61 Reforms to C-61, Day 7: Time Shifting Provision Prohibits Network-Based PVRs

In the months leading up to Bill C-61, Telus consistently argued for a "living" fair dealing provision that could adapt to changing technologies.  In particular, the company noted its interest in providing a network-based PVR that would allow customers to record and store programs that reside on computers that it hosts.  That network-based approach of relying on centralized computers – often referred to as cloud computing – is one of the hottest trends in computing as companies look for efficiencies and consumers seek out convenience. 

Yet Bill C-61 isn't just oblivious to these developments – it is downright hostile.  The time shifting provision includes a specific reference to a network-based video recorder service that explicitly excludes such services from its scope. In other words, the legislation is complete rebuke to Telus' hope to offer such a service.  As I'll discuss in the coming weeks, it does not end there, however.  The legislation does nothing to facilitate network-based computing, instead envisioning a world in which format shifts are limited to nearby devices that we own.  Shifting your music to an iPod may be possible (provided that you meet a host of requirements), but shifting to a network-based storage facility does not appear to be in the cards.  The future of computing may be on the network, but Bill C-61 does its best to erect barriers toward that vision.


  1. read only
    It is because they are envisioning a read only internet or better a world without internet at all, a world where sharing or using without license would be totally forbidden.

  2. law needs neutral language
    This digital milleneum is best seen as one of change. Our technology changes, our jobs and other activities change, the information we use changes, EVERYTHING CHANGES.

    QUICKLY. Quickly is the only thing you can really count on. Formats, software programs, devices, terminology, and sheer volume: all due for a complete change now, within the next few of years, and then again a few more after that.

    CHANGE QUICKLY. Within the next few years, all of our media activities outside the theater will have changed. We scarcely know today what we will call what we are doing then. We can predict this fact with certainty, from our experience of the last decade of advancements.

    PREDICTABLE CERTAIN QUICK CHANGE. Is the exact opposite of C-61, which cynically purports to update copyright law, while focussing on obsolete media like VHS and CD’s, and failing to usefully mention even DVD’s, which are being surpassed as we speak by Blueray and HDDVD formats. C-61 fails to grasp that this year, for $100 I can buy a 500GB hard disk drive, load my entire CD collection onto it, gain instant play from any computer, instant trasfer to any mobile player, never worry about scratches again, and all for LESS than the price of CD strorage racks (I’m sold). For another $100 I can buy another 500GB drive and store all my DVD movies, with the same list of benefiets. Two years ago, I could barely have dreamed this. What about two years from now? Will I go to jail instead of doing something new again?

    PREDICTABLE CERTAIN QUICK CHANGE. For copyright law to be ready for this milleneum, it must be format neutral: it must not name specific media types or specific media related technologies, or try to name exactly what we might do with them, beyond the most general basics like buying, selling, and owning. Everything else is changing too quickly. Instead, what will not change is our basic fundamental human rights. All parties in our society need clarity and certainty about how they are protected from other parties with different interests, and what they can do without violating those other interests. Be we creators, distributors, sellers, or consumers of information, we need laws that ensure us the maximum freedom to do whatever we choose, only tempered by protections to make sure that we harm no one. Anything less is violation of our freedoms, a failure to best protect all parties. Bill C-61 is an abysmal failure.

    Bill C-61 shows us it’s malevolent intentions when it tries to meddle with things like network based PVR’s. Everyone is left stripped of all non-obsolete rights. Where Canadians need honest reform and usefull law for an unpredictable, we are given a corrupted proposal, addressing only narrow obsolete special interests, and handed down by our own “public servants” at that. Bill C-61 lowers our discourse to the level of a drunken brawl over $20 bills spilled on the filthy floor. We need to be discussing our fundamental rights and relationships with clarity and good will.

    61 reforms are not enough.

  3. anonymous groop says:

    DANGER: innovation must be stopped
    Due to uncontrolled innovation there are all new businesses outside our realm which are going to prosper and gain powers and privileges we are use to count on and eventually use them to overtone us. It is imperative we do act now corrupting governments and using weapons of mass litigation or we will soon face extinction.

