The Final Copyright Consultation Numbers: No Repeat Of Bill C-61

The copyright consultation concluded last fall and it seems worth reminding Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore and Industry Minister Tony Clement what Canadians had to say when they asked for their opinion on copyright reform.  It has taken some time to calculate the final numbers as the government conducted a review to ensure that all were properly posted. There were ultimately more than 8,300 submissions – more than any government consultation in recent memory – with the overwhelming majority rejecting Bill C-61 (6138 submissions against, 54 in support), while thousands called for flexible fair dealing and a link between copyright infringement and anti-circumvention rules.

Position Number of Supporters
Submissions against another Bill C-61 6138
Submissions in favour of shorter Copyright terms or against extending Copyright terms 5520
Submissions against anti-circumvention or in favour of limiting DRM/Digital locks 6641
Submissions in favour of stronger personal use/copying and backup protections including format shifting and time shifting rights 6242
Submissions in favour of an “open copyright” system 16
Submissions advocating abolishing or reforming Crown Copyright 209
Submissions opposed to adopting an American-styled DMCA 262
Submissions in favour of stronger fair use/fair dealing protections 5962
Submissions opposed to implementing WIPO 19
Submissions in favour of eliminating all copyright 14
Submissions against a three-strikes rule 170
Submissions that favour a “notice and notice” approach 6027
Submissions in favour of instituting a levy for file-sharing/monetizing P2P 104
Submissions in favour of greater exemptions for education/research 74
Submissions in favour of establish a good-faith defence that the user believed their use of a work was fair and non-infringing 5958
Submissions in favour of laws that are technologically neutral 5617
Submissions that argue individuals should be protected from liability as long as their use was private and non-commercial 5987
Submissions in favour of a parody/satire exemption 80
Submissions in favour of ISP neutrality 76
Submissions satisfied with current laws 29
Submissions calling for a stronger/updated public domain 133
Submissions against media levies 45
Submissions that favour low caps on statutory damages for non-commercial infringement 47
Submissions in favour of digital access to archival holdings 29
Submissions concerned about maintaining privacy 23
Submissions in favour of stronger penalties for copyright infringement 11
Submissions in favour of turning copyright into a crime 5
Submissions arguing for more protections/reforms for photographers 21
Submissions against works being available in digital or other forms for free and that argue creators need to be fairly compensated 256
Submissions arguing for stronger protection for writers and other artists 79
Submissions opposed to creating new/expanding exceptions 108
Submissions opposed to an expansion of fair dealing 107
Submissions in favour of notice and takedown 24
Submissions in favour of implementing WIPO 187
Submissions promoting a collective licensing scheme 97
Submissions in favour of high statutory fines 9
Submissions promoting longer copyright terms/opposed to shortening copyright terms 5
Submissions in favour of fining those who violate copyright laws 1
Submissions in favour of limiting/halting unauthorized file sharing 153
Submissions endorsing Bill C-61 54
Submissions proposing the expansion of the private copying levy 73
Submissions supporting anti-circumvention measures 46
Submissions proposing a re-sale right 25
Submissions calling for broader Moral Rights protections 24
Submissions calling for ISPs to play a bigger gatekeeping role in stopping online piracy 19
Submissions proposing a graduated response penalty system 5
Total Submissions 8306


  1. Anonymous says:

    Looks like the numbers tell you everything. Just watch the government pull out a “well what about the people that didn’t submit – that means they must have been in favor !” bullsh*t response. Anything goes to get their self-serving public-chaining bills out there…

  2. Well, there are 30 million who didn’t. And the 54 in favour of C-61 were associations representing far more than 8000 people.

  3. The notion of linking infringement and anti-circumvention provisions is sort of tricky, because it could imply (and the bill could be drawn up as such) that by being an extension to copyright law, any circumvention would already be infringing, defeating most of the point. I should think, therefore, that it should be worded in such a way as to ensure that circumvention of protection not be criminal unless the person is otherwise infringing on copyright, so that any existing connection that any proposed anti-circumvention provisions might have with copyright does not render any such exemption moot.

  4. @Bob: I’m not sure if you’re trolling for a response or not. This data shows no link between the submissions and if they were submitted by associations or not.

    By this same thinking, we can argue that of the 5962 submissions for stronger fair use copyright terms there must have been some “associations representing far more than 8000 people.”


  5. It’s nice to have the numbers on record, but they don’t really mean anything.

    The purchased legislation will go ahead regardless of the “there, we asked you” consultation.

  6. @Bob
    People should have to take a stats course before commenting on stats. Moron.

