Copyright Modernization Act

An Act to amend the Copyright Act

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in March 2011.

Sponsor

Tony Clement  Conservative

Status

In committee (House), as of Nov. 5, 2010
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Copyright Act to

(a) update the rights and protections of copyright owners to better address the challenges and opportunities of the Internet, so as to be in line with international standards;

(b) clarify Internet service providers’ liability and make the enabling of online copyright infringement itself an infringement of copyright;

(c) permit businesses, educators and libraries to make greater use of copyright material in digital form;

(d) allow educators and students to make greater use of copyright material;

(e) permit certain uses of copyright material by consumers;

(f) give photographers the same rights as other creators;

(g) ensure that it remains technologically neutral; and

(h) mandate its review by Parliament every five years.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

November 3rd, 2010 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have this opportunity to speak to Bill C-32, An Act to amend the Copyright Act.

I want to begin by saying that, as everyone knows, we have been waiting for this bill for a long time. We need this bill, we want it and we have been waiting for it. The government was elected two years ago, and we are just now beginning to debate this bill at second reading.

Nevertheless, as they say, “better late than never”. Now is our chance to debate it, and we must do so. Over the past few years, the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party have tried to introduce bills. Once again, this one comes from the Conservative government. It was a long time coming, but it is here now, and we will debate it.

We need this debate because we have to modernize the Copyright Act. I am sure everyone will agree that is necessary. This legislation must be modernized and adapted to the reality of the century we live in, the 21st century.

We need legislation that takes into account the technological changes that have already happened and will continue to happen at a dizzying pace. We need only consider everything that has happened over the past 10 years and all of the new products that have come to market. For example, consider the role of the iPod, the iPad and all of the other new devices that did not exist 10 or 15 years ago. Today, everyone uses these devices to listen to music and watch movies. We have to take into account the extraordinary technological changes in terms of platforms, production and dissemination.

That is why we need legislation that reflects these changes. We also need legislation that protects the rights of creators and artists. That has become even more important in the digital age now that everything happens so quickly.

It is just as clear that we need legislation that sends an unmistakable message to the international community, legislation that shows Canada takes copyright seriously and promotes and protects those rights. That is the most important part of this.

Unfortunately, we are dragging our feet. We are lagging behind. In some ways, we are looked down on by the international community. All too often, we are being singled out as a bad example. That needs to change.

The law needs to be modernized for all of the reasons I listed, but also to allow us to ratify certain international treaties that are of significant importance to us and our allies.

In preparation for the debates surrounding the passing of this bill, I decided to travel across Canada to meet and talk with those directly or indirectly affected by this important issue. Other members did the same. I am thinking about my colleagues from the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage and the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology as well as my colleague and our industry critic, the member for Westmount—Ville-Marie, who has done incredible work on this issue.

As I was saying, I travelled from one end of Canada to the other in order to meet with the people concerned by this significant bill. I met people in Halifax, Montreal, Winnipeg, Toronto, Regina, all over, in fact. I could list them all, but it would take too long because there are more than 100 groups.

I will simply say that I met with people from the film, television, production and music industries. These are artists, musicians, Internet service providers and others. Over the past several months, I have had extremely productive and worthwhile discussions with people from all of the provinces, except Alberta, where I will be next week to discuss this very important bill.

We need to talk in a fair and balanced manner about this copyright modernization bill. We have to find a delicate balance between the important needs of creators and the needs of consumers, which is not easy. Unfortunately, numerous critics are already speaking out against this bill. They come from everywhere—Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia.

Creators and copyright owners are afraid that this bill will undermine their current rights. That is one fundamental aspect that we need to examine closely. While the bill is a step in the right direction in some cases, is there not a chance that it will undermine or eliminate some existing, protected rights in other cases?

That is an absolutely fundamental issue that must be addressed, and we will take the time to do so. And just because the government took so long to introduce this bill, that does not mean we will examine it hastily and without taking a step back. That would be irresponsible on our part. On the contrary, we will take the time to consult all the stakeholders involved in order to come up with a bill that is fair and balanced and that really protects copyright owners. Thus, we will meet with several people with whom members of the Liberal caucus have already met, and others with whom we have not yet had the opportunity to meet. This could all be done in committee.

