    One of the provisions reported to be in the Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright’s proposal was:

    “No surcharges on downloadable content. Copyright owners have been pushing for downloads to be considered as “communications to the public,” and say they should therefore be subject to an additional fee.”([ link ])

    Wouldn’t any “communications to the public” effectively place the item in the public domain, and therefore make it no longer subject to owners copyright?

  6. Copyright is flawed anyways
    Digital copyright law basically states that one can own a number: digital content is just 0s and 1s. If I download an MP3, then convert it to OGG Vorbis, the 1s and 0s are in completely different places. However, the American DMCA retains copyright over conversion of format. Therefore, we must conclude that the copyright owner has copyrighted not the string of 1s and 0s, but the actual sound, and that in \”buying\” a digital music file, you are just buying a license to listen to that sound. When you buy a book, you aren\’t buying a license to read, you\’re buying the actual physical medium. Digital \”copyright\” is thus impossible to enforce legally, because you can own neither a number nor a sound.

  7. Nerd, copyright law saws that the copyright holder has _exclusive_ rights to copy their work. Everybody else needs permission to copy. Fair dealings and private use copies are examples of limitations on this exclusivity, and are typically exempt from infringement. Obviously one does not “own a sound” or “own a number”, but the copyright holder still has a legitimate exclusive right to copy the work (with the aforementioned exemptions). If you change the format of a copyrighted song, you’ve obviously copied the work, and unless it is a private use copy only, it’s an infringement on the author’s copyright. I disapprove of things like the DMCA because they criminalize technology that could otherwise legitimately be used to make things like private use copies. In my view, it’s like holding car manufacturers responsible for making cars that can exceed the speed limit.

  8. sharing my private copy says:

    then upping to a buddy for NON PROFIT
    While not encrouraged it shuld be legal for US canadains to share as there isnt much sense in copying for private use unless i can get private copy somewhere and FREELY.
    that means that P2P legalized, would be ok as soon as you use it commercially you MUST pay and why not life terms for violators , as the only ones violating that would be businesses and corporations, and individuals ( churches might get an exclusion as well ) would be stupid to try and make cash then off someone elses stuff. ANY TRUE PIRATE WILL TELL YOU p2p AS it is NOW makes money form the ads, that revenue should be stopped as soon as the cost of the boards costs are met or DONATED to a charity of there choice perhaps with some input from artists? perhaps the environment or health care revenue source??