Committees / News

Speaking to the Parliamentary IP Caucus

I have been critical of the Parliamentary IP Caucus, so I should be equally quick to praise where appropriate.  Tonight I was invited to appear before the caucus and given two full hours to make a presentation and participate in an engaging discussion on copyright.  The meeting was well attended with members from all four parties in attendance.

My powerpoint slides are posted below (the first half of the talk covered the same ground as the Copyright Myths presentation I gave a couple of weeks ago).  My key messages centred on putting copyright reform in context and getting the key content issues right.  From context perspective, I highlighted:

  • the need to recognize both the importance and limits of copyright
  • the lack of recent consultation
  • how Canadian copyright law is not nearly as weak as critics suggest
  • why the WIPO Internet treaties provide great flexibility in implementation
  • why focusing on copyright may undermine the efforts to address commercial counterfeiting
  • how there are many voices expressing concern with a Canadian DMCA approach

I was also asked about my recommendations for reform.  I provided nine points:

  1. Do no harm to user rights
  2. Link anti-circumvention legislation to copyright infringement
  3. No ban on circumvention devices
  4. Flexible fair dealing
  5. Notice and notice
  6. Modernize the backup copy provision
  7. Rationalize statutory damages
  8. Making available = distribution
  9. Crown Copyright

Once the bill is introduced, many more of these meetings will be needed and I was assured that the IP caucus wants to hear from all perspectives on these issues.


  1. ScytheNoire says:

    Canadian DMCA
    The government has been making no sense. It’s like it’s run by a bunch of people who just cater to corporations and ignore what’s best for the country and the people. Copyright harms creativity, patents harm innovation, and the DMCA is considered by many to be the worst piece of legislation ever passed. How can the Canadian government be so damn blind to the obvious?

  2. ScytheNoir wrote “…the DMCA is considered by many to be the worst piece of legislation ever passed.”

    Those people should really take the time to read the PATRIOT Act.

    I don’t think there are too many people — aside from the Free Software Foundation — who seriously argue that copyright necessarily harms creativity. Copyright is beneficial to creators. The problem is that as copyright is progressively strengthened there are diminishing returns in its benefit, and incurs exponentially greater costs to consumers.

    Well, probably not exponentially. Maybe more like quadratically. There’s probably some twisted version of Metcalfe’s Law that could justify that claim.

  3. Canadian DMCA
    I was in agreement with Michael’s suggestions until point #8 “Making available = distribution”. I’m not sure why making available should constitute distribution, the rationale behind that.

    Distribution in my mind means you are using someone else’s copyrighted works to make money. Making available could result from something as simple as leaving your door unlocked. Where is the line drawn?

    Is that recommendation premised on bringing us in line with WIPO?

  4. Great news
    I’m very pleased you got a chance to talk to a room full of MPs for two hours! Are you permitted to tell us who attended? I would be curious for two reasons. I would like to know who was interested enough in the issue to attend, and I would also like to know who is continuing to spread misinformation despite having been present.