In order for the public to know their legal rights and obligations, access to the law is widely viewed as essential. Yet there is real danger that these kinds of materials – court decisions, legal statutes, and other government documents – could end up locked down using digital rights management. Other countries have recognized the danger of mixing digital locks, anti-circumvention legislation, and legal materials. For example, Sweden's implementation of anti-circumvention legislation tries to ensure access court cases and government documents that are subject to TPMs. Article 52f provides that:
Anyone who, pursuant to the provisions in Articles 16, 17, 26, 26 a or 26 e [26 a covers activities of a public authority and reports of legal proceedings] is entitled to exploit a work protected by copyright shall be entitled to make use of a copy of a work that he lawfully has access to as referred to in the relevant provision, notwithstanding the fact that the copy is protected by technological measure. Where a technological measure prevents such a use, a Court may, at the request by a user entitled to that use, order, upon penalty of a fine, the author or his successor in title to make it possible for the user to exploit the work in a way prescribed in the provision referred to.
Canadians surely should enjoy full access to the law without the prospect of fears that they might violate the very law they are trying to access by circumventing a digital lock. An exception in Bill C-61 for this form of content is certainly needed.