Copyright is a vast, complex and rapidly changing subject. On this side of the House, we understand that it has a real impact on artists, writers, poets, filmmakers and musicians, as well as on video game makers, photographers, merchants, producers, Internet service providers and of course consumers. Copyright has an impact on many people and industries, and we must take that into account. We also need to make sure we have long-term legislation that will not need to be replaced tomorrow, since it is so hard to reach a consensus. Furthermore, the proposed legislation must be as neutral as possible in terms of technology.

Clearly, finding common ground when so many different parties are involved will demand some compromises, but they must be fair and balanced. In order to achieve this, we need to have frank, open discussions from beginning to end.

At this time, I would like to mention some of the issues that were raised during my cross-country visits and some points that were raised during meetings here in Ottawa with stakeholders from the cultural community and from industry.

I want to raise some of the important concerns and questions that we should be debating, especially with regard to digital locks. For example, should these famous digital locks prevail over all other rights to make copies? That is the question because Bill C-32 includes new rights that authorize Canadians to make copies for personal reasons, including format shifting, time shifting and back-ups. Nonetheless, the new provisions in the bill having to do with digital locks take precedence over these rights. In other words, to be clear, under the new legislation, someone who buys a CD on which a company has installed a digital lock cannot get around this lock in order to transfer the content of the CD to another format without breaking the law.

I know that is a bit technical, but it is a fundamental aspect of the bill and we must debate it. It is also extremely contentious and was highly contested when the Conservatives introduced their other bill, Bill C-61. We have already heard many protests and discussions on this aspect of the bill. It is clear that this point needs to undergo further review, and we believe that amendments will need to be made in committee.

The second point has to do with education. Bill C-32 contains new exemptions that allow teachers and teaching institutions to make copies of works for educational purposes without copyright infringement. This blanket exemption from fair dealing rules is facing growing opposition from the various cultural communities.

Given the comprehensive nature of fair dealing, writers and publishers, for example, believe that this new exemption will permit teachers and educational institutions to make copies of their works at will and then give them to their students. Will that happen? Is that really what will happen? We will have to see and study the bill, but I can say that many people believe that teachers and educational institutions should be required to pay royalties to creators for the use of their works. I find this to be a fair and consistent position.

Let us go a little farther. How should this exemption be applied? Should a teacher be able to claim that a copy of an unedited version of a movie was made and shown to a class for educational purposes and not pay a royalty? We have to ask the question. Is that the case?

We realize that it is important to modernize the act so that teachers can apply it in the digital age. But we also believe that authors and creators are entitled to be compensated for the use of their works and for what they have created. That is clear. We will want to discuss this in committee as well.

Similarly, we will have to clearly define what constitutes “fair” dealing, as it is used in the bill. I ask the question and we will ask it in committee. What are the limits and the parameters that apply to the term “fair”? We must answer this question.

The third point has to do with mashups, or user-generated content. Clause 22 of the bill provides for an exception for mashups and user-generated content.

What is a mashup? A mashup is, for example, a personal video produced by combining excerpts from films and sound recordings and then posted on YouTube or a similar site. That happens.

In our opinion, the wording of this clause is far too broad. With this rule, someone could post the full version of a movie on YouTube. All they would have to do is add an excerpt at the beginning or the end and call the video a mashup. That seems a bit too broad. We want to define this and debate it. This point will also have to be carefully examined in committee.

The fourth point has to do with the statutory damages in the bill. Clause 38.1 of the bill provides for damages of between $100 and $5,000 for all copyright infringements for non-commercial purposes. Members will understand that we have some concerns here. It seems logical to us that damages related to copyright infringement should be in proportion to the seriousness of the infringement. That is also something that will have to be analyzed and studied in committee.

The bill also leaves a few things out, such as the public display of art, for example. Currently, if an artist displays a piece of art in a public space for reasons other than to sell it, they receive compensation. However, if the work was created before 1988, the artist does not receive compensation; they do not receive a penny. We need to use this opportunity to fix this situation, which we find to be discriminatory.

Another thing that has been forgotten is the resale of artwork, or resale right. Across Europe, artists are compensated when their works are sold and resold. Everyone knows that original art increases in value over time. Artists become more and more well known and the value of their works increases. Artists feel, and rightly so, that part of this increase in worth should come to them upon resale. It already exists in Europe.

When this is studied in committee, we would like to look at what has happened in Europe to see how Canadian artists could be more fairly and equitably compensated for their work. We believe that our artists' efforts are no less valuable that those of their European counterparts.

