The Canadian Newspaper Association has issued a position paper with its views on C-61. While the paper addresses several issues, its concerns with the anti-circumvention provisions are the most striking. The CNA notes that:
Bill C-61 makes it an offence to bypass any technological protection used on Internet sites. This is not normally an issue for newspaper public sites, but might apply to sites requiring registration, and to paid archive services. While this is positive for rightsholders seeking to protect content from unauthorized access, it could have implications on newsgathering, news reporting, and press freedom broadly, as is shown in the discussion below.
Under section 29.2 of the current legislation, there is a fair dealing defence to copyright infringement for news reporting. As drafted, Bill C-61 throws up roadblocks. For instance, if documents are encrypted, it will be illegal to break the encryption. This means that journalists who come across or are sent electronic documents (for example from a whistleblower) may be unable to use them without incurring very significant liability, even though there are no barriers on using the same materials in print format. It might also mean that citing video or other content from a digitally protected work (say, a DVD movie in which a newsmaker once appeared) could incur liability.