Report Says Canadian DMCA To Include $500 Fine Per Download

The National Post reports that the Canadian DMCA, which may be introduced tomorrow, will include a "personal use download" fine of $500.  The front page story indicates that the fine (presumably a new form of statutory damage award) could be awarded on a per infringement basis, leading the possibility of […]

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June 3, 2008 Comments are Disabled Stop CDMCA

The Unofficial Canadian DMCA Background Document

Multiple sources advise that Industry Minister Jim Prentice's current plan is to introduce the Canadian DMCA this week, likely on Wednesday.  While things could change, it would appear that Prentice's communication strategy is to do as little communicating as possible. Plans for a possible press conference have apparently been put on hold given concerns that the press might actually ask questions and Prentice has even entertained thoughts of shuffling the bill quickly to a committee for summer hearings so that he would not have to deal with the issue all summer long. The Minister will also head for Japan and South Korea late the following week as part of the OECD Future of the Internet Economy conference, so out-of-sight, out-of-mind.

What do we get instead?  Likely a press and MP briefing in a lockup just prior to the release of the bill, which will probably happen later in the afternoon (government bills are tabled after 3:00 on Wednesdays) to minimize the opportunity for critical comment in the immediate news cycle. While Prentice presumably hopes that this is a one-day story, my guess is that he is wrong.  There is no local open house this time round, but Prentice is planning his annual Calgary Stampede breakfast for July 5th.  Further, the OECD is inviting anyone to pose comments or questions about the Internet directly to the Minister on its YouTube page with the Ministers asked to react to the best videos at the OECD conference in South Korea.

Given the apparent effort to control the media spin, I thought it would be useful to anticipate the likely talking points in the Canadian DMCA backgrounder along with a broader perspective featuring things Prentice probably won't say.  These include: 

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June 2, 2008 Comments are Disabled Stop CDMCA

Ten More Questions for Industry Minister Prentice

Last fall, as Industry Minister Jim Prentice was preparing to introduce new copyright legislation, I wrote an article in the Hill Times posing ten questions to Prentice about the forthcoming bill. Many of the questions – which focused on issues such as flexibility in implementing international copyright treaties, concern about the bill from the privacy community, fears about the impact of the law on security research, and doubts about the constitutionality of the proposal – remain unanswered.  Yet the six-month copyright delay has raised many more questions, including the following ten, which appear in this week's Hill Times (Hill Times version (sub req), homepage version):

1. Days before you were scheduled to introduce the copyright bill, you claimed that Canadian business executives were anxious for copyright reform.  In February 2008, however, the Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright, which features a who’s who of Canadian business (Telus, Rogers, Cogeco, SaskTel, MTS Allstream, Google, Yahoo, Retail Council of Canada, and Canadian Association of Broadcasters) spoke out against U.S.-style copyright legislation and in favour of an expanded fair dealing provision. Why is Canada's Industry Minister prepared to ignore the concerns of Canadian business?

2. In recent months countries such as New Zealand and Israel have enacted wide ranging copyright reforms that have either rejected the U.S. approach or included significant flexibility to preserve the copyright balance.  Why are those countries able to strike a balance in the face of U.S. pressure, yet Canada appears ready to cave to U.S. insistence that it follow its much-criticized model? 

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May 26, 2008 Comments are Disabled Stop CDMCA

Prentice’s DMCA Deception

With only two weeks left in the House of Commons calendar until the summer recess (technically the House could sit for an additional two weeks but few expect that to happen), Industry Minister Jim Prentice is likely to introduce his new copyright bill next week or during the first week […]

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May 20, 2008 Comments are Disabled Stop CDMCA

The Copyright Myths

As part of Monday's Public Policy Forum's symposium on copyright, I was given the opportunity to deliver a short talk on copyright.  I titled the talk "The Copyright Myths," a nod to the rhetoric around the copyright reform issue in Canada (for those who are wondering – the U.S. Ambassador […]

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April 29, 2008 Comments are Disabled Stop CDMCA