The Copyright Consulation: Five Weeks Left As Stakes Build

The national copyright consultation is down to the final five weeks and over the past week, there has been a growing number of op-eds and public commentary that provide Canadians with a good sense of what the traditional copyright lobby is pushing for as part of the consultation.  While some have expressed skepticism about the consultation process, the reality is that the risk of saying nothing is simply far too high.  Consider:

  • CRIA and CMPDA lobbyist Barry Sookman, in a National Post op-ed written with Stephen Stohn, labels Canada a piracy heaven while calling for "graduated response" (the euphemism for three strikes and a user loses Internet access for a year), anti-circumvention legislation, ISP liability, notice and takedown, secondary liability for sites like the Pirate Bay, and limited fair dealing expansion rather than a more flexible approach. 
  • In a second piece, Sookman notes that the government needs to get moving on copyright reform and calls for WIPO ratification, while Glen Bloom is quoted as saying the consultation isn't needed, claiming that "endless consultation is useless" and that it is an embarrassment for Canadian law to be in the state it is.
  • ACTRA seeks an expansion of the private copying levy to other media such as iPods.
  • Access Copyright warns its members that the "debate takes aim at your livelihood."

While there have been op-eds providing a counter-perspective (notably Olivier Charbonneau in Le Devoir), the picture that is emerging is precisely what CIRPA head Duncan McKie suggested on the eve of the consultation – "C-61 didn't go far enough."

There is only one way to counter this.  The roundtables have to-date been balanced and there are many submissions that express the need for a fair copyright approach.  Indeed, last week the Manitoba Music Industry Association distanced itself from CRIA in saying its members are not interested in anti-circumvention legislation.  However, the big lobbying efforts are clearly aimed at expanding C-61 by adding three-strikes and you're out as well as new levies to a Canadian DMCA. Canadians simply cannot afford to stay silent – Speak Out On Copyright today.

Update: An earlier version of this post noted that the Sookman and Stohn op-ed contained recommendations that were similar to those found in the Conference Board of Canada's deleted reports. This reference was not intended to suggest that their recommendations were in any way influenced by, or plagiarized from, what the Conference Board included in its deleted report. This post has also been updated to clarify the specific comments of Bloom and Sookman.


  1. pat donovan says:

    avro arrow, nortel..
    worst service with world’s BEST system here.
    housing + unemployment crisis

    shaw now encrypting, bell suing over authority, censoring and ad-subsitution
    well past time to move OUT of their reach, i think.

  2. Lobbyists vs. proles: Lobbyists win, right?
    In other words, what you’re saying is that all the rabble in the country can make all the submissions they want, but years of direct lobbying by “the copyright industry” are going to pay off for them.

  3. Culture Vs Copyright
    If any over-kill copyright law is passed everyone is going underground and i don’t think it will slow any online piracy down. Canadian culture is about sharing a law making sharing illegal isn’t going to effect our nature. I hope the law makers save us some time and regular citizens thousands in lawyer fees and law suits and come up with something realistic

  4. If the music industry can’t figure out how to make money on the sharing of music which this industry has always relied on, then let free market take those at the top out. I agree that people should speak out on this issue, and it’s important for them to do so, however the majority Canadians often don’t, until they are faced with it.

    I guarantee the artistic community along with the Canadian public will respond very harshly to the politicians and industry. I think the industry and government should put forth lobby demands, so once and for all we can send these guys packing, and monetize P2P.

  5. Bob Morris says:

    I think you can assume that the form letters will only count as one. Also, interesting that the big guns haven’t yet posted theirs!

  6. Matt Jones says:

    Private copying levy AND three strikes?
    Amazing – so they want you to pay a tax to make up for music that might be copied to your iPod, then also prevent you from doing it? Great business model, that…

  7. Brian Edwards says:

    re: Private copying AND three strikes?
    It’s a great strategy…. make money from people they catch, and make even more on the side by not doing anything!.

    too bad they think people are stupid.

  8. Simple Test
    All I want is one simple test: “The owner of the physical machine is the person who controls it.”

    This entails:
    – DRM is fine, as long as I can delete the restriction software along with the content.
    – On my devices, I am in full control of any content I am author of (the point of copyright in the first place). Zune’s “Squirting” DRM is an example where this is violated.
    – On my devices, I am in full control of any content in the public domain. Consider DRM restrictions on the Bible, Shakespeare, Beowulf, etc.
    – My technology shouldn’t be remotely accessible in any capacity, nor should it automatically be capable of deleting files. Amazon’s resent Kindle debacle should serve as an example. If files are deleted/exposed on my devices, the organization that placed the DRM should be held responsible.
    – It is perfectly reasonable to assume that SINs and Credit Card #s are entered onto a computer. I should thus have the right to determine, or pay someone qualified to determine, if it is safe to enter critical data onto my computer. The issue of copyright is currently framed around music and movies. But with the adoption of computation in corporations we must look at security in terms of every major industry. I don’t want music companies to be screwed, but I’d rather my banks be secure.

    There would be more to it, but these are the important aspects in my mind.