With the copyright bill – Bill C-32 – being introduced this afternoon, it is worth noting that my technology law column last week (Toronto Star version, homepage version) focused on some of the key issues likely to find their way into the bill. The column noted the internal dynamics that led to the bill are by now fairly well known. Industry Minister Tony Clement, emboldened by last summer’s copyright consultation that generated unprecedented public participation, argued for a forward-looking, technology neutral bill with flexibility as a core principle. Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore advocated for a U.S.-style protectionist approach, with priority given to digital locks that can be used to limit copying, access, and marketplace competition.
With the active support of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Moore won the fight over digital locks and the new bill will feature provisions certain to please the U.S. government and lobby groups. Yet the bill will include far more than just tough legal protection for a digital locks.
This brief unofficial user's guide to the new legislation that focuses on three key issues – fair dealing, Internet provider liability, and digital locks (Internet downloading is unlikely to figure prominently in the bill).