There are many other points that I would like to raise, but I do not have the time. However, I will definitely raise them in committee. We just need to remember that this bill has some good points but also some flaws and, in certain cases, leaves things out altogether. We will work hard to improve it.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

November 3rd, 2010 / 5:25 p.m.
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NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member seems to be very knowledgeable about the subject matter of the bill.

The government has made the claim that it must follow the American approach to the WIPO Internet treaties and must support the digital lock measures in the bill. However, 88 countries have now ratified the WIPO treaties and only half of those 88 countries support the American approach.

Does the member believe that perhaps the current government is being overly influenced by the American movie industry, business lobbyists or perhaps even American politicians to get their version of what should be a proper agreement in force in Canada with the view to having a sort of common competitive market in North America?

Copyright Modernization Act
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November 3rd, 2010 / 5:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question. First of all, I would say that generally speaking, the government is always a little too easily influenced by what happens in the United States, especially during the previous administration, the Bush administration.

The issue of digital locks is interesting, because there are various options and various ways to respect our treaties. We think it is acceptable, however, but not in an absolute way. There must be some kind of reasoning behind it, a certain limit. For instance, when people buy a certain product, there must be a way for them to make a copy for their personal use without violating the copyright.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

November 3rd, 2010 / 5:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Alan Tonks York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, it appears that there is a conflict in terms of intellectual property that would be applicable to educators, the teaching profession and those involved in long distance learning, and so on. On the other hand, the copyright law is trying to establish a broader umbrella to protect those who are the initiators of creative musical and artistic property. Does the member think the committee can come to a resolution?

I must say that I lean on the side of those from the educating field who are saying that in terms of intellectual property and the ability to use in the classroom that which has been created to the benefit of students is an extremely important objective and concern that has been raised. Would the member please address the question of whether the committee in fact can deal with the elements of that issue?

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

November 3rd, 2010 / 5:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his important question.

The bill adds another exemption for the education sector. I understand the member's reasoning and I know how much he cares about the education sector, and so do I. However, just as a teacher would not agree to work for free, an author should not have to work for free, or in other words, supply his or her work without getting paid.

That is, in fact, the point of this bill. We need to strike a balance between, on the one hand, the rights of creators, authors and publishers and, on the other hand, the rights of consumers. In this case, we could also add the rights of students and teachers.

We do not believe that this bill is balanced. The government tells us it is balanced, but I do not believe that is the case, because certain points from the consultations were not included. We can do much better, and that is exactly what we hope to do in committee. We want to come up with a bill that is fair to both creators and consumers.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

November 3rd, 2010 / 5:30 p.m.
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NDP

Glenn Thibeault Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, New Democrats support collective licensing and fair access to education materials. We have three fantastic post-secondary institutions in my great riding of Sudbury. We have Cambrian College, Collège Boréal and Laurentian University, which, I might add, has a new chancellor, Aline Chrétien who I congratulate on being the new chancellor. One of the things that all three post-secondary institutions have is fantastic distant education programs.

What is concerning about this bill is that we are hearing that under the bill digital lessons for long distance learning must be destroyed within 30 days of a course. We feel that this would treat students in digital learning environments as second-class citizens and would undermine the potential of new learning opportunities. If we look at the vastness of northern Ontario, we need to ensure that all students who participate in digital learning have that opportunity.

I would like to hear the hon. member's comments on what he thinks about that piece of this legislation.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

November 3rd, 2010 / 5:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.

This, too, is an important issue because it deals with education, particularly the education exemption. It is extremely important precisely because we have to bear in mind the challenges faced in the regions and the ability to provide distance education. It is an extremely important aspect.

I want to reiterate the importance of striking a balance. We have to be able to make it easier for students to take these courses and for professors to teach them. But in so doing, must we accept that authors and creators will not be compensated?

My colleague refers to the fact that course materials must be destroyed. They must be destroyed because no royalty is paid on them because of an exemption. In fact, because the materials are exempt, they do not infringe on the copyright; however, because no royalty is paid, they must be destroyed. That creates a challenge: the materials have to be recreated. It is one of the rather odd and strange aspects of this bill. The options are as follows: either royalties are paid or professors are not required to destroy the materials. We must strike a balance that currently eludes us.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

November 3rd, 2010 / 5:35 p.m.
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NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I can see this bill being popular with photographers because it includes giving them the same rights as other creators. That is certainly a first.

