One of Bill C-61's few good points is the notice-and-notice approach for Internet Service Provider liability. The notice and notice system involves a notification from a copyright holder – often involving movies, software or music – claiming that a subscriber has made available or downloaded content without authorization. The ISP […]
Archive for August 18th, 2008
My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) picks up on last week's story involving the Bell commercial touting a new digital video recorder that features an external hard drive permitting users to "record forever." The archiving functionality may sounds enticing, yet last week several media reports noted that Industry Minister Jim Prentice's Bill C-61 forbids Canadians from recording television programs for archival purposes. Indeed, the new "time shifting" provision in the Prentice bill contains at least a dozen restrictions that could leave consumers facing significant liability for those that fail to comply. Innovative businesses do not fare much better as they will also be forced to shelve potential new services if the bill becomes law. For example, Bill C-61 explicitly prohibits a network-based PVR that Telus has considered introducing into the Canadian market.
These restrictions leave Canadians trailing the United States, where consumers have enjoyed the legal right to time shift for more than two decades without the statutory restrictions that Prentice has proposed. Moreover, earlier this month a U.S. court ruled that Cablevision, a leading cable provider, can legally offer its network-based PVR. While it is tempting to focus on the need to improve the bill's PVR provisions, the reality is that the spotlight on Bell's promotion highlights a pervasive problem within Bill C-61. Surprisingly for a political party that typically promotes "market based solutions," the bill introduces a complex regulatory framework for everyday consumer activities and represents an unprecedented incursion into the property rights of millions of Canadians.
Just how far beyond restrictive television recording does Bill C-61 go?
Appeared on August 18, 2008 as PVR, Bill C-61 Might Soon Make You An Outlaw Canadians watching the Olympic coverage from Beijing can hardly have missed the Bell commercial touting a new digital video recorder that features an external hard drive permitting users to "record forever." The archiving functionality may […]
The Globe and Mail publishes its masthead editorial on C-61. The verdict? While supportive of the intent of copyright reform, it notes the concern over how the bill mirrors the DMCA and expresses disappointment over the failure to extend and adapt fair dealing, stating that: Perhaps the Conservatives do not […]
Athabasca University Associate Vice-President of Research Rory McGreal has a great op-ed in the Edmonton Journal. McGreal argues that "the proposed new Bill C-61 will have profound negative effects on researchers and educators as well as the general public, preventing them from exercising their historical rights. We need to balance […]