  4. iphone site taken down!

    seems that this instant popular site has been taken down by rogers!
    please, it needs more attention, in afew days goy 25 000 signatures complaining about HIGEST CONTRACT PRICES IN CANADA

    keep updated

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’m sure it’s what Telus wanted, but it’s not their content. Why is it OK to, basically, end-run the market for future movie on DVD etc by letting people time-shift? What’s fair to one side of the equation isn’t always fair to the other.

  6. Re: iphone site
    Victor. I just tried it and was able to get to it… Do you access through Rogers?

    As far as the topic of the thread is concerned… This one is really a grey area for me. The idea of Telus doing this, in a sense, makes them a broadcaster, especially since I can’t see them doing this for free. I don’t know how they are proposing to do this… I see three scenarios for this currently:

    1) The recording occurs at the customer’s location, but the data stream is sent to a central Telus network storage location. Arguably this should be legal. In this case, the customer can only replay those portions of the program that were aired after recording began.

    2) The recording occurs at the Telus central location, but on command of the user. In this case, the customer can only replay those portions of the program that were aired after recording began.


  7. Re: iphone site (continued)
    (oops, accidentally submitted prior to completing).

    3) Telus records all programs that air. If, by the time that the program finishes airing, no customer has indicated that they want it, then it is erased. Storage-wise, this is the most efficient for Telus, as only a single copy need be stored, and the customers simply link to the recording, whereas 1) and 2) both require that each individual customer have their own copy of what was recorded.

    Where 3) becomes really grey is that it is likely that the customer could then replay those portions of the broadcast that occurred prior to them initiating recording. Arguably, it would be closer to a pay-per-view setup than a recording service, especially since the recording becomes retroactive to the customer indicating that they want it recorded.

  8. re: vicotr / iphone site
    Rogers didn’t do a thing to the site, it was their crappy hosting service. They claim a massive amount of bandwidth, but then freak out when things go above what they consider average for their sites apparently.

  9. Jourdelune says:

    What is the most revolting, is they are trying to remove our fundamentals right:

    1- Civilizations had always been in control of their cultures. The Culture is the mix of all art content created. To created art content, everybody learn from what had been to transform it and do better.

    So, C-61 putting a lot of controls over media, put lock-in the art content and remove all the applications that can help anyone learning how to do better in the digitals worlds, because they want to remove the tools to do so.

    2- The right to share. Sharing is a fundamentals aspect of a society. It is a profound aspect of any Christian around the world. Putting law against sharing, even in the new era of the digital worlds, become against the thing that my religion learn me to do. Even with or without religion meaning, sharing bring people closer together. Sharing is the act to help is neighbor and been help in return. No freaking corporation can dictate me not to share what I had bought. No freaking corporation could sue me, because I am protected by a greater power, God. 😉

    3- The right to do whatever I feel to with what I bought. If I want to break my things, it’s my own experiences that I pay for. If I want to analyse a Digital ways of showing content, I should do it. It is called learning what is around you to be better with it. Coming here and giving me a criminals tag because I want to learn how the thing I buy are made, is revolting. It’s the right to LEARN thing that is in danger. When corporation will criminalize the learning process in civilization, well… it’s the time to call the Armageddon.

    Copyright are namely wrong. It’s not copyright that need to be legislate, it’s doing money on the work of others that is a crime. It should be a copyright sales only law, not a law that break citizens fundamentals right.


  10. Canada is no one’s Patsy!
    Canada needs to take a stand. It needs to stand up for itself against the pushy international community that whines and complains about us being lax and out-of-date. Guess what, we don’t need to if we choose not to. That’s what a democracy is about, at least to me it is. I’ve only recently come of age to vote and seen how important it is. I wish it were given to us to decide if we want to have this crazy law or not, not some people upstairs who don’t know what they’re talking about or reading.

    Most importantly, Canada needs to throw out this bill and make something entirely it’s own. Set a new president on the world stage and be able to hold ourselves high and say ‘We did something different and it’s better; For the greater good!’ (and possibly throw in some “fuck you”s while we’re at it to spice things up.) (sorry for my last bit of harsh language, if needed omit my brackets to make my point more.. pointy)