For example, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind is quoted as saying â€œthis copyright legislation ensures Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have opportunities to participate in life.â€ What did the CNIB tell the Bill C-32 legislative committee in its brief?
CNIB recommends that business practices such as Technical Protection Measures, which restrict accessibility, not be enshrined in legislation. Rather, Canada should invest in a digital publishing industry that produces formats designed for universal access and broadens the market for its cultural products. However, if technical protection measures are legislated, then expand S.32 so that it recognizes that circumvention (and circumvention tools) are permitted when it is for the purpose of making material accessible to persons with perceptual disabilities.
Moore also tweeted that the Canadian Association of University Teachers was of the view that “this represents a genuine effort to introduce balance into Canadian copyright law.” What did the CAUT submit to the Bill C-32 legislative committee?
While one of the main objectives of Bill C-32 was to allow educators, libraries and students to make greater use of copyright material, the prohibition on the circumvention of technological protection measures undermines tht objective completely. It means, for example, that material that is in a paper format and can be legally copied now under fair dealing, cannot be copied for educational or research purposes, if it is in electronic format and digitally encrypted. The current Bill thereby fails to ensure that the Copyright Act remains electronically neutral, another objective for this copyright reform. This unnecessarily restrictive approach to dealing with technological protective measures negates the benefits provided by the expansion of fair dealing rights.
There are many other groups that Moore failed to cite. He could have cited the Retail Council of Canada, which submitted to the C-32 committee:
We join the chorus of many manufacturers of consumer electronics and many artists themselves who believe that overly rigid technical protection measures are bad for artistic creativity, bad for innovation and last but not least, bad for retailers’ business and business in general. If Bill C-32 as now exists had been on the books in 1980, we would not have had the VCR, the personal computer and countless other products that we have depended upon.
There should be no prohibition of devices or services that have substantial non-infringing uses. Consumers should be free to do whatever they want with their hardware and software, as long as that use is for private purposes and is otherwise non-infringing. That is all that is required by the treaties and that is as far as Canada should go.
Or he could have cited the Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright, whose members include the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, Canadian Association of Internet Providers, a division of CATAlliance, Canadian Cable Systems Alliance, Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, Computer and Communications Industry Association, the Retail Council of Canada, Bell, Bell Aliant, Cogeco Cable, EastLink, eBay, Google, MTS Allstream, Rogers, SaskTel, TELUS, Third Brigade, Tucows, and Yahoo! Canada. Their submission to the C-32 committee stated:
To provide greater consistency between the personal use provisions (which as drafted currently prohibit circumvention of both access control and copy control TPMs) and the general anti-circumvention provisions (which only prohibit circumvention of access control TPMs), we propose that the personal use exceptions would continue to be available where a copy control measure has been circumvented, but not where an access control measure has been circumvented. Providing consumers with consistent personal use rights in this manner would prevent confusion and foster innovation.
Moore could have pointed to the Council of Ministers of Education Canada, representing all provincial education ministers outside of Quebec, whose brief stated:
The Copyright Act provides a number of users’ rights that permit use of copyright material for educational purposes. Enacting laws prohibiting circumvention, or possession of devices for the purposes of circumvention, would prevent users from exercising the rights given to them under the Copyright Act by successive Parliaments over many decades. The recommended approach is to provide that circumvention of TPMs is prohibited only when the circumvention is for the purpose of infringing copyright.
or the Documentary Organization of Canada, which told the C-32 committee:
Already documentary filmmakers are encountering problems when attempting to access content behind digital locks. Documentarians are experimenting with new media and interactive documentary content using digital media. In order to access this material, they may have to break digital locks, which under the proposed legislation is considered illegal. However, their use of the material under a fair dealing defence would be legal. DOC considers this contradiction to be at odds with the purposes of copyright: it protects the rights holder, but it does not act in the interest of the public for dissemination nor does it foster creativity.
The digital locks provisions lock up cultural objects so that they cannot be accessed even for legal purposes. Furthermore, the instruments by which one could access these materials are prohibited. In order to rectify this contradiction, DOC recommends that the digital locks provisions be amended so that Canadians can circumvent digital locks for non-infringing purposes, and in particular under fair dealing. This can be done by adding an exception to section 41.11, where the bill outlines the other exceptions. In addition, the creation of tools to circumvent for this purpose should not be prohibited.
As I noted earlier this week, he might have mentioned music copyright collectives CMRRA and SODRAC who stated:
Contrary to the government’s public statements, it is unrealistic to expect that the other measures contained in Bill C-32 as initiatives to implement the WIPO treaties would result in an increase in online music revenues for authors and publishers and musical works that will be sufficient to offset the revenue losses documented above. In fact, these measures would be unlikely to result in any substantial increase at all in legitimate online revenues for the music industry.
After Moore is done recycling the talking points produced by his officials, perhaps he can explain why the government is rejecting the views of business, creators, consumers, educators, and the general public who are merely asking for balance on the digital lock rules.