The Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, based at the University of Ottawa, was established in 2003 as Canada’s first legal clinic of its kind (I sit on the faculty advisory board). CIPPIC’s mission includes “to fill voids in public policy debates on technology law issues, ensure balance in policy and law-making processes, and provide legal assistance to under-represented organizations and individuals on matters involving the intersection of law and technology.” CIPPIC’s comments on the digital lock rules on Bill C-32 included:
Unfortunately, the bill also succumbs to U.S. pressure and makes fair dealing — including the new exceptions for the many ordinary activities of Canadians — illegal whenever there is a “digital lock” on a work. A digital lock will trump all other rights, forbidding all fair dealing and keeping a work locked up even after its copyright term expires. Overall, these digital lock provisions are some of the most restrictive in the world.
To achieve a fair balance between users and copyright owners, the government needs to fix the digital lock provisions before this bill passes into law. A fair way to rework this flaw is to ensure that fair dealing with works is always legal, regardless of whether there is a digital lock present.
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The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is an alliance of 26 student associations and student unions from across Canada. Through this network of college, technical institute and university student governments, CASA represents and defends the interests of approximately 320,000 post-secondary students to the federal government. CASA members are on […]
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In 2005, the then-Liberal government introduced Bill C-60, the first attempt at digital copyright reform in Canada. The bill included digital lock provisions that linked circumvention to copyright infringement (as supported today by dozens of Canadian organizations) and did not create a ban on the tools that can be used to circumvent. The approach was consistent with the WIPO Internet treaties, but left the U.S. very unhappy.
For many years, the lead lobbyist against the C-60 approach and for a U.S. DMCA-style implementation was David Wilkins, the U.S. Ambassador to Canada during the Bush Administration. Wilkins regularly described Canadian law as the weakest in G7, lobbied successfully for anti-camcording legislation, wrote letters setting out the U.S. demands, and met with every Canadian minister on the file (his meeting with Industry Minister Bernier was chronicled in a Wikileaks cable). The U.S. pressure was ultimately successful as Bill C-61 included digital lock rules designed to satisfy their demands. While subsequent copyright bills (C-32 and C-11) do a better job of striking a balance on other copyright issues, the digital lock rules have remain unchanged because the U.S. demands have remained unchanged.
Wilkins was back in the news this past weekend as the U.S. dealt the Canadian government a significant setback by delaying approval of Keystone XL pipeline. Wilkins, who was hired by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers to lobby for pipeline approval in the U.S., called the decision “politics at its worst.”
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The Association pour l’avancement des sciences et des techniques de la documentation (ASTED) is a national not-for-profit cultural and scientific professional association. Since 1973, it has worked to advance the science and techniques of documentation by pooling its members expertise, its publications, its activities of every sort, its services and its ties with other organizations in the field of documentation and information, and with the general public. ASTED submitted a brief to the Bill C-32 committee that included the following on digital locks:
the exceptions that can support libraries in fulfilling their mission are invalidated by the provisions concerning digital locks that prevent circumvention even for use that the bill does not consider to be infringing, such as conservation. ASTED agrees with its colleagues in the CLA who are proposing that the definition of â€œcircumventionâ€ in section 41(a) and (b) be amended to include the words â€œfor any infringing useâ€.
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The Documentary Organization of Canada warns that Bill C-11 “will throw out the long-standing legal principle of ‘fair dealing’ that allows producers to use content without permission if they are reporting or commenting on it.”
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