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.