Archive for September, 2010

How Canada’s New Copyright Law Threatens to Make Culture Criminals of Us All

This Magazine looks at Bill C-32 and comes out warning against the digital lock provisions in the bill.

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September 20, 2010 2 comments News


The European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS), which includes companies such as IBM, Nokia, Oracle, Opera, and Red Hat, has issued a new position paper expressing concern about ACTA.

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September 20, 2010 Comments are Disabled News

The Canadian Music Industry on C-32: A House Divided

Musician Carole Pope has an op-ed in the Globe and Mail today calling on the government to reform Bill C-32 by extending the private copying to MP3 players.  That approach was derided by both Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore and Industry Minister Tony Clement as the iTax last spring and Clement tweeted a response today.  Regardless of your view on the levy, the op-ed highlights just how divided the music industry in Canada is on Bill C-32.  While sites like the CRIA-backed Balanced Copyright for Canada seek to project an image of strong support for the bill, the reality is that the Canadian music industry is deeply divided on many aspects of the proposed legislation.  In fact, in recent weeks it has turned increasingly critical, touting the need to pass the bill, but simultaneously offering mounting criticism of its provisions.

For example, the uneditable letter now being used by the Balanced Copyright for Canada site tells MPs and Senators that “unfortunately Bill C-32 falls short of meeting the government’s stated intentions. The core message, ‘thou shalt not steal’ is diluted by such a bewildering array of exceptions that if anything the situation for creators will grow worse.” This represents a significant change from earlier letters that did not include such criticisms.  In fact, the initial BCFC consumer letter stated:

I believe the Copyright Act amendments proposed in Bill C-32 do a good job of balancing the right of artists and creators to benefit financially from their work, and the ability of consumers like me to make copies for non-commercial use and personal enjoyment. If Bill C-32 passes, it will give me the peace of mind of knowing that when I take music I’ve purchased and downloaded online, and copy it to my player, it’s legal. There will be no doubt in my mind that the PVR copy of a movie or the episode of my favourite TV show that I’ve made for later viewing doesn’t infringe copyright. And, I will know that my favourite singers, musicians, and film makers have been financially and fairly compensated for their work and creativity.

The new criticisms from the BCFC are just the tip of the iceberg:

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September 20, 2010 36 comments News

BSA’s Latest Study on Piracy and Economic Benefits “Shockingly Misleading”

This week the Business Software Alliance published a new study which purports to estimate the economic gain from a ten percent reduction in piracy of business software.  For Canada, the BSA claims that the reduction would create over 6,000 new jobs and generate billions in GDP and tax revenue.  Given […]

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September 17, 2010 42 comments News

Millions at Stake in Education Copyright Battle

Thousands of Canadian students headed back to school this month with many facing rising loans to pay for tuition, books, and accommodation.  My technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that as students struggle to make ends meet, significant new costs loom on the horizon as a result of a battle brewing over copying in universities and colleges.  Indeed, the University of Western Ontario has increased its student copying fee this year by over 500% in anticipation of the new fees.  The column – posted below – notes the many ways that universities access materials in ways that do not rely on the Access Copyright tariff yet still yield compensation for creators (or reflect their choice in making works freely available). That point seems to have been missed in this response from Alan Cumyn of the Writers’ Union of Canada.

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September 17, 2010 16 comments Columns