Assessing Canada’s New Copyright Bill: The Video

The day after the government introduced Bill C-32, I spoke at the GRAND Annual Conference, a federal NCE on Graphics, Animation and New Media.  While the full talk discussed recent attempts at copyright reform, I've pulled the discussion on C-32 into its own video.  The 16 minute talk – a combination of slides and audio (recorded off an iPhone so excuse the quality) – is available online and posted below.

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  1. Mr. Geist, in general, I believe you are correct with your assessment that the bill could likely be “fixed” by explicitly allowing circumvention for lawful purposes. However, in the language of the bill, the only apparent lawful exemption on circumvention permitted is that of making a computer program interoperable. While I can see the clear and useful benefits of this particular exemption (perhaps mostly because I myself am a computer programmer), I would maintain it probably does not go far enough, as this purpose is not reasonably likely to be available to most people, rendering the notion of still prohibiting unlawful circumvention as a “trump card” that outlaws most practical and reasonable usages.

    The exemptions on outlawed circumvention themselves, I believe, should be made more general so that the circumvention would not be outlawed when and if one did not commit copyright infringement, and for technologies that circumvent, they should not be outlawed when a practical purpose exists for the circumventing technology that does not infringe on copyright, and if the technology is distributed, it is distributed solely for that purpose.

    I believe that this, in addition to your remark to narrow the prohibited circumvention to unlawful circumvention only, would likely suffice to make the bill not only tolerable, but actually a very positive direction for Canada in the realm of copyright.

  2. Emphasis
    Michael, someone that only listens to the first few minutes of your speech comes away feeling far too good about C32.

    If I were you I would structure your speech more like your title “Flawed but Fixable”, such that C32’s flaws preceed it’s positive aspects. I know you are trying to appear balanced and reasonable, but this bill taken as a whole would be a disaster for Canada. That doesn’t come across soon enough in your presentation.

  3. gordon mcdowell says:

    copied video to YouTube

    …and I’d agree with David’s comment. The video does more good than harm of course, but something to consider for your next video. A presentation you give in front of a live audience is watched to the end. YouTube videos are frequently stopped after 1 minute.

  4. There was no mention of the tools required to circumvent. Would you not say that this is also important? After all, allowing circumvention of digital locks for legal purposes wouldn’t do much good while the creation of the tools necessary to do so remain illegal.

  5. @Crade – that was exactly my point, above.

  6. gordon mcdowell says:

    YouTube video fixed – First version had no audio
    Friend pointed out the 1st YouTube video had no audio (I just downloaded and uploaded Geist’s MOV from Blip). So I transcoded the audio when exporting a MP4, and uploaded that…