In the immediate aftermath of yesterday's Speech from the Throne, some copyright watchers claimed that it foreshadowed the return of a Canadian DMCA, pointing to language that promises to "strengthen laws governing intellectual property and copyright." While the return of Bill C-61 is a possibility, comments from Industry Minister Tony Clement immediately afterward suggest that he is not a mirror image of his predecessor Jim Prentice.
Clement has spoken frequently on the need for forward-looking legislation and launched a major copyright consultation effort last summer. Yesterday, he was asked specifically about copyright and U.S. claims that Canada is a copyright outlaw on CTV's Power Play. His response:
I've been pretty clear to the Americans and in my public statements that we are moving ahead with copyright reform. The key is, from the American perspective, they want us to be part of WIPO, which is an international treaty on protecting intellectual property. We don't have a problem with that, but we're going to do it in a made-in-Canada way. We're not just going to take what the Americans are doing or what the Europeans are doing. We are going to fit it to the Canadian context and I think that is the right thing to do.
Tom Clark then asks – "so are we joining WIPO?" and Clement says that Canada will be consistent with WIPO. Note that Clement was also asked specifically about a digital economy strategy. After noting that Canada is "fair to middling" in international ranks on the digital economy, he pointed to three key areas. First, the need for a legislative agenda that includes passing the Electronic Commerce Protection Act (the anti-spam bill), introducing copyright reform, and updating Canadian privacy laws. Second, investing in broadband and networks. Third, helping spur business adoption of technology.