Canadian Copyright Lobby Seeking Mandated ISP Filtering

CRIA's Graham Henderson was in Ottawa today together with several other music groups to make their case for immediate copyright reform. Perhaps responding to the recent masthead editorials in the Vancouver Sun and National Post, the group met with the Ottawa Citizen's editorial board which has posted an MP3 version of the conversation. While there are some shots at me (counterfactual information?) and the obligatory distribution of Barry Sookman's attack on me and the Facebook group, there are two story lines that are worth noting (in addition to the ironic use of the CMCC's Feist as the Canadian artist example and the weak response to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada's concerns). 

The first is that there is a great deal of common ground between what Henderson, CIRPA's Duncan McKie and the other attendees want and the Fair Copyright for Canada principles.  Henderson and McKie both indicate that they have no intention of launching file sharing lawsuits, which should make the changes to the statutory damages provisions relatively non-contentious (though not a big win for users either).  More importantly, several people in the room say they want WIPO, not the DMCA.  That can be consistent with the Fair Copyright for Canada principles – linking anti-circumvention legislation to copyright infringement, avoiding a ban on devices that can be used to circumvent, and distribution as part of the making available right are all consistent with WIPO implementation.

While that is the good news, the second big story – which can easily be missed if you aren't paying attention – should send a chill down the spine of millions of Canadians. 

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January 22, 2008 Comments are Disabled Stop CDMCA

The CCC on Copyright Reform

The Creators' Copyright Coalition is out this morning with its position on copyright reform.  The CCC includes many large creator associations and copyright collectives.  Though there are some notable exceptions – the Canadian Music Creators Coalition, Appropriation Art, and the Documentary Organization of Canada to name three – there are some important voices here.

While the government's focus on copyright reform has centred on new technologies, the CCC's position paper seems to focus primarily on non-digital issues.  Indeed, the CCC is clearly troubled by the growing concern from users (it talks of "the tendency to privilege users") and of the Supreme Court of Canada's emphasis on balancing copyright (it laments that users are "now officially part of an on-going process of striking a 'necessary balance'").  The position paper sets out to scale back user concerns by dropping the SCC's balance objective to one where the "Copyright Act's main objective is to protect the moral and economic rights of creators."  Moreover, it seeks to limit the fair dealing provision, by specifically excluding any commercial purposes from within its ambit.

In addition to shifting away from a copyright balance, the CCC looks at copyright reform primarily as the opportunity to introduce new rights and fees.  In particular:

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January 21, 2008 Comments are Disabled Stop CDMCA

Privacy Commissioner of Canada Warns Against Weakening Privacy Through Canadian DMCA

Privacy Commissioner of Canada Jennifer Stoddart has issued a public letter to Industry Minister Jim Prentice and Canadian Heritage Minister Josee Verner warning against copyright reforms that "could have a negative impact on the privacy rights of Canadians."  The letter focuses on the anti-circumvention provisions, which Stoddart notes would weaken […]

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January 18, 2008 Comments are Disabled Stop CDMCA

Sounds Like Copyright

Yesterday I had the pleasure of appearing on CBC's Sounds Like Canada for an interview with host Shelagh Rogers. A podcast of the interview is available here.

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January 17, 2008 Comments are Disabled Stop CDMCA

My Fair Copyright for Canada Principles

With the continued interest in Canadian copyright reform – the Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group has grown to over 38,000 members and the local chapters across the country are gaining significant momentum – the most frequently asked question I receive is "what do you think fair copyright reform looks like?"  In other words, we know that tens of thousands of Canadians oppose a Canadian DMCA, but what kind of reform would or should they support? 

Many groups have already responded to this question – librarians, teachers, universities, musicians, artists, consumer interests, and some large businesses opposed to a Canadian DMCA among them.  Although the optimal approach would be to launch a public consultation on the issue, there is reason to doubt that the government will do so.  In that case, I would point to eight key principles that should be addressed to maintain a balanced, fair approach to Canadian copyright law. 

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January 17, 2008 Comments are Disabled Stop CDMCA