The Canadian Association of Educational Resource Centres for Alternate Format Materials is an informal organization that promotes and facilitates the sharing of educational materials amongst eleven Educational Resource Centres across Canada. Each centre has a mandate to provide alternate format resources to students with perceptual disabilities who are enrolled in Kindergarten to Grade 12 and/or Post-Secondary education programs in their respective province or region. In its submission
to the 2009 national copyright consultation, the CAER recommended:
Provide an exception that permits the circumvention of digital rights management and technological measures for purposes of creating an alternate format. Permit the use of circumvention devices for the purposes of preparing materials for alternate format production.
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The Public Interest Advocacy Centre has been one of Canada’s leading consumer rights organizations, representing the public interest on consumer issues concerning telecommunications, energy, privacy, the information highway, electronic commerce, financial services, broadcasting, and competition law. PIAC submitted comments
to the national copyright consultation that included the following on digital locks:
Consumers enjoy certain rights to use content without infringing copyright. The presence of technological measures doesn’t change that, and neither should anti-circumvention laws. Consumers must be able to circumvent technological measures, like DRM, providing that their access to the underlying content does not infringe copyright. These consumer rights fulfil important public policy goals, preserving consumer welfare, free speech, and innovation. The use of technological measures already threatens these values. Anti-circumvention laws shouldn’t statutorily undermine them as well.
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The City of Vancouver Archives is the oldest municipal archives in Canada. Included in their holdings are over 2,100 linear metres of textual records, 1.5 million photographs, 36,000 maps, plans and architectural drawings, and tens of thousands of digital records. The City of Vancouver Archives stated the following on digital locks in its copyright consultation submission
: Archives frequently need to undertake actions that could be considered infringing in order to preserve works, conserve a damaged work, and otherwise manage their holdings. This is particularly relevant in the case of digital works, where the inherent fragility of these works makes it regularly necessary to create back-up copies of works, to migrate works to new physical media because of hardware obsolescence, and to migrate works to new logical formats because of software obsolescence in order to prevent them from being lost or becoming inaccessible. If a work is protected by encryption or other technical protection measures (TPMs) it may be necessary to circumvent these measures in order to be able to back-up, conserve or preserve a work. Circumvention of TPMs for these purposes should not be an infringement. Finally, it is not only archives and cultural institutions that need to undertake these actions, but all persons who own these types of works. Because of this, this exception should not be limited to only archives, libraries and museums – it should be a general exception.
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The Canadian Association of University Teachers represents 65,000 teachers, librarians, researchers and other academic professionals and general staff. The CAUT has been increasingly outspoken on copyright, releasing guidelines for the use of copyrighted material
earlier this year. On the issue of Bill C-32 and digital locks, the CAUT states:
The current proposed prohibition on the circumvention of technological measures and the devices that facilitate that purpose render meaningless not only the rights of the education community but of the rights of access enjoyed by Canadians at large. To avoid this regime of unreasonable owner control, the Act must be amended to allow the circumvention of technological protection measures (TPMs) for non-infringing purposes.
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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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