The carve out for network locks on cell phones is bound to be popular with people. Canadians will have the right to unlock their phones if they want to switch carriers as long as they abide by their provider's contract terms.

However, I think what people will not like is what was followed up in the last question by the member for Sudbury, which is that teachers and students will need to destroy digital lessons 30 days after their courses conclude. That is absolutely ridiculous and I think there will be a lot of push back by citizens of Canada on that very point.

Copyright Modernization Act
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November 3rd, 2010 / 5:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, I thank my colleague, who raised the issue of education with good reason. That is one of the fundamental elements of Bill C-32. I would say that there is no definite answer because we do not yet know the bill's scope with respect to education. What does “fair” mean? As I said in my speech, we need to figure out what the word “fair” means, what its parameters are and what it covers. What is included in the exemption for education and what is not?

We have to find a balance. We want it to be easy for students to access and easy for teachers to prepare, but we also want our creators to get paid. As I said earlier, would teachers—both of my parents were teachers—agree to work without being paid? No, because teachers have to earn a living. So do authors and publishers. Once again, we have to find a balance here, a balance that the bill does not provide. We hope to find that balance in committee.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

November 3rd, 2010 / 5:35 p.m.
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NDP

Glenn Thibeault Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-32, An Act to amend the Copyright Act.

I, for one, am a strong advocate of reforming Canada's copyright regulations in order to modernize them and ultimately align them with the realities of the 21st century. Yet, despite my belief that Canada is in dire need of a modernized, intellectual property rights regime, the bill fails to realistically address what is needed.

The government has stated that its aim in updating the Copyright Act is not to punish individual users but rather to focus its deterrence and enforcement efforts on distributors and large websites that illegally host copyrighted content.

The first thing we need to know about creating balanced copyright is that we need to engage all the players. Bill C-61, the government's initial attempt at reforming copyright law in Canada was legislation that was so badly constructed it had to be dropped as soon as it was announced. The Conservatives were forced back to the drawing board, so here we are, after another two years of waiting. Unfortunately, they still have not got the message. The lack of thorough consultation has left major questions about the impacts of the bill.

Specifically, whether the bill will achieve the intended objectives is a subject of debate among the various stakeholders affected by copyright reform, including authors, artists, musicians, record labels, book publishers, collective societies, libraries, museums, school associations, software developers, retailers and consumers.

The lack of thorough consultation with independent stakeholders, such as those mentioned above, is troubling, considering the same problem plagued the bill's predecessor. It all seems to me that there needs to be a consensus-building process which takes into account the concerns of all stakeholders in order to wholly legitimatize the regulatory framework being proposed.

On a different note, it is my opinion that the scope of the bill strongly misses the mark through its heightened focus on individual consumers as opposed to going after the more heinous commercial pirates who profit monetarily off the intellectual property of others.

There are two key problems with the Conservative approach to copyright. The first problem is that the rights that are offered in terms of the fair dealing, mashup and parity exemptions can be overridden by the heavy, legal protections being put in place by digital locks.

Under Bill C-32, it is illegal to break a digital lock, even if that lock prevents us from accessing material that we would otherwise be legally entitled to access. In fact, it treats breaking of digital locks for personal use the same as if the lock were being broken for commercial counterfeit.

We oppose the criminalization of consumers, which this aspect of Bill C-32 represents. The government needs to re-evaluate its stance on copyright reform in order to properly address the current realities of the 21st century. Criminalizing hundreds of thousands of individual consumers for simply digitizing their music for personal consumption fails in this regard. We need to focus on commercial piracy, not individual consumption.

I happen to have a seven-year-old daughter who is a huge Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers fan. We must buy as many Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana movies and music as we possibly can in my household. I can rhyme off Hannah Montana songs. I am sure many other MPs who have young children could do the same thing. I will not sing one for the House. I do not want to embarrass myself that badly because I am not a great singer. My daughter has a CD collection but we cannot find CD players, so we need to put those on to our MP3 player. Under the bill, my seven-year-old daughter is now breaking the law.

We need to ensure that we are not criminalizing the consumers. The approach the Conservative government is taking goes far beyond the norms adopted by many of the World Intellectual Property Organization countries, or WIPO. In terms of copyright reform, we have been consistent. We support the fundamental principle of remunerating creators for their content. We have consistently called on the government to bring the WIPO treaty into the House to be ratified. If the government had taken this advice, it would have alleviated a great deal of international pressure and given us the space to create a truly made in Canada approach to digital copyright issues.

The Conservatives had five years to address issues in WIPO, and stalled on the WIPO ratification. Instead, their first run at copyright was constructed entirely behind closed doors and read like a wish list for the U.S. corporate lobby.

The second serious problem with the bill is that a number of previous revenue streams for artist organizations appear to be undermined through exemptions and changes. The most notable of these is the government's decision not to extend the private copying levy on CDs to music-playing devices. This fails to address the reality that more and more consumers are choosing to purchase intellectual property through non-traditional means such as digital music files. The levy worked on cassettes. It worked on writable CDs. However, if it is not updated for MP3 players, the levy will die.

The New Democrats put forward Bill C-499 to update the levy on devices marketed specifically as music players and recorders. The Conservatives have misrepresented this levy. They have used it as a straw man for their mailings attacks in our ridings. They have made up figures for the cost of the levy and have denounced copyright licensing as a killer tax.

Let us see what the national media have to say about this attack on the remuneration of artists. The Edmonton Journal said that the NDP offered a perfectly reasonable compromise, but that the industry minister misrepresented its contents on a bill that is thoughtful and upholds the basic Canadian values of straight dealing.

The National Post was even blunter, saying:

...the government's nonsensical, “Boo! Hiss! No new taxes!” response … is just dumb...

This is the National Post we are talking about, definitely not a progressive bastion that routinely calls for more expansive powers in taxation and regulation. Even this newspaper has shown a willingness to confront the real issues. Why has the government not come to its senses on this matter?

The widespread use of iPods, iPads, and MP3 players, as well as the emergence of products like Kindle, serves as an excellent example of the changing nature of consumption in a technology-driven environment. We must address this gap to ensure that Canada's intellectual property regime is appropriate for the ever-changing technological landscape.

The most obvious criticism that can be made of Bill C-32 is that it fails to address the realities presented to us by 21st-century technology. The fact is that no amount of legislation or legal action will force consumers to return to the business models of the 1990s. The emergence of the digital economy has changed the dynamics of intellectual property. The digital economy is not going away. We need to recognize this. We are attempting to rectify 21st-century problems with 20th-century solutions. Let us be clear. An intellectual property regime designed for the dynamics of the 1990s is not the best means for dealing with the issues of commercial piracy, which is really where our energies need to be focused.

Over the past 20-odd years, technological innovation has led to massive and abrupt changes in the way Canadians live their daily lives. Whether it is the way we get the news, or the way we do our banking, or pay our bills, technology has dramatically altered our consumption habits. Instituting a regulatory regime that fails to observe the significance of the transition to an information technology and e-commerce paradigm will only lead to further failure in distinguishing between commercial piracy and legitimate consumer uses.

Nowhere is this folly more clear than in the United States, with its digital millennium copyright act. The U.S. entertainment industry has used legislation in courts to lock down content and criminalize consumers. The result has been a scorched earth policy waged by the recording industry of America against its own consumers. After more than 35,000 lawsuits against kids, single moms, and even dead people, the digital genie has not been put back in the bottle. The market has simply moved on.

Does this mean that digital technology has trumped the traditional right of creators to be compensated? Certainly not. New markets and new models are emerging. The difficulty is to find the best way to update copyright to meet these challenges. We have a unique opportunity to develop legislation that looks forward rather than back. That is why it was unfortunate to hear the Minister of Canadian Heritage denounce citizens' legitimate questions about the bill as digital extremism.

If copyright reform is to succeed, the government must move beyond the rhetoric of a self-defeating culture war. The choice is really about whether we support regressive or progressive copyright. Regressive copyright tries to limit, control, or punish users of creative works. Regressive copyright is self-defeating, because the public will ultimately find ways to access these works.

Progressive copyright, on the other hand, is based on two clear principles: remuneration and access. The digital age has shown us that consumers of artistic works want to be able to access these works. The Internet is not a threat; it is an amazing distribution format. As legislators, artists, and technological innovators, we need to find the monetizing streams in this new distributing culture.

This balanced approach represents the mainstream of Canadian copyright opinion. I refer the House to the judgment in the case of Théberge v. Gallerie d'Art du Petit Champlain inc. The Supreme Court stated that copyright's purpose was to strike a balance between promoting the public interest in the encouragement and dissemination of works of art and intellect, and obtaining a just reward for the creator.

There is a public interest in the access and dissemination of works and a public interest in obtaining a just reward for the creator.

The New Democratic Party's position on copyright is based on the principles of compensation and access. Artists need to be paid for their work, and consumers should be able to access these works with a minimum of restrictions.

The New Democrat position is that we support collective licensing and fair access to educational materials. For example, under the bill, digital lessons for long-distance learning must be destroyed within 30 days of the completion of a course. This would treat students in digital learning environments as second-class citizens and would undermine new learning opportunities.

Specifically, under Bill C-32, students who take long-distance courses would be forced to destroy their class notes after 30 days, and teachers would be forced to destroy their on-line class plans after every semester. This is the digital equivalent of telling universities to burn their textbooks at the end of every session.

What kind of government would force students engaged in digital learning to burn their class notes? No writer gets compensated and no student benefits. This provision shows just how badly out of whack the government is when it comes to understanding the importance of digital education.

In my great riding of Sudbury, we have three fantastic post-secondary institutions: Laurentian University, Cambrian College, and Collège Boréal. All three of these post-secondary institutions offer distance education and distance learning. We want to ensure that this continues, because it is a great way for students in the vastness of northern Ontario to get the education they need.

All this is particularly troubling for me as an MP from northern Ontario. Our country contains many remote areas, and we should be encouraging distance and online education, since course offerings of this type are often the only way for Canada's rural residents to gain access to quality higher education.

We should not be discouraging these types of educational regimes with unduly burdensome regulations prescribing how long a digital lesson can be held.

It is therefore my hope that all parties will be able to reconcile their differences so that we can provide Canadian artists, performers, writers, and the cultural community as a whole with the intellectual property rights protection they deserve, while ensuring that the new regulatory regime respects the changing nature of individual consumption in the 21st century.

Copyright Modernization Act
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November 2nd, 2010 / 10:20 a.m.
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Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

moved that Bill C-32, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, if it were possible I would like to split my time with my hon. colleague, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.

I am pleased to speak today to begin second reading—

Copyright Modernization Act
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November 2nd, 2010 / 10:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Tony Clement Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I was saying before you rightly interrupted me, I am pleased to speak today to begin second reading of Bill C-32, the Copyright Modernization Act.

This bill is a key pillar in the commitment this government made in the Speech from the Throne to position Canada as a leader in the global digital economy. We promised a bill that would modernize Canada's copyright law for the digital age, protect and create jobs, promote innovation and attract new investment to Canada.

With this bill, we are ensuring that Canada's Copyright Act is focused on the future and is responsive to an environment in which things happen quickly and change is constant.

A primary aim of any copyright reform must be balance. The copyright system must find a balance between interests that can seem to be competing, for example, between consumers who want access to material and artists and innovators who want to be and should be rewarded for their creativity.

However as hon. members are well aware, finding that balance can be and has been very difficult. It has eluded the House for over a decade, and balance for one group may be seen as unfair to another.

From July to September of last year, the hon. heritage minister and I held a national consultation on copyright issues. The bill before us was guided by the input of thousands of Canadians, creators, consumers, businesses, educators and intermediaries.

Let me begin with creators. During the consultations, creators told us they needed new rights and protections to succeed in a digital environment, and so the bill before us implements those kinds of rights and protections of the WIPO Internet Treaties and paves the way for a future decision on ratification.

The bill also empowers copyright owners to pursue those who enable copyright infringement, such as illegal peer-to-peer file sharing websites. At the same time, Canadians participating in the consultations told us they did not think it was fair for consumers to face exorbitant penalties for minor copyright infringement, and so the bill before us significantly reduces existing penalties for non-commercial infringement. It introduces the test of proportionality as a factor for the courts to consider when awarding statutory damages.

This brings me to the perspective of consumers and users. During the consultations, Canadians told us they wanted to use the content they had legally acquired. They wanted to time-shift television programs. They wanted to shift format from CDs to iPods. They wanted to post mashups on the web. They wanted to make backup copies.

Canadians will be able to record television, radio and Internet programming to enjoy it at a later time, if the bill is passed, with no restrictions as to the device or medium they wish to use. Just as important, this bill would remove any barriers in the Copyright Act to the introduction of new technologies like the network personal video recorder and cloud computing. The latter is critical to Canada's ability to participate in the digital world as a full partner. As well, for their private use, Canadians will be able to copy any legitimately acquired music, film or any other works on to any device or medium and make a backup copy.

There are some who would argue that consumers should have to pay a levy on iPods, smart phones and Internet services, the iPod tax as it were, to compensate artists. We disagree. We oppose the iPod tax as regressive, unfair and economically destructive. Why should consumers pay more for an iPhone or a BlackBerry even if the device is not used for music? It is unfair. It would make devices costlier, would not prevent piracy and would encourage more black markets.

Let us help artists by cracking down on those who would destroy value, not innocent purchasers of hardware.

Let us return to the provisions of the bill. The bill permits the inclusion of copyrighted material in user-generated content created for non-commercial purposes. The provisions will not interfere with markets for the original work, nor will they disrupt the growth of business models that have developed around the dissemination of user-generated content online.

The bill also includes important new measures for the print-disabled. Recognizing the opportunities that today's technology allows, it permits a person to adapt a copyright work into an accessible format on his or her own behalf.

For computer program innovators, the bill includes measures to enable activities related to reverse engineering for software interoperability, security testing and encryption research. It clarifies that the making of temporary technical and incidental reproductions of copyrighted material as a part of a technological process is acceptable.

What did we hear in our consultations from educators, museums and researchers? They told us that they needed more flexibility to use copyright material in the service of education and learning. The bill proposes new exceptions that would recognize the enormous potential that technology offers students.

The bill before us expands the existing uses allowed as fair dealing. It adds education, parody and satire, reconfirming this government's commitment to structured education and creativity.

We are building on a well-established feature of Canadian copyright law to respond to and meet the needs of educators, be they in the classroom, in a home-school setting or for training in the workplace.

Finally, let me outline how this bill responds to the needs of Internet service providers. The bill clarifies that ISPs and search engines are exempt from liability when they act strictly as intermediaries in communication, caching and hosting activities, but at the same time, ISPs will play a role in helping combat copyright infringement.

Fair, balanced and technologically neutral, this bill accomplishes all of these things, but it also helps our economy by encouraging two of the most powerful forces we have, consumers and creators. They are sometimes the same people. Regardless, they are the force that guarantees that Canadians are innovators and are capable of growing the knowledge economy. But consumers and creators cannot do it alone. They need modern copyright laws, and that is what Bill C-32 is all about.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / 10:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the minister for finally getting to this issue. I do not lay blame on any particular party. This is an issue that we have been dealing with, but under the radar. We have seldom dealt with it in the House, which is what we should be doing, and I congratulate all members for getting involved in this particular debate.

Specifically regarding the WIPO ratification, could the minister please point out in this bill where we are WIPO compliant particularly? What has compelled him to be WIPO compliant?

As well, this particular government has already put in one copyright bill. That was from some time ago. What has changed in Bill C-32 from the prior bill that he has put in the House? What does he consider the fundamental change?

Finally, he talked about the iPod levy. Could he please point out in the bill where he addresses the iPod levy exactly?

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / 10:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Tony Clement Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Madam Speaker, what I can say about the iPod levy is that it is not in the bill because we do not believe in it. If we believed in it, we would put it in the bill of course.

In terms of the main change in this bill compared to previous bills, including a Liberal bill back in the days of the previous Liberal government, I would say that the purpose of this bill is to be as technologically neutral as possible, to not specifically put in clauses dealing with iPods, PVRs or other technology that could change in five years, in two years. Who knows what will happen? Therefore what we tried to do with this bill was to make it principle-based and technologically neutral, so that the principles can be applied not only to the present technology but also the future technology. That is an important principle of the bill, so it can stand the test of time.

Finally, the bill is WIPO compliant. When we look at certain provisions such as the notice provisions, we believe those to be WIPO compliant. Cracking down on those who are destroying wealth by use of the Internet, by flouting copyright laws, that is consistent with WIPO. Basically we have WIPO-tested every provision of the bill and we find it to be WIPO compliant.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / 10:30 a.m.
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Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank the Minister of Industry for his speech. I will share the Bloc's position later on, but for now, one thing is really bothering me and has been nagging at me deep down.

How can a minister, a sensible and intelligent man, be unable to distinguish between taxes and royalties?

A tax is money that is collected from consumers and given to the government that is running the country. A royalty is money that is collected when a consumer purchases something and forwarded to a collective society, which redistributes this money to the copyright holders.

How can a minister not distinguish between those terms?