- 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.