The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 18: Canadian Bar Association

The Canadian Bar Association, which represents 37,000 lawyers, law professors, and students from across the country, released an important submission on Bill C-32. The submission, which was approved as a public statement by both the National Intellectual Property and the Privacy and Access Law Sections of the CBA, did a nice job setting out the debate over Bill C-32 (I was once a member of the CBA’s Copyright Policy section but was not involved in the drafting of the Bill C-32 document).

The CBA submission is notable as a strong counter to the frequent attempts to characterize critics of digital lock rules or other elements of the bill as “anti-copyright.” Far from the claims that there is near unanimity in support of DMCA-style reforms, the CBA submission confirms that the legal experts who work on copyright issues on a daily basis are deeply divided on many issues. While some members supported the digital lock rules, there was a clear divide:

In sum, the Working Group concluded that it is important to have TPM provisions in the Copyright Act, in order to ratify the WIPO Internet Treaties, but no agreement was reached on the scope of the protection, the inclusion of devices and the scope of exceptions for TPMs. Some members of the Working Group believe that the Bill should be amended to remove the restrictions on circumvention devices, since improper use would be covered by the anti-circumvention provisions, and there is no need to restrict devices in order to ratify the WIPO Internet Treaties.

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, Canadian Library Association, Council of Ministers of Education Canada, Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright, Canadian Association of Research Libraries, Canadian Historical Association, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Canadian Bookseller Association, Canadian Home and School Federation, Film Studies Association of Canada


  1. Spot on
    I think they’ve got it spot on.

    The problem with C-11 is that “circumvention tools” will be outlawed and that businesses will fear or give up to make any product that comes anywhere close to fiddling with a digital lock. The behaviour of the masses will follow suit and several kind of circumventions will eventually not be practically feasible, like hardware based ones. That’s the biggest loss.

    While everyone is focusing on the consequences the average users will face, it’s not what C-11 really wants to achieve. They want the tools for it gone.

  2. Good post
    I like this post a lot, it is really good initiative. Hopefully more successful project in that direction will be performed. Regards