    All that those number tell us is that, accounting for the pro-C61 and the anti-C61 industry/association groups who submitted, there were substantially more individuals siding with the anti-C61 groups who care sufficiently to give a submission as individuals. Sigh. The internet is great, except that they just let anybody use it. There should be an IQ minimum requirement….

  7. Laurel L. Russwurm says:

    Sounds Good
    In the same way elections are not decided on the basis of suppositions about how those who have not voted might have, you can’t assume anything about copycon submissions that were not made. As well you can not assume that any organization speaks unanimously for all of its members. In any case, organizations speak for themselves first. If all the members of any of these organizations actually do believe that C-61 was a good thing, they should have made their own individual submissions. And if these people feel disenfranchised by the process, perhaps it would be good to hold additional consultations.

    Certainly this is a process that should not be rushed. After all, the point of democratic law is that they should support the mores of the particular democratic society. Since it seems Canadians want a made-in-Canada copyright law, if needed more consultation could reasonably be called for.

    Taking the time to get it right would be far better for Canada than to follow the unfortunate example provided by the UK government’s rush to push through their unfortunate Digital Economy Bill without allowing for proper scrutiny and democratic debate as it passed through the UK legislative process. I suspect their government will be wading through the fallout, both in the bill’s inadequacies as well as societal outrage, for quite some time to come.

  8. PorkBellyFutures says:

    Consultations are not referendums
    What’s the point of counting comments? If 10,000 people submit the exact same comment (remember the flood of EFF form letters they got during the last copyright consultation 10 years ago?) should their argument carry more weight than a counter-argument submitted by 100 people?

    Isn’t the purpose of this to gather information, rather than vote on the next bill?

    Would you mind now please going through the submissions again and telling us how many unique and valid arguments are raised for and against each measure.

  9. Source?
    Where can I find the results online? I tried the original gov’t consultation pages, but they haven’t been updated.

    My concern with this sort of “public consultation” is that the results are statistically meaningless. Only those with a strong opinion (or deeper than average understanding) take the time to write a submission, which dramatically skews the results.

  10. @Bob:

    I guess then those individuals should have taken the time to submit their own response if they feel so strongly about it. I mean why shouldn’t we extend the same logic to the general vote. “All those people that didn’t vote clearly would have voted for X.”

  11. Harold Jarche says:

    Anon Comments
    I’m not sure what the value of anonymous comments are to this thread. Bob may be a troll and other “first name only” commentators could be lobbyists, for all we know. Digital copyright is a concern of mine, as I publish a fair bit online and I also work with many web start-ups. Michael provides an excellent source of analysis here and it is rather sad that the comments are beginning to look like the anonymous crap we see on YouTube and CBC.

    Harold Jarche

  12. im anon too says:

    @Harold Jarche

    Not everyone is busy making a name for themselves by spamming their website on the most prominent and important Canadian web page of our generation. k?

    This borderless website attracts everyone of all ages and all levels. Anon single name users along with people who use fake names, and along with people who use their real name followed by the spamming of their own website to gain hits and attention. Everyone as a whole contribute one way or another and learn. Please go rant about anon on your own website and make a story about it or something. Better yet, require an internet driver license for your own website and block the world. No need for it here. k?

    Bob, not everyone belonging to those associations agreed with what their association wrote. This would be another interesting stat, if it were available. Even competing or similar organizations took different sides. Can’t just clump them all into a yes or no type thing.

    Mark, I agree with Laurel. Let’s use the current Wikileaks example. That leak has a government copyright, the UK farce can actually allow their gov, upon request from the US, to block it. Is this what you want? Now what if people circumvent these technological blocking methods (country wide DRM?)? Now everyone using a proxy is guilty. This is what we are headed for as well. What if Prof Geist got his hands on some big Canadian gov ACTA leak and gave it to Wikileaks to spill to the world? You ready to be punished for wanting to read what your government is hiding from you? Now what if you used Utorrent to download that government (blocked?) copyright file? This would be unauthorized file sharing. “Infringing on copyright” (your words).

    They just can’t jump into this and worry about it later like the UK is doing. The UK is the example for the world of what not to follow.

    Just my anon 2-cents.
    No link to spam 😉

  13. Harold Jarche says:

    Dear im anon too – ’nuff said – you prove my point. As my kids say, “don’t feed the troll”

    Sorry, Michael – no more comments from me on this thread.

  14. Hats off to Prof Geist for taking the time to read through all 8300+ submissions! Everyday I am more impressed than the last by your determination to the public interest.

