Many people have written to ask for concrete examples of how the Canadian DMCA would impact everyday activities. In response, today I'm going to start a five part series of a typical Canadian family's potential encounter with the law. The fictional family consist of:
Jim and Josee live in a Calgary suburb together with their three children Stephen (age 16), Rona (age 10), and Diane (age 4). Jim is the chief librarian at the National Energy Library, while Josee teaches media and communications at a local high school.
This post focuses on Jim. Soon after he arrives into the office on Monday morning, he is contacted by a researcher located in the field who asks him to track down an article and to email an electronic copy as soon as possible. Jim finds the article, scans and sends it via email. After work, he drops into the local HMV and purchases a DVD copy of the movie Juno. At home, he transfers a copy of the movie to his video iPod for viewing on an upcoming business trip.
If the Canadian DMCA becomes law, all of Jim's copying activities arguably violate the law.
Jim’s act of scanning and distribution of the article should qualify as fair dealing. Apparently the government thinks it does not, however, since Bill C-61 contains a specific provision to allow librarians to digitize a paper copy on behalf of a patron. That provision only works if they take steps to ensure that the recipient does not transfer the digital copy to anyone else and only uses it for five days. Since those technical restrictions were not imposed on the researcher, this would not qualify (Section 30.2(5.01)). The ripping of the Juno DVD to the video iPod clearly violates the law. Prentice's format shifting provisions are limited to videocassettes – DVDs are off-limits (Section 29.21). Moreover, ripping the DVD likely required circumventing anti-copying technologies, which under Bill C-61, would violate the law.