The Bill C-11 legislative committee concluded its clause-by-clause review yesterday as eight government amendments were added to the bill and all opposition amendments were defeated. The amendments included an expanded enabler provision and some modest tinkering to other elements of the bill. There are still several steps needed before the bill passes including third reading at the House of Commons, Senate review, and ultimately royal assent, but Canadian copyright reform is well on its way to completion before the summer starts.
In the days leading up to the clause-by-clause review, many focused on three key issues: no SOPA-style amendments such as website blocking or warrantless disclosure of information, maintaining the fair dealing balance found in the bill, and amending the digital lock provisions. By that standard, the changes could have been a lot worse. The government expanded the enabler provision, though not as broadly as CIMA requested. Virtually all other copyright lobby demands – website blocking, notice-and-takedown, iPod tax, copyright term extension, disclosure of subscriber information – were rejected. Moreover, the provisions supported by consumer and education groups including user generated content protection, time shifting, format shifting, backup copies, Internet provider liability, and statutory damages reform were left untouched. This represents a major victory for the many Canadians and groups such as Open Media that spoke out on these issues.