C-32 Legislative Committee, Day Two: Clement & Moore Take Centre Stage

The second public meeting of the C-32 legislative committee took place yesterday with Industry Minister Tony Clement and Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore taking centre stage.  The eventful day included a frank admission from government officials that the digital lock provisions trump educational rights.  There is coverage from Postmedia and the CBC.  The key moments from the Moore & Clement discussion:

  • Liberal MP Marc Garneau immediately focused on the inconsistency in Moore’s comments on CBC’s Power & Politics, where he expressed concern about consumer unfairness in being asked to pay multiple times for the same content via a levy.  Garneau noted that same could be said for digital locks and consumer rights.  Moore weakly responded that consumers who circumvented for non-commercial purposes could still cause significant harm.  The response makes little sense since the consumer would still infringe copyright if they make the work available online.  In other words, allowing consumers to circumvent for personal purposes does not give them the right to make the same works available without authorization.
  • During the same discussion, Moore told Garneau that “my personal digital media consumption habits, I personally choose to buy products that don’t have digital locks.” The comment seems incredible for a Minister who regularly discusses his media consumption – does he really not buy any e-books for his iPad?  No DVDs or BluRays?  No games for a gaming console?  As I told Postmedia, “his suggestion that he avoids purchasing products with digital locks demonstrates how badly informed he is with respect to how pervasive these locks have become. Millions of Canadians face these locks every day and the minister has effectively acknowledged that they will not be able to exercise their consumer rights under his bill.”
  • All three opposition led with digital locks as their lead concern.  This clearly bodes well for possible amendments.  Indeed, in response to an Angus question, Clement acknowledged that even the U.S. has been changing on the DMCA and that he was open to reform suggestions on digital locks since the bill was not written in stone. 
  • Clement also went out of his way to defend the fair dealing reforms, particularly the education exception.  Citing my comment that it is fair dealing, not free dealing, Clement rightly noted that there are limits to fair dealing.
  • There was considerable discussion on the extension of the private copying levy.  It is clear that the issue will remain a focal point of debate, particularly once supportive groups appear before the committee.

Once the Ministers completed their appearance, government officials took over for another hour of questions.  The signature moment again came in an exchange with Garneau, who was able to get a Canadian Heritage official to admit that the digital lock provisions trump educational rights.  The hearings continue next week.


  1. Blais certainly did is best to evade and avoid the answer about locks trumping education rights, etc. Good for Garneau for forcing him into the corner.

    Is McTeague trying to take up where Bulte left off? OLO should replace him ASAP.

  2. Russell McOrmond says:

    Minister Moore’s lack of technical knowledge
    The important take-away from Minister Moore’s claim that he doesn’t buy things with digital locks is that it demonstrates he has no idea what they are. He owns an iPad and an iPhone, both of which have C-32 protected TPMs applied to them. Even if he *NEVER PURCHASED ANY CONTENT* for these devices, he still has C-32 protected digital locks on the technology choices he is excessively proud to promote.

  3. A few things …
    First, I have to highlight as well, the lack of understanding of Minister Moore has for the actual technology involved in copyright issues. It is disgraceful for a minister to be so uninformed of the portfolio he is in charge of. It is also becoming embarrassing for the CPC as more light is being shown on this issue. I’d be happy to give him some pointers, just ask 😉

    The inconsistencies in the arguments being put forward by the CPC only highlight the need for a more comprehensive approach, not just to copyright, but to our whole digital economy and future. This is going to take a concerted effort by all the stakeholders involved, something mored in depth an in the inclusive than the consultation we had last year and less Majorly influenced by only one sector (business). We also need more investment, and dare I say it regulation, to insure that our digital infrastructure [physical & legislative] is on par with the rest of the developed world, lest we be left behind. Not only to the benefit of any one party, but to business, consumers, creators, educators, innovators … etc.

  4. Yeah, Mr. Moore doesn’t seem to understand that, for most media, there is no TPM free option. Music has mostly moved TPM free, yes, but movies are still mired in it and so may be eBooks (I think there’s some thoughts in both sides on this) if the publishers can get what they want out of this. And maybe music again in the future. And despite asking and getting some answers, I have yet to hear how TPM actually helps creators (their distributors, sure, creators, no). I know they need to be legally protected I’d also like the bill to legally protect us from it’s over use, but I doubt that will happen) to meet WIPO standards, but what we have in the bill now is not something that actually works.