A Week in the Life of the Canadian DMCA: Part Three

The week in the life of the Canadian DMCA continues (day one, day two) with Josee.

In the morning, Josee teaches a class on media in the digital world.  The class is conducted in a distance-learning classroom and includes both her students and students from a school in Edmonton using Alberta's SuperNet network.  This is the second year that she has run the course and she is using the same lessons, which include extensive copies of articles for course materials.  In the afternoon, Josee teaches a communications class, making use of a website that features a copyright and an “all rights reserved” notice.  A student in the class presents a research assignment that features short excerpts from a DVD copy of the movie Broadcast News and passages that are cut-and-pasted from an electronic book that contains a digital lock.  Josee is a big Calgary Flames fan.  The Flames are playing that night with the game broadcast on pay-per-view.  Josee has a dinner commitment, but decides to buy the game and record it with her PVR to watch when she gets home.

If Industry Minister Jim Prentice’s Bill C-61 becomes law, all of these copying activities arguably violate the law.

Bill C-61 purports to promote the use of distance learning by permitting the communication of copyright works for educational or training purposes (Section 30.01(3)), yet a subsequent provision (Section 30.01(5)(a)) requires teachers to destroy the lesson within 30 days of the end of the course.  Since Josee is reusing the same materials without having destroyed them, the course materials do not qualify for the exception.

Bill C-61 also purports to allow Josee to use the Internet and websites in her class.  While she can arguably do so without this exception, some educational lobby groups pushed hard for an explicit exception.  However, since the site includes the words “all rights reserved,” it does not qualify for the exception. (Section 30.04 (4)(b))

The student presentation may involve at least two incidents of infringement.  Obtaining clips from the DVD would require the circumvention of the DVD copy-protection.  Although the underlying use may be permitted under fair dealing, Bill C-61 makes the mere act of circumvention a violation of the law. (Section 41.1)  Moreover, if the electronic book contained copy-protection, the circumvention to cut and paste select passages would violate the same provision.

Josee concludes her day with the possibility of yet more copyright infringement.  Bill C-61’s time shifting provisions do not apply to video on demand (such as a pay-per-view broadcast) if there are restrictions on copying. Recording the game may therefore violate the law.  Moreover, if there is a copy-restriction on the broadcast, attempts to circumvent the restrictions would violate Bill C-61'a anti-circumvention provisions.

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