While some attendees were disappointed that Industry Minister Jim Prentice was not more responsive to the copyright questions posed at this weekend's open house, I found the comments very insightful since they provide a roadmap for how Prentice is likely to justify tomorrow's introduction of a Canadian DMCA. I expect that the launch will include some well co-ordinated laudatory comments from groups like CRIA and the CMPDA, yet the Minister is likely to focus on four points to justify his "framework legislation":
1. Canada Needs This Legislation To Meet Its International Treaty Obligations. This is a reference to the World Intellectual Property Organization's Internet Treaties that Canada signed in 1997 but has not yet implemented or ratified. While this is a bit rich coming from a government that has ratified Kyoto but not done much of anything to meet its obligations, there are two points worth making in response. First, signing a treaty is not the same as ratifying (just ask the U.S. which is one of only two countries in the world to have signed the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child but not ratified it) – Canada is not offside on its international obligations on copyright because it has yet to act on the WIPO Treaties. Second, there is great flexibility on how a country chooses to implement those treaties. It is simply not enough to claim that Canada has no choice. We do. We can meet the treaty standards and still protect fair dealing, privacy, consumer, and education interests. It is Prentice's choice not to do so.