The long road of Canadian copyright reform is nearing an end as the Bill C-11 committee concluded hearing from witnesses yesterday and indicated that it will begin a “clause-by-clause” review of the bill starting on Monday. While there will still be some additional opportunities for debate – third reading in the House of Commons, Senate review – the reality is that next week’s discussion will largely determine the future of Canadian copyright law.
For the thousands of Canadians that have participated in consultations and sent letters to their MPs, there is reason for concern. On one side, there are the major copyright lobby groups who have put forward a dizzying array of demands that would overhaul Bill C-11. As I described it in a post yesterday:
The net effect of the music industry demands represents more than a stunning overhaul of Bill C-11 as it is effectively calling for a radical reform of the Internet in Canada. Taken together, the proposals would require Internet providers to block access to foreign sites, take down content without court oversight, and disclose subscriber information without a warrant. On top of those demands, the industry also wants individuals to face unlimited statutory damages and pay a new iPod tax. If that were not enough, it also wants an expanded enabler provision that is so broadly defined as potentially capture social networking sites and search engines.
On the other side, there are groups such as Access Copyright that are calling on their members to urge the government and committee MPs to undo the Supreme Court of Canada’s CCH decision on fair dealing.
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The National Post ran a story
yesterday (picked up today
by Terence Corcoran) focused on the efforts of a series of IP lawyers who represent the music, movie, and software industries (including copyright collectives) to pressure the Canadian Bar Association to withdraw its submission on Bill C-32
(now C-11). The submission isn’t particularly damaging to their clients’ interests, but it does demonstrate the deep divisions that exist within the legal profession about the government’s copyright reform bill, particularly the misgivings over the digital lock rules. Given the ongoing effort of these industries and their representatives to inaccurately paint Canada as a piracy haven
and of the need to follow the U.S. approach on digital locks
, it would seem that any crack in that armour is viewed as a threat. With false claims of plagiarism and insinuations of policy laundering, this post sets the record straight.
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