Canadian Music Industry Lobby: Put SOPA Into C-11 Or Stand With Illegal Sites

The reports that the music industry lobby (along with the Entertainment Software Association of Canada and the movie lobby) is seeking the inclusion of SOPA-style provisions into Bill C-11 has generated considerable discussion online and in the mainstream media (CBC, Financial Post). Yesterday, Balanced Copyright for Canada, the group backed by the music industry, fired back with several tweets claiming that opposing their reforms would benefit “illegal BitTorrent sites“and “illegal hosting sites.” Leaving aside the fact that if these sites are illegal, they are by-definition already in violation of current law, the claims point to what seems likely to become a SOPA-like scare campaign that seeks to paint skeptics of CRIA demands as supporters of piracy.

These claims involve two different issues with Bill C-11. The first are the digital lock provisions, which dozens of organizations (including businesses, the Retail Council of Canada, creator groups, consumer groups, and education associations) have argued are overly restrictive. The proposed solution is to link circumvention of a digital lock with actual copyright infringement, an approach that is consistent with the WIPO Internet treaties and has been adopted by trading partners such as New Zealand and Switzerland (Canada even proposed the approach in Bill C-60). These amendments would not legalize hacking businesses, but rather ensure that the same balance that exists offline is retained in the digital environment.

The second issue involves expansion of the “enabler provision” currently proposed in Bill C-11. I have pointed out that Canadian law appears to effectively address these sites as the music industry is currently suing isoHunt for millions of dollars based on the current law. In the event that more certainty is needed, the current enabler provision would grant even more powers to rights holders to target these sites. Yet that is apparently not good enough for the music, software, and movie lobby groups, who want to expand the enabler provision to include SOPA-like liability as well as add website blocking injunctions to Canadian law. The danger with this approach is that it threatens to target perfectly legitimate websites. Arguing against an overbroad enabler provision is not siding with illegal sites, but rather ensuring that legal ones are not caught by the dragnet.

The music industry claims to be a big supporter of Bill C-11, yet few groups have demanded more changes. In fact, when it appeared before the House of Commons committee reviewing the bill, one MP noted that their demands were “substantial” and “anything but minor.” Their demands include:

  • expansion of the enabler provision to include SOPA-style expanded liability
  • create new injunction powers to block websites
  • create new injunction powers to remove content from websites
  • require ISPs to implement a policy on repeat infringers that could include Internet termination
  • remove the non-commercial liability cap for statutory damages
  • restrict the user-generated content provision
  • create new limits on personal copying exception
  • create new limits on time shifting exception
  • create additional limits on backup copy provision
  • limit the safe harbour for ISPs
  • limit the safe harbour for caching activities
  • limit the safe harbour for hosting content
  • limit the search engine (ILT) exception
  • eliminate the ephemeral recording amendment

The music industry is seeking a huge overhaul of Bill C-32 that makes any requests for adjusting the digital lock rules look minor by comparison. As it escalates the rhetoric by claiming critics stand with piracy, it is apparent that the lobby groups’ fight to blend a Canadian DMCA with a Canadian SOPA will only intensify in the weeks ahead.

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  1. pat donovan says:

    the corporate takeover of all (property) rights … and on groundhog day.

    None of this is legal. Corporations haven’t got the right to decide what you do with property AFTER you buy it from them.

    The clerks can pass all the laws they want outlawing PI and evolution and it still won’t work. Like MS and 80% of the copies being illegal (at one point.. the underground economy has taken some weird twists again.)

    it’s a two minute effort to phone into a ISP or aim a satellite at a another provider.

    the season of the witch hunt… and against their own users.. is here. It oughta be a spectacular self-immolation.


  2. disproportionate and without limit
    In all this “ban the site, ban the user” rubbish that the IP lobby is pushing, I’ve never noticed a duration or expiry for said banning. Sure, one expects banning to be somewhat ineffective in the long term. But currently someone who is caught driving drunk three or more times still can get their driver’s license back after three years. Is “banned from the Internet” supposed to be forever, in these proposals?

  3. Telling Statistics

    According to Stats Canada The entire group “Information, culture and recreation” accounts for a meager 4.5% of Canada’s employment. The entertainment industry accounts for substantially less than that since this group also includes non-related employers such as sporting venues, casinos, amusement parks, golf courses, ski resorts, libraries, ISPs, web services.

    Here are the “details” of what ARE included under “Information, culture and recreation”

    So why in frigging hell does such a small subset of Canada’s overall employee base (Realistically, probably under 3%) enjoy such a high level of legal protection. I don’t care how much money is involved, it should never be allowed to oppress the VAST majority of the population to the advantage of a select few.

    Granted, this probably does not account for retail chain outlets such as HMV and Chapters nor middlemen, but regardless of what bill is passed, sales will keep moving on-line and away from brick and mortar stores, so they’re becoming obsolete either way.

  4. Waste of Time
    It baffles me how much time companies, lawyers, legislators, people, are wasting debating copyright and intellectual property. Instead of innovation or creativity, we have litigation, lobbying and garbage. IP is a history of trolls.

  5. If they can target illegal sites now… why the need for more laws?
    I realize I’m putting on my “conspiracy theory” hat — yep tinfoil is in place — but I think these request for new laws is more so they can target the legal sites which are currently un-touchable.

    With the recent megaupload site being seized I can no longer access software I wrote, or photos I took, documents of my design. If they take down isohunt what’s next All of these can be targeted with SOPA style laws. — this is kinda like taking out the transit system because a “criminal” took a bus to commit a crime, technically the transit system is “profiting” from a criminal act just the same as an ISP, or search engine like isohunt —

    I think the industries are targeting the distribution network in general and trying to eliminate legal threats and competition. If un-signed artists have no method of distribution then there’s no threat of them stealing $$ from the industries business-model. Let’s face it with a site like Jamendo you can get some pretty good artist, some crappy ones too, and give them your money… that’s got to hurt the music business.

    I think the whole piracy thing is just a front for something else. (like legalizing anti-competition practises). As Michael pointed out, they currently have laws to attack piracy. So what the need for even broader ones?

  6. The Linux Doctor says:

    Once upon a time . . .
    . . . one could build a better mousetrap and make a million bucks. Today, if you tried that you would be sued for copyright violation and patent infringement by the foreign owned conglomerate which owns patents on the mousetrap and copyright on the name. The corporate Mousetrap© probably doesn’t even work without a dozen different expensive accessories anyway.

  7. @Mikey
    “I think the industries are targeting the distribution network in general and trying to eliminate legal threats and competition.

    I think the whole piracy thing is just a front for something else. (like legalizing anti-competition practises).”

    This is exactly what it’s about…more precisely, market control and manipulation. I know a guy who, up until about 2 or 3 years ago, worked for Bioware, the gaming company behind the high profiles games Dragon Age and Mass Effect. Like ESAC, their public face is all about stopping piracy, however, in the closed board meetings and the places the public never gets to see, they are VASTLY more interested in stopping second-hand sales and loaning of their games. Legal protection of DRM won’t do anything at all to stop piracy, everyone knows that, but it can effectively prevent you from loaning your buddy a game and put an end to second-hand sales such as Electronics Boutique.

  8. I’m a musician and I don’t support this
    Hang on here – I’m a Musician, a member of SOCAN, etc… A/several group(s) that claim to represent me and my best interests are pushing this crap? They are using me and all musicians that don’t agree with them. What recourse would I have, to get them to stop misrepresenting me, using me, and to get them punished so this doesn’t happen again?

  9. How do we argue against this?
    Any tips on how to push back on this?

  10. The only way to stop this
    is to either tell your kids to pirate everything or STOP buying music and movies. Google is trying

    Support websites like these I’ve already bought/donated to them and a few of the artists that I really liked. I’ve also donated over $200 to Open Source projects last year. Where did I get this money? I got it from not spending $60+ (10+ times per year) with two of my kids watching crappy shows in movie theatres, I now also buy ALL my movies from pawnshops for $2 while a wheene myself off Hollywood.

  11. Write your MPs, e-mail Google, Wikipedia, Reddit, etc…inquire about a Canadian black-out. I’ve sent information links out to 10s of thousands of people on Twitter though some fairly high profile, very anti-SOPA, people I follow, who were kind enough to retweet to their followers for me. Some of those people who received it HAVE to be Canadian. Anything that raises awareness can’t hurt. If we can make enough noise, perhaps we can get their attention. If this crap gets passed here, then the US will have precedent setting ammunition to get it passed there, it’s in Silicon Valley’s interest to try and stop it here.

  12. Ray Larmond says:

    Just Replied By Guy Lauzan
    I just got a reply from my MP more or less supporting the idea, I found it hard to swallow my words I typed my spiteful reply & not call him any names. Hard to show disgust when unable to use the words you normally would to make certain he would actually read it

  13. Their demands are beyond screwed up…

    As I been saying for a while, you actually thought that the digital locks would had been the only major issue?


  14. C-11, with its digital locks provisions, was fixable. But with these provisions in place, it is not. There is nothing wrong with the goals of these measures, but the proposed means are so far off balance that if this passes, they will effectively ensure that nothing new or innovative ever happens on the internet again. If this had been around in 2005, hardly anybody today would have even heard of Youtube, because measures such as these would have simply been utilized to silently censor it when people first started using it to show recordings of movies and tv shows.

    But here’s something else to ponder… does anyone think that they’ve made these demands to C-11 so that they can voluntarily concede on some of them, and publicly claim the resulting bill as a “compromise”, even though it will still have several of the above provisions, as well as all of its digital lock provisions?

  15. @Mark
    “But here’s something else to ponder… does anyone think that they’ve made these demands to C-11 so that they can voluntarily concede on some of them, and publicly claim the resulting bill as a “compromise””

    I’ve thought that about the digital lock provisions all along, but here we are, with no compromise as of yet. :/

  16. We’re all just plain wrong
    If you believe this article:

    And: “Terence Corcoran, editor of the Financial Post, is one of Canada’s leading business writers and editors.” I guess they call themselves “business writers” and not “journalists” to get away with this blatant one-sided piece of…

    There are going to big demonstrations all over Europe this weekend and the next weekend against ACTA.

    Perhaps we should too, like Montreal C-11 protest on February 10th, take to the streets. ACTA, C-11, TPP… and that’s not the end of it.

  17. Watch the shell game begin
    The histler party is now in full swing. Lets see how many of the laws can be changed for our corporate sponsors…they are making this change now because of the hoopla that Mr Histler himself has caused with the change in the retirement age….if everyone is concentrating on one stupid thing he is doing then he can pass 30 other stupid things without much attention.

    Welcome to the Monkey Politics and the shell game by the Histler government.


    Capcha – Toptail capital

  18. SOPA rules and the GPL
    I have been reviewing (and thinking about) the recent project to rebuild Busybox. See:

    for a starting point – and dig deeper.

    But that controversy got me thinking about the ramifications of SOPA style laws, and the additional tools that will be afforded to the GPL community. For the most part, much of the GPL community is somewhat ambivalent to minor GPL copyright violations and only seems to get upset, as a community, in the case of egregious violations. They are more interested, and focused, on creating new code.
    The Busybox project code is arguably the most famous, and frequent, of GPL violation legal cases. This is interesting, because Busybox is targeted to run on the GPL Linux kernel. The kernel isn’t involved with anywhere near as many legal cases.

    Copyright is copyright. Keep in mind that in the case of GPL licensed code, you can have dozens to many thousands of copyright holders contributing to a single project. The SFC and SFLC (GPL “enforcement”) only get involved when an individual copyright holder requests their help, and even then they attempt to negotiate rather than litigate (or intimidate).

    What are the ramifications of putting tools such as SOPA into the hands of the more extreme members of the GPL community? Take a look around at all the embedded devices and code around you. Phones, answering machines, microwave ovens, network routers, tables, multimedia devices, ebook readers, car electronics, GPS devices, industrial controls, etc. The list is amazingly long. How many contain copyright violations, or even suspected copyright violations?

    The scope of SOPA is wide, and allows a “shoot first and ask questions” afterwards kind of legal approach to potential copyright violations. Is this really something we, as a society, want to see? How far can the effects of such laws reach?

  19. typo


  20. Mr. Giggles says:

    I laughed
    Hey someone at CRIA had a few beer, used twitter, and is talking tough about Dr. Geist calling him “Mr. Flip-Flop”.

    I LOL’d. Seems they are on the attack. :p

  21. 2007 Survey

    In my mind, if 2 so very different conclusions can be drawn from the same survey, it makes me wonder how reliable the original survey was.

    “…said they would have purchased one-third of their tracks if the songs were not available on P2P networks. Barker estimates the incremental revenue from these hardcore users would amount to $168 per year.”

    What Barker fails to grasp is that P2P is not going away and there is no magic bullet or legislation that will make it go away. His conclusions, while they may be accurate, are drawn from looking at an ideal world, where P2P suddenly no longer exists. This is NOT an ideal world, and these so-called “hardcore users” will simply find new, and more secure, services as old ones get shut down. Want to sway hardcore users? Make it cheap…make it easier than P2P. Innovation!!!

  22. Darryl's Crickett says:

    I can’t believe the music industry would escalate their rhetoric like this.

    Don’t they know that SOPA would have been able to drill directly into the earth’s core and destabilize our orbit?

  23. Ray Saintonge says:

    Can the Harpys afford any change to C-11. Any change, whether to ease digital lock provisions or to enhance enabler provisions, will create delays to copyright changes that have been kicking about for the last decade. Had the copyright changes been made 10 years ago they would have gone by unnoticed. Since then an unexpected and unprecedented public awareness has developed around intellectual property issues. The Harpys want to be seen as efficient legislators, capable of using their majority to get things done. They are already facing delays in the Senate on their crime bill because they tried to do too much with it. Any change to C-11 could even delay things to the point where they might have to go back to square one in the second session of the current parliament. Can they afford that kind of hit to their credibility. The 60% minority who did not support them never felt they had much credibility from the start; stumbling about in their own legislative processes affects their credibility among supporters.

    The American legislators who brought us SOPA laboured under the delusion that these measures were uncontroversial. I think they were generally surprised by the intensity of the opposition. Not only that, but the protest also increased awareness around ACTA and other measures which look at copyright through the magnifying glass of enforcement and trade. The landscape is always different when viewed from the centre.

  24. Ray Saintonge says:

    This, from the Slovenian ambassador to Japan, gives an interesting perspective on the way treaties are signed.

  25. @oldguy
    Thanks oldguy, but my takeaway from that is that SOPA will be bad for open source too, and not just in the ways we already know about.

    I don’t think we want opens source authors abusing this law any more than we want anyone else to do so.

    So there is a certain familiar troll who now thinks of himself as my crickett. Fancy that. I don’t know about SOPA, but something has certainly drilled into the brain of this poor fellow. And yes, I think unstable would be an apt description of its effect. You should take a break from both blogging and commenting until you clear your head just a little, don’t you think?

  26. @Darryl
    …”I don’t think we want opens source authors abusing this law any more than we want anyone else to do so. ”

    I agree with you. If a subset of open source authors started using/abusing SOPA style legal measures, the adverse effects could be much wider ranging than anything the entertainment industry might do. For the most part it appears the open source “community” isn’t interested in pursuing such avenues, but copyright is copyright. And the way GPL projects are developed, means you would only need one author in a project to create issues on a wide scale.

    I find it worthwhile to step back and look at the bigger picture every once in a while. Most seem focused on the potential abuses of SOPA style laws by the entertainment industry. New legal tools, like SOPA, would be usable by a much wider range of individuals. Policy makers in particular, need to be aware of a wide range of ramifications when developing policies of this scope. They wouldn’t be putting these new “enforcement” tools only into the hands of a select group, they would be putting them into the hands of everybody.

  27. @Darryl’s Cricket “I can’t believe the music industry would escalate their rhetoric like this.”

    Someone is exercising their self actualization again 😀

  28. SOPA was poor legislation in the details, but it’s main failure was not to include all the major stakeholders. The OPEN counter proposal, while better, was drafted as a counter to SOPA and thus IMO was a bit slanted too much in the other direction. When there is an effort to draft truly balanced legislation, offering more than lip service to the non-incumbent players, then we may actually be able to enact something useful that the general public will find palatable. Until then …

  29. yes
    deregulate copyright monopolies…

  30. Who are the lobbyists?
    Who are these lobbyists? What are their names and contact information? Perhaps the Canadian public ought to know who they are actually dealing with.