What Prentice Could Say to the U.S.

There is little doubt that Industry Minister Jim Prentice's determination to introduce a Canadian DMCA over the objection of business, consumer, and education groups is driven, at least in part, by pressure from the United States.  The U.S. argues that Canada must follow its DMCA model in order to implement the WIPO Internet treaties.  Interestingly, according to documents I recently obtained under the Access to Information Act, the U.S. Copyright Office privately criticized the Canadian government in 2005 over Bill C-60, claiming it did not meet the U.S. standard. Canadian officials within the Department of Canadian Heritage proposed the following response to criticisms that the legislation did not cover devices that can be used to circumvent TPMs and preserved fair dealing:
Protection of circumvention devices and criminalization of circumvention are not within the WCT and WPPT treaties' obligations. At best, can the prohibition of circumvention devices and criminal sanctions be considered indirect options for countries to undertake.

Treaty obligation is hence limited to providing adequate legal protection against the circumvention of effective technological measures.

Canada's protection of technological measures strives to maintain fundamental coherences and balances within the copyright framework but draws on the relative efficiency of technical measures. It achieves adequate protection in conformity with the WCT and WPPT treaties by enacting three new causes of civil action, the first dealing with the act of circumvention for the purpose of infringement, the second with the act of offering or providing a service to circumvent cognicent of infringing purpose of the service and third, with the subsequent acts to any circumvention conditional upon knowledge of infringement.

Canada's protection of technological measures is distinct from the approach of the United States. It does not rely on any administrative procedures by which persons may petition for additional exceptions such as the examples submitted to access circumvention or not to traffic in devices. It simply avoids creating liability for any such activity either traditionally exempt from copyright protection or altogether considered as foreign to copyright protection.

In other words, Canadian officials vigorously defended a balanced approach that rejects the U.S. DMCA. Yet Prentice has presumably ignored that advice and stands ready to cave to the U.S. pressure.


  1. Spencer armstrong says:

    Poor representation by all
    As disappointing the bill\\\’s content may be, We cannot lay the blame solely with the Conservatives if this bill passes. They are a Minority government and as such They need the Liberals, NDP and the Bloc Quebecois in order to get the votes to pass the house.

    The have been very successful in passing legislation by \\\”bullying the opposition parties into submission, waving the fear of an election over their heads. An election the opposition want to put off until they can be certain of their own majority government.

    I can only hope the Liberal, Bloc Quebecois and NDP can stand firm against this bill, and if the Conservatives threaten to make it a vote of confidence? Then I say Call the election!!

    We cannot allow one bad policy after another be enacted just because our representatives are afraid of losing their seat.

  2. who wrote that response
    Is it clear who wrote the response to the US criticism? We should be praising them publicly, to their bosses.

  3. Allen Graham says:

    Bill C-60
    Dr. Geist, why has no one discussed the Bill C-60 in context ? Who drafted it? Who benefits?
    The U.S. Copyright Office is at best a “travesty”, and U.S. Patents (Office)are destroying free enterprise on the Internet more than any other single entity. From where I stand, as a long time political activist, lobbyists in the U.S., and Canada’s Liberal party have done more to choke off free enterprise than the presently weak minority government in Canada.
    Rallying for “Net Neutrality” will help the present governments’ cause, hopefully. Blaming the Conservatives, who have long espoused free enterprise, seems at best, foolish. Support and lobbying go so much farther.

    Allen Graham (aged political hack)

  4. MR CANADA says:

    yes we can blame the conservatives
    you bring the bill YOU are the cause. I do no tcare if the stupid liberals vote with them cause they cant form the next govt.

    We need new gov’t
    we need NON liberals and NON conservatives

    Since the softwood lumber rip off that harper facilitated SINCE when MUST we do anyhting, if the USA wants to play hardball, ok we will renationalize our OIL and close nafta , go fuel those iraq tanks with iranian oil….
    What ya going to do , invade Canada? That will never happen and trying it will really be the beginning of a world war.

  5. Farrell J. McGovern says:

    The Shoe Drops…
    [ link ])

    The US is floating an international trade agreement named ACTA, which you can red in the above Wikileaks article, and she how much the various *AA organizations have paid the people behind the bill to do their bidding…oh. sorry, “contributed” to their election coffers…