The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 9: Canadian Library Association

The Canadian Library Association represents thousands of Canadian librarians and hundreds of libraries from across the country. Its position on the C-11 digital lock rules weave together the overreach of provisions and the inadequacy of the exceptions:

The prohibitions on the circumvention of digital locks in Bill C-32 exceed Canada’s obligations under WIPO copyright treaties. Canada agreed to distinctive wording and flexibilities inherent in WIPO Internet Treaties. WCT art.11 and WPPT art. 18 both protect the right holders but also allow flexibility in national laws for permitted legal uses. Bill C-32 gives a new right to copyright owners negating the flexibilities in the Internet Treaties and directly contravening the basic, longstanding individual rights sanctioned in Canadian copyright law. With this provision, Canada is allowing a technical feature to override a nuanced information policy, permitting owners’ rights to overreach their legitimate limits, and impinging on users’ rights.

Bill C-32 makes it illegal to circumvent digital locks for most legal purposes including quotation, parody and satire (fair dealing uses), library preservation, and the copying of content for which there is no copyright (facts and information) or copyright has expired. The Government’s attempt to exempt persons with perceptual disabilities from the constraints of digital locks (Section 41.16(1)) is nullified by the condition “to not unduly impair the technological protection measure.” There is no efficient way to remove the TPMs and restore them after an alternate format has been created.

CLA believes Canadians deserve regard for their statutory rights in the digital environment. Section 41 of Bill C-32 can be simply amended. The definition of “circumvent” in Section 41 (a) and (b) must include the words “for any infringing use” thus insuring Canadians’ ability to invoke their full rights as information users.

Previous Daily Digital Locks: Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired (PRCVI) BC, Canadian Consumer Initiative, Retail Council of Canada, Canadian Council of Archives, Canadian Teachers’ Federation, Canadian Federation of Students, Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Documentary Organization of Canada


  1. Interesting point about the digital lock basically eliminating the expiry of the copyright. Clearly the lock is more important than the product in the eyes of this bill.

  2. The danger is not only copyrighted works
    Digital locks can be put on data to prevent it’s use. Information that deserves no protection like phone books will be locked down by their producers. This measure could conceivably bring science to a complete standstill by locking data away where it cannot be reinterpreted, retested or challenged. If something can happen, it will.

  3. U.S. Copyright Czar Cozied Up to Content Industry, E-Mails Show
    U.S. Copyright Czar Cozied Up to Content Industry, E-Mails Show

  4. @liam
    The lock provisions are more about establishing special rules than they are about protecting copyright. Copyright is already protected by the copyright laws, this is just to give corporations and copyright holders powers outside of that under the guise of protecting copyright.

    And while corporations should be allowed to use digital locks if they so desire, they should not be enshrined in law to the point where they take away rights already given in the same bill. And it should be legal to make software to go around them.

  5. TPMs are an assault on the very existence of public libraries.

    While more refined than mayor Ford’s approach, the objective is the same.

  6. “Treaties”
    Don’t you find it interesting that in most countries that I follow, “the people” aren’t too happy regarding their digital freedoms and they all get fed the same “obligations under international treaties” line? How exactly did TRIPS and ACTA get voted on?

    It’s about time these things went mainstream. One way is getting a “Project Gutenberg” for sound recordings off the ground; this introduce more people to the public domain than those few bookworms (one of which is me). Particularly retroactive copyright term extensions will then be a thing of the past.

  7. @Byte:

    Interesting “treaty” mentioned here:

    We should enforce ACTA with the same strength 🙂

  8. @Nap / ACTA
    Regarding Sen. Wyden’s recent questioning the legality of ACTA in the absence of congressional consent, here’s an interesting analysis: