The intersection of fair dealing and documentary production has been at the heart of DOC’s advocacy efforts for many years, and this is why we are particularly concerned about the bill’s provisions on digital locks. DOC supports digital locks as a form of protecting one’s expression from infringement, but the current digital locks provisions proposed in Bill C-32 do not provide exceptions for anti-circumvention measures for the purposes of fair dealing.
Visual materials are the raw matter with which documentary filmmakers work. Having access to various sources – analog and digital – is essential to the craft of documentary. As technology advances, we encode our history on different media. History is being digitized. The ubiquity of digital media may lead to more digital locks, but how can we have free access to this history if it is unavailable because of a digital lock? Consider the impact this would have on our ability, as Canadians, to tell our own stories.
The introduction of digital locks without the proper exceptions for fair dealing, especially for the purpose of documentary filmmaking, would hinder documentary filmmakers’ ability to carry out their trade. If documentary filmmakers are kept from practising their craft because of digital locks, they are being denied their freedom of speech and creative expression. Fair dealing is legal. Criminalizing the tools, or the creation and sale of tools, to exercise fair dealing is an inherent contradiction in copyright law.