Copyright Modernization Act

An Act to amend the Copyright Act

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2013.

Sponsor

Christian Paradis  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now 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.

Votes

  • June 18, 2012 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
  • May 15, 2012 Passed That Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, as amended, be concurred in at report stage with further amendments.
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11, in Clause 47, be amended by adding after line 15 on page 54 the following: “(3) The Board may, on application, make an order ( a) excluding from the application of section 41.1 a technological protection measure that protects a work, a performer’s performance fixed in a sound recording or a sound recording, or classes of them, or any class of such technological protection measures, having regard to the factors set out in paragraph (2)(a); or ( b) requiring the owner of the copyright in a work, a performer’s performance fixed in a sound recording or a sound recording that is protected by a technological protection measure to provide access to the work, performer’s performance fixed in a sound recording or sound recording to persons who are entitled to the benefit of any limitation on the application of paragraph 41.1(1)(a). (4) Any order made under subsection (3) shall remain in effect for a period of five years unless ( a) the Governor in Council makes regulations varying the term of the order; or ( b) the Board, on application, orders the renewal of the order for an additional five years.”
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11, in Clause 47, be amended by replacing line 11 on page 52 with the following: “(2) Paragraph 41.1(1)( b) does not”
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11, in Clause 47, be amended by replacing line 25 on page 51 with the following: “(2) Paragraph 41.1(1)( b) does not”
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11, in Clause 47, be amended by deleting lines 1 to 7 on page 51.
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11, in Clause 47, be amended by deleting lines 24 to 33 on page 50.
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11, in Clause 47, be amended by deleting line 37 on page 49 to line 3 on page 50.
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11, in Clause 47, be amended by deleting lines 17 to 29 on page 48.
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11, in Clause 47, be amended by deleting lines 38 to 44 on page 47.
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11, in Clause 47, be amended by adding after line 26 on page 47 the following: “(5) Paragraph (1)( a) does not apply to a qualified person who circumvents a technological protection measure on behalf of another person who is lawfully entitled to circumvent that technological protection measure. (6) Paragraphs (1)( b) and (c) do not apply to a person who provides a service to a qualified person or who manufactures, imports or provides a technology, device or component, for the purposes of enabling a qualified person to circumvent a technological protection measure in accordance with this Act. (7) A qualified person may only circumvent a technological protection measure under subsection (5) if ( a) the work or other subject-matter to which the technological protection measure is applied is not an infringing copy; and ( b) the qualified person informs the person on whose behalf the technological protection measure is circumvented that the work or other subject-matter is to be used solely for non-infringing purposes. (8) The Governor in Council may, for the purposes of this section, make regulations ( a) defining “qualified person”; ( b) prescribing the information to be recorded about any action taken under subsection (5) or (6) and the manner and form in which the information is to be kept; and ( c) prescribing the manner and form in which the conditions set out in subsection (7) are to be met.”
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11, in Clause 47, be amended by adding after line 26 on page 47 the following: “41.101 (1) No one shall apply, or cause to be applied, a technological protection measure to a work or other subject-matter that is intended to be offered for use by members of the public by sale, rental or otherwise unless the work or other subject-matter is accompanied by a clearly visible notice indicating ( a) that a technological protection measure has been applied to the work; and ( b) the capabilities, compatibilities and limitations imposed by the technological protection measure, including, where applicable, but without limitation (i) any requirement that particular software must be installed, either automatically or with the user's consent, in order to access or use the work or other subject-matter, (ii) any requirement for authentication or authorization via a network service in order to access or use the work or other subject-matter, (iii) any known incompatibility with ordinary consumer devices that would reasonably be expected to operate with the work or other subject-matter, and (iv) any limits imposed by the technological protection measure on the ability to make use of the rights granted under section 29, 29.1, 29.2, 29.21, 29.22, 29.23 or 29.24; and ( c) contact information for technical support or consumer inquiries in relation to the technological protection measure. (2) The Governor in Council may make regulations prescribing the form and content of the notice referred to in subsection (1).”
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11, in Clause 47, be amended by adding after line 26 on page 47 the following: “41.101 (1) Paragraph 41.1(1)( a) does not apply to a person who has lawful authority to care for or supervise a minor and who circumvents a technological protection measure for the purpose of protecting the minor if ( a) the copy of the work or other subject-matter with regard to which the technological protection measure is applied is not an infringing copy; and ( b) the person has lawfully obtained the work, the performer’s performance fixed in a sound recording or the sound recording that is protected by the technological protection measure. (2) Paragraphs 41.1(1)( b) and (c) do not apply to a person who provides a service to a person referred to in subsection (1) or who manufactures, imports or provides a technology, device or component, for the purposes of enabling anyone to circumvent a technological protection measure in accordance with subsection (1). (3) A person acting in the circumstances referred to in subsection (1) is not entitled to benefit from the exception under that subsection if the person does an act that constitutes an infringement of copyright or contravenes any Act of Parliament or of the legislature of a province.”
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11, in Clause 47, be amended by deleting lines 21 to 40 on page 46.
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11, in Clause 47, be amended by replacing line 25 on page 45 with the following: “measure for the purpose of an act that is an infringement of the copyright in the protected work.”
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11, in Clause 22, be amended by deleting lines 30 to 34 on page 20.
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11, in Clause 22, be amended by deleting lines 33 to 37 on page 19.
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11 be amended by deleting Clause 62.
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11 be amended by deleting Clause 49.
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11, in Clause 27, be amended by deleting line 42 on page 23 to line 3 on page 24.
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11, in Clause 27, be amended by replacing lines 23 to 29 on page 23 with the following: “paragraph (3)( a) to reproduce the lesson for non-infringing purposes.”
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11, in Clause 21, be amended by adding after line 13 on page 17 the following: “(2) The Governor in Council may make regulations defining “education” for the purposes of subsection (1).”
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11 be amended by deleting Clause 2.
  • May 15, 2012 Failed That Bill C-11 be amended by deleting Clause 1.
  • May 15, 2012 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage of the Bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at report stage and on the day allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
  • Feb. 13, 2012 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to a legislative committee.
  • Feb. 13, 2012 Passed That this question be now put.
  • Feb. 8, 2012 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, not more than two further sitting days shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and that, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the second day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
  • Nov. 28, 2011 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “the House decline to give second reading to Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, because it fails to: ( a) uphold the rights of consumers to choose how to enjoy the content that they purchase through overly-restrictive digital lock provisions; (b) include a clear and strict test for “fair dealing” for education purposes; and (c) provide any transitional funding to help artists adapt to the loss of revenue streams that the Bill would cause”.

Copyright Modernization Act
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June 15th, 2012 / 10:05 a.m.
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Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

moved that Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to open debate at third reading on the copyright modernization act. This has been a long process. After 15 years, unprecedented levels of consultations, introduction in two Parliaments, reviews conducted by two legislative committees, over 30 hours of review and debate, 100 witness testimonies and thousands more submissions, and several efforts by our government, it is a great honour to rise today at third reading of the bill. I look forward to seeing this bill move toward the Senate.

I thank the President of the Treasury Board and the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, who have put a tremendous amount of work into crafting this bill and toward consultations to get us here today.

Modernizing our copyright regime is one of the key ways to create a dynamic, growing and creative digital economy in Canada that creates jobs, not only today, but for many years to come.

I remind members of the House who are thinking of opposing this bill of what Canadian businesses, entrepreneurs, creators, artists and users have said throughout this difficult process. They have said that they need modern legislation to reflect modern times and that they could no longer wait.

Our copyright laws were last substantially amended in 1997. Compared to the fast-paced world that we live in today, where we have new smart phones every year, we can watch movies on many devices with a screen and Internet connection, and where artists and creators can get their big break through social media, 1997 was a different world.

Indeed, for those of us with young children or teenagers at home, it is fascinating to see the ease with which they interact with digital media. That which we need to learn they have already internalized as part of the world in which they are growing up.

However, our copyright laws are simply not relevant or responsive enough for today's world. Whether it is the everyday online activities of the average Canadian, saving a favourite show on a personal video recorder, updating a music playlist on smart phones or putting a mash-up online, whether it is artists or creators looking to manage the release of their works online or protect their works from online infringements or rights holders looking to ensure that their investments are protected, all need modern copyright laws. This would ensure that the digital web, with its vast database of knowledge, incredible ability to connect people, and its limitless potential to create, innovate and grow, is fully accessible to all Canadians.

Since the current round of copyright reform began, we have seen a tremendous change in the digital world. Social media is everywhere. It is now easy to access copyrighted material online and to do so using hand-held devices. Now cloud computing is looking to completely upend old service models for data transfer and storage.

Over the last few years, many different views have been expressed on how to approach copyright reform. Quite simply, to move forward we need to establish a balance between what is necessary for consumers and what is good for creators. What will support users while protecting rights holders?

This bill finds a fair balance. It gives copyright owners the tools they need to combat piracy, including new provisions enabling them to sue in case of copyright violations.

Under the legislation, consumers will be able to record their favourite televisions shows to watch them later, transfer music from a CD to a digital device, and create digital mash-ups to post on social media sites.

Until this bill is passed, these activities are technically illegal. Consumers who do ordinary activities that are commonly accepted, such as the activities I just mentioned, are now in a grey area with respect to their copyright responsibilities.

The bill updates the act's exceptions to allow for the use of copyright-protected content for the purposes of satire and parody, according to the provisions of fair dealing. It also expands the notion of fair dealing and provides exceptions for educators to better use digital resources. This will improve teaching, research methods and educational content, through the use of the most recent technologies. It specifies the roles and responsibilities of Internet service providