During the consultations, creators told us they needed new rights and protections to succeed in a digital environment, and so the bill before us implements those kinds of rights and protections of the WIPO Internet Treaties and paves the way for a future decision on ratification.
Copyright holders told us that their 21st-century business model depends on strong technological protection measures. And we listened: Bill C-32 contains protection measures such as digital locks to protect against piracy and to allow creators to choose how they wish to protect their works.
The Liberal Party has problems with digital locks and technological protection measures, or TPMs. The Liberal Party has concerns with the application of new TPM circumvention amendments in Bill C-32. Specifically as it applies to music, video and other digital media, the Liberal Party believes the Copyright Act must allow Canadians who have legitimately purchased a CD, DVD or other product the ability to transfer their purchase onto other personal devices, such as an iPod, or make a personal backup copy on their computers so long as they are not doing so for the purposes of sale or transfer to others. We do not believe that Bill C-32 achieves that principle at this time. There are various ways in which a solution could be found and we look forward to examining the different options in committee.
The digital locks make a mockery of any claim of giving fair rights. The government says that we will get fair dealing rights for education and for reproduction for private purposes. People can make back-up copies; there will be copying rights for the print disabled; there is the so-called YouTube mash-up provision. But if there is a digital lock in place, all those rights are erased. Clause 41.1 lays out very clear technological protection measures, which supersede the rights that citizens would otherwise enjoy. Thus Bill C-32 offers citizens’ rights that they will not actually be able to access. What the government is doing is creating a two-tiered set of rights between digital and non-digital products. Instead of legal certainty, Canadian citizens will face arbitrary limitations on what should be their legal right of access.
This bill is totally unbalanced because it benefits major U.S. companies and major computer gaming software companies to the detriment of artists. There are two totally disheartening approaches in this bill and seven deadly sins, if I can put it that way. The first approach is one using digital locks. Sure, we can say that digital locks are necessary, and that they must be respected, but to base an entire bill on them is a bit much. With this bill, the government is telling artists that if they want to make money, all they have to do is put digital locks on their musical works to prevent anyone from copying them. If people want to make a copy for themselves, or to transfer the music to another format, it would be absurd to make them buy the original work again. That makes no sense, and it will not work. We are talking about the survival of artists and their art here, and this is important for many reasons. An approach based on digital locks is completely ludicrous.