James Moore’s TV Habits

Canwest runs a story that picks up on Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore's comments yesterday that he watches more television on his iPod or through his PVR than he does on a conventional television set.  I am quoted in the piece, noting that many of the Moore's viewing habits may infringe the Copyright Act, since recording television shows (whether on a PVR or VCR) will still violate the law in most instances.  It should be clear that there is nothing wrong with Moore's activities – millions of Canadians do the same thing.  The problem lies with a law that has been targeted by lobbyists for more locks and restrictions, rather than creating much needed flexibility to legalize everyday activities and to facilitate new innovation.  I've written about the PVR problem in the past, including Bell's record forever PVR, the effect of the broadcast flag, and some of the shortcoming in Bill C-61's attempt to legalize time shifting in Canada (here, here, here, and here).


  1. CBC personalities are also bad for this…
    …saying downloading or using your iPod to watch TV is illegal and it’s our moral duty to buy the proper formats or devices.

    Some have clue not one about the CPCC as I have exchanged emails with some of them and they were shocked to learn the DMCA didn’t apply here.

    Way to go, morons!

  2. So is Minister Moore breaking the law or not?
    In the Canwest story you are quoted as saying that Minister Moore’s PVR viewing was against the law as it stood at the time of recording/viewing. This blog posting does not make it clearer. Are you saying that he broke the law, or not?

  3. Dwight Williams says:

    Which reporters weren’t aware of the non-applicability of the US DMCA?
    And at which news services?

  4. insert name says:

    At Confused

    I believe what Dr. Geist is saying is that if the copyright reform had gone through it would have infringed the Copyright Act.

    Right now there are Canadian and American lobby groups who want this type of thing thing to be against the law.

    1)”It should be clear that there is nothing wrong with Moore’s activities – millions of Canadians do the same thing.”

    2)”The problem lies with a law that has been targeted by lobbyists for more locks and restrictions,”

  5. Boiled Frog says:

    Using a PVR is Illegal
    Using a PVR in Canada is not strictly legal as the law currently stands. Bill C-61 included a clause which made using a PVR legal but you were only allowed to watch a show once.

  6. @ Dwight Williams
    I’ve heard several mention this on CBC Radio One over the years… hosts and callers. I heard the falshood again (that downloading is illegal) on A Propos last Sat.

    A simple email with a link to the usually clears it up.

  7. Locked, blocked and forgotten. Added to the just 4 laughs tv show
    The EXCESS COPYRIGHT Blog by Mr. Knopf:
    Minister Moore and the PVR

    Minister’s PVR use highlights need for clear copyright rules: expert

    “Heritage Minister James Moore – one of the government’s lead on the copyright file – admitted Monday that he hasn’t always abided by Canada’s copyright law.”

    “Geist would like to hear Moore say last year’s draft “didn’t achieve the things it needed to achieve to bring the (copyright law) up to date.”

    “In a statement, Moore’s office said he recognizes Canada’s copyright law “needs to be updated,” but declined to say if the heritage minister is pushing for major revisions of the copyright legislation tabled last year.”

    +1 Mr. Geist!

  8. Moore Explanation says:

    Wrong and Legal aren’t the same.
    Could you clarify the legality of the typical acts involving a PVR – since the private copying provision noted in the comments applies only to music.

    There does not appear to be any exception for private copying of broadcast or transmitted video in the act.

    It appears to me that the fair dealing exception could apply to these uses if they fall under the category of private study. Has the scope of ‘private study’ been interpreted by the courts to cover these types of uses?

    I agree there’s nothing wrong with any of the PVR uses but strictly speaking they do appear to be infringing and not clearly exempt.

  9. George Smiley says:

    Lock him up
    James Moore should be the first person charged under any new copyright legislation.

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