Yesterday the Canadian Music Publishers Association added to the demand list by pulling out the SOPA playbook and calling for website blocking provisions. Implausibly describing the demand as a “technical amendment”, the CMPA argued that Internet providers take an active role in shaping the Internet traffic on their systems and therefore it wants to “create a positive obligation for service providers to prevent the use of their services to infringe copyright by offshore sites.” If the actual wording is as broad as the proposal (the CMPA acknowledged that it has an alternate, more limited version), this would open the door to blocking thousands of legitimate sites. The CMPA admitted that the proposal bears a similarity to SOPA and PIPA, but argued that it was narrower than the controversial U.S. bills. While that may technically be true – SOPA envisioned DNS blocking and targeting advertising and payment networks – the website blocking provisions look a lot like the legislation that sparked massive public protest.
When Bill C-32 was first introduced, Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore famously characterized opponents as radical extremists. As the hearing on the bill nears its conclusion, it has become apparent that the only radical extremism are music industry proposals that are so over-the-top that they have managed to make the digital lock rules look tame by comparison (which may have been the intent). For Canadian concerned with copyright and the Internet, this really is the final call as the bill will go to clause-by-clause review next week. Tell your MP and members of the C-11 committee to reject the industry’s extreme demands and to ensure that the bill is balanced by adding the Canadian Library Association’s suggested technical amendment to digital locks.