61 Reforms to C-61, Day 5: Time Shifting Provision Subject to the Broadcast Flag

Having discussed the format shifting exception, this series now turns its attention to the time shifting provision (Section 29.23).  It should be noted that the legalization of recording television shows is long overdue – I argued for it last year and Canada is more than 25 years behind the United States in this regard.  While the inclusion of the time shifting provision is a good thing, this particular implementation suffers from several notable shortcomings that could have been addressed through a more flexible fair dealing provision. 

The first is that the provision is really geared toward analog or VHS recording where there are few technical limitations on television recording.  As Canadians increasingly use PVRs to record programs in digital format, their ability to record shows becomes more limited.  Bill C-61 expressly includes an anti-circumvention provision (Section 29.23(1)(b)).  In other words, if there is a digital lock (often referred to as a broadcast flag) included with the broadcast, you can't legally circumvent it in order to record the program.  Note that the U.S. has established limits on the use of the broadcast flag, but no such limits exist in Canada.  As Canada transitions to digital, it is possible that broadcasters will increasingly institute anti-copying notices to stop the very recording rights that C-61 purports to provide.  Industry Minister Jim Prentice has focused on the time shifting provision as one of the foundational consumer rights in Bill C-61 but the bill should be amended to ensure that the right will still stand in a digital world.


  1. Clarify this one for the laypeople
    This one is the one that will bring the most people on board against this bill. But, I think we need to clarify it for them. “Time-shifting” sounds way to technical. Tell them that TSN will be able to block their ability to record hockey games, and we’ll get most of Canada on board.

  2. Paul C. Bryan says:

    The last time I checked, many VHS recordings are protected by MacroVision(TM). MacroVision is designed to prevent the duplication of recordings. Do the anti-circumvention provisions apply to the bypassing of MacroVision to make a copy?

  3. anchor man says:

    TV is dead
    Television as it is is going to die anyway. Besides few live shows (such as sport events) people are shifting on a “TV on demand” model. Between kids and domestic chores time for television is very limited. The pirate model is giving the opportunity to watch whatever you want when you want (which seems to me a more appealing and up to date approach). Networks are completely ignoring this tendency and restricting instead of embracing is going to harm the networks themselves and not the piracy. Soon or later there will be a fracture between those who are still clinging on an outdated world and those who are willing to embrace the future. (Beside the fact that the new generation is not watching TV anymore preferring instead YouTube and the plethora various entertainments available on the net).

  4. Go ahead…
    If Global wants to prevent me from time-shifting Survivor by using the broadcast flag, they can go right ahead. I’ll just stop watching it. The networks will find their ratings will drop. People will stop subscribing to cable/satellite if they cannot watch programs as they please.

    You may not be able to skip commercials or fast forward, but there are some features the broadcast flag has no control over:
    The mute button
    The off button

  5. o man
    You should really check out this humourous little slide show about the DMCA…

    [ link ]

  6. Stupid law says:

    Stupid law
    LOOK the law is sooo bad that NO ONE LIKES IT,
    it may in fact have a seciton 12 charter violations out the arse hole, and we should just VOTE the conservatives off the map , as long as whom ever comes back in COMPLETELY repeals EVERY part of it.


  7. mr peepers says:

    I haven’t even owned a VCR or had analog cable for 5+ years – these analog provisions are laughable.

  8. Its what hollywood wants says:

    Its what hollywood wants
    Its what hollywood wants, everyone to go back to the stone age so they have complete control and last time i saw a cdr in a store at 30$ i puked.

  9. my privacy in my house
    Are you selling, or just goofing around?

    If you’re selling, then play by the book, or face the law.

    If your’re just goofing around, then anything and everything should go. Why else would they broadcast the stuff in the first place, if it wasn’t so we could watch it? It is invasion of privacy, and a violation of my freedom to tell me what I can and can’t do in and of my own home.

    If I’m not selling, then piss off, it’s my house. Or don’t broadcast your crap to me.

  10. I had many phone calls to TMN/Astral regarding the broadcast flags they employ. They assured me that the studios were encoding the flag onto the tapes not TMN doing it at time of air. Regardless, my fight was futile. I traded in my DVR with another brand that IGNORES flags and have had no problems since. I’m reluctant to say the brand name that makes DVRs which IGNORE the flags in case it ruins a good thing, but it’s a huge, internationally known brand you’ve heard of.

  11. SECURE — 2 links
    [ link ]

    [ link ]

  12. the pressure is on everywhere
    ^thanks for the great links bob.

    From: Member Nations Balk At World Customs Organization IP Enforcement Push, a critique of some new policy being rammed through the WCO, presumably by corporate interests. There was big objection to this policy being pushed forward, from a bunch of countries (Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, People`s Republic of China and Uruguay). I chopped out and highlighted some eerily familiar themes to what we are facing with bill C-61.

    1. The *report* departs from the member-driven nature that should guide the process of the *group*. The document IS NOT THE RESULT OF DISCUSSIONS WITHIN THE *GROUP* neither reflects any agreed decision of its Members. In this sense, IT SHOULD NOT CONSTITUTE THE BASIS FOR THE DISCUSSION OF AGENDA …

    2. The document was PRODUCED WITHOUT PREVIOUS CONSULTATION TO THE MEMBERS of the Organization and therefore, at best, it reflects the positions and intentions of the Secretariat … This very fact is by itself a cause of concern since THE SECRETARIAT SHOULD REMAIN NEUTRAL, in particular when addressing politically sensitive issues such as the one in the agenda … Such precedents undermine the reputation of the Organization as an entity of a technical nature…

    3. The current state of play within the *group* is misconstrued … It is noteworthy that the *report* does not have a single reference to the fact that the *GROUP* HAS NOT YET AGREED ON ITS TERMS OF REFERENCE.

  13. slavery
    As ususal, the IP moguls want us to be their slaves. It is ultimately the public that will foot the bill for the enforcement of their profit.

    It would be easier for us all to just admit our guilt now, spend a few months in jail, and then pay a permanent tithe on our incomes, since we all know that IP is our supreme god in heaven, and the big distributors are our true churches.