My final post on the format shifting exception focuses on the sheer complexity of the provision. The idea behind format shifting makes a great deal of sense – consumers buy books, photos, videos, and other content and want the right to view or enjoy the content on the device or medium of choice. Those rights can be priced into the purchase price and copyright law should facilitate that form of personal use.
Yet even beyond the digital lock limitation, the provision contains so many conditions that it will leave many Canadians unsure as to whether they have complied with the law. Just how complicated? The PDF chart below shows the 12 step process that Canadians must meet in order to comply. This is simply unworkable for all but a handful of lawyers. The government has said it wants to target commercial infringement, yet complicated provisions like this one send a different message. The law should be amended to keep format shifting, but with a simplified process.