  15. Harold..

    I’ve been participating in online forums and discussion groups for over 25 years now.. Yes, longer than the internet has been widespread, there were similar groups back in the dialup BBS days.

    Early on, I also felt that “anonymous” comments were inappropriate as well. But over the years I have changed my position on that view. You have to learn to evaluate the message, not the messenger. In fact, there are some situations that I wish that *all* comments were anonymous, to avoid the “authority response” I so often see, both from the messenger and other readers.

    There are many possible reasons for an “anonymous” or “unidentifiable” comment, some inappropriate and some very valid. You don’t even know if a “valid” name is real or not – even if it does include a web link. It is very easy to build a respectable online “identity” that has no basis in reality.

    So my recommendation is to ignore the “identity” and look to the message – always.

  16. pat donovan says:

    and it lookslike it’s FUD time out there again.

    myself, bigger abd better from a convicted rapist doesn’t sound real promising. Having one listen to you first doesn’t exactly… errr.. ‘police the area clean’ for me.

    big brother via patronage contract is, alas, a hope for sanity now.

  17. Another James says:

    Frankly, I think copyright should be limited to 20 years after the death of the author. Additionally I think that if a copyright holder, e.g. publisher/record label doesn’t make a work available for purchase for more than 5 years all rights should revert to the original creator(s).

  18. Do you really think they are going to listen to this. We have a minister that’s under investigation by the RCMP with respect to issues around lobbying, the Toronto Copyright Town hall was filled with Industry types (should be investigated by the ethics committee and RCMP as well). On top of this Clements comments on the fact that “users” need to know what the rule of the game is, doesn’t bring up much hope from a Minister who destroyed Ontario Health care. Don’t expect much from Clement and his gang of Mafioso. I think we’ll end up with a copyright bill that meets lobby demands. Clement right from the beginning of this “consultation” seemed to already have his mind made up, and didn’t appear too interested in the discussions taking place. My thoughts anyway.

  19. You forgot about the ministers doors swinging open for the lobbyist and shutting the people up and out before the farces you stated above, and before the “public consultations” which to me seemed like a fake show they put on.

    Couple this with the fact that the big telco’s DPI prior to handing off connections to the internet wholesalers that the CRTC allowed (PrivCom, to me, didn’t do much either) and you now have the exact scenario the UK just passed.

    Boils down to the exact same thing with zero difference.

    The only thing we don’t have (yet), like the UK has now, is mandatory “copyright infringement reporting” every 3-months by the ISP’s to the industry by way of DPI.

    Anything else different? Not that I see.

    The stats above speaks for themselves. If the government goes against the people and their very own consultation then… well, you know.

  20. Marco Polo says:

    SIGN THIS – Dr. Geist helps with Wellington Declaration in NZ this past weekend
    Spotted this over the weekend and for some odd reason it’s not on this website.

    Seems the good Doc rested in NZ this weekend helping to put together the Wellington Declaration to be present on the 12th to NZ ACTA negotiators.

    However, over in NZ, the 12th is right now.

    So people should be furiously spamming this around to get people to sign I suppose.

    Hurry, sign it here:

    the Wellington Declaration

    The Wellington ACTA Declaration
    Geist on ACTA — in New Zealand

    Sign. Don’t delay. It’s open for all people in all countries.

  21. Laurel L. Russwurm says:

    copycon is still online and accessible to all
    All the copyright consultations can still be read online here:

    Anyone is free to read them all and sort them into whatever categories they want as Professor Geist did.

    I’ve read some of them and there is a great deal of good information and ideas to be found there. This is a discussion that is well worth having, the greater the participation the better. From much of what I’ve read there I’ve been revising my copycon opinions… for instance I’m now inclined to think 5 years is plenty long for any copyright term.

    When I was young, there was a great hue and cry about the lack of a “Canadian Identity”. A great deal of a culture’s identity comes from the arts. Thanks to the Internet, no one is worrying about that anymore because Canadian art & culture is undergoing a tremendous renaissance. 30% of the Canadian music industry has gone independent of the branch plant record companies that have controlled our music industry for half a century.

    We are fortunate to have a minority government, since there is a much better chance that a minority government will listen to the citizens.

  22. Patrick Fitzgerald says:

    RE: Bob
    Well if they had associations of 8000+ people you think if even 1% of those people submitted to the conslation in favor of C-61 (Now C-11) that would be 43,200+ submissions. Also that’s not even counting those within those associations who may not completely agree with the ‘party line’ of their associations too.