Having examined the state of current Canadian copyright law with respect to anti-piracy measures, the series outlining the case against the Bell coalition’s website blocking plan continues with an examination of the evidence on Canadian piracy. The coalition argues that piracy in Canada is a growing threat, relying on data from MUSO to suggest that current activities “makes it difficult if not impossible to build the successful business models that will meet the evolving demands of Canadians, support Canadian content production, and contribute to the Canadian economy.” My next post will discuss economic evidence in Canada, highlighting record growth in authorized streaming services and production in the Canadian creative sector. This post is limited to data on Canadian piracy rates and whether drastic measures such as website blocking are needed.
Post Tagged with: "piracy"
The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 2: Weak Evidence on the State of Canadian Piracy
The Globe and Mail ran a masthead editorial yesterday that did not mince words with respect to Bell’s recent proposal calling on the Canadian government to support radical copyright reforms in NAFTA such as North America-wide mandatory website blocking and the full criminalization of copyright. Under the title, A Bad Idea for ‘Fixing’ Canada’s Internet Rules, the Globe argued that Bell’s plan “adds up to a frontal attack on online freedom.” Bell has earned the criticism, but it should also be noted that underlying its request were dubious claims about the state of Canadian piracy. Indeed, as Bell shifts its copyright position to mirror those promoted by the MPAA and RIAA, it seems ready to emulate age-old, discredited tactics that inaccurately seek to paint Canada as a piracy haven.
Why Canada is Now Home to Some of the Toughest Anti-Piracy Rules in the World…And What Should Come Next
Canada last overhauled its copyright law in 2012, bringing to a conclusion more than a decade of failed bills and lobbying pressure. The public debate over the Copyright Modernization Act was often framed by disputed claims that Canada was weak on piracy, with critics arguing that updated laws were needed to crack down on copyright infringement. As the government prepares to conduct a statutorily-mandated review of the law later this year, the landscape has shifted dramatically with court cases and industry data confirming that Canada is now home to some of the toughest anti-piracy rules in the world.
My Globe and Mail column notes that the change in Canadian law is best exemplified by a ruling last week from the Federal Court of Canada involving the sale and distribution of “modchips”, which can be used to circumvent digital controls on video game consoles. Nintendo filed a lawsuit against a modchip retailer in 2016, arguing that the distribution of modchips violated the law, even without any evidence of actual copying.
Canadian DMCA in Action: Court Awards Massive Damages in First Major Anti-Circumvention Copyright Ruling
The Federal Court of Canada has issued a massive damage award in the first major Canadian digital lock copyright ruling involving circumvention of technological protection measures. The ruling, which is the first to conduct an extensive examination of the anti-circumvention rules established in 2012, adopts expansive interpretations to the digital lock protections and narrow views of the exceptions. The case confirms that Canada has tough anti-piracy laws with one of the most aggressive digital lock laws in the world and will fuel calls to re-examine the effectiveness of the anti-circumvention exceptions in the 2017 copyright review.
The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), a lobby group that represents the major lobbying associations for music, movie, software, and book publishing in the United States, has released its submission to the U.S. government as part of the Special 301 process. The Special 301 process leads to an annual report invariably claiming that intellectual property rules in the majority of the world do not meet U.S. standards. The U.S. process has long been rejected by the Canadian government, which has consistently (and rightly) stated that the exercise produces little more than a lobbying document on behalf of U.S. industry. The Canadian position, as described to a House of Commons committee in 2007 (and repeated regularly in internal government documents):
In regard to the watch list, Canada does not recognize the 301 watch list process. It basically lacks reliable and objective analysis. It’s driven entirely by U.S. industry. We have repeatedly raised this issue of the lack of objective analysis in the 301 watch list process with our U.S. counterparts.
The lack of credibility stems in part from the annual IIPA submission. While the submission generates some media attention, this year’s falls squarely into the category of fake news. The IIPA focuses on three concerns: piracy rates in Canada, the notice-and-notice system for allegations of infringement, and fair dealing. None of the concerns withstand even mild scrutiny and each is addressed below.