Clause 47 of Bill C-32 would bring in a new prohibition against the breaking of digital locks (e.g., passwords, time-limited trial systems) that control access to copyright material in digital format. Exemptions from this prohibition would be permitted for a short list of prescribed purposes. Bill C-32 would also prohibit the provision, marketing or importation of devices, or the provision of services to enable the breaking of digital locks except for the prescribed purposes.
These strict prohibitions may unnecessarily undermine the use of fair dealing and other exceptions in the Copyright Act. For example, an exception in the Act allows the making of a copy of a work in a format specially designed for persons with perceptual disabilities. Under Bill C-32, it would not be permissible for an educational institution to break a digital lock to make such a copy for a student with a perceptual disability, or to obtain a device capable of doing so. The requirement to protect digital locks in the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Copyright Treaty allows for a less strict approach, such as permitting digital locks to be broken for a legal purpose.
AUCC recommends that the Committee consider amending Bill C-32 to permit the breaking of digital locks for any purpose that does not infringe copyright, and to permit the provision, marketing or importation of devices and services to enable digital locks to be broken for a non-infringing purpose.
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, Canadian Bar Association, Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Appropriation Art, Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Archives, Canadian Association of Law Libraries, Federation Etudiante Universitaire du Quebec, Canadian Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres, Canadian Association of Media Education Associations,
Association of Canadian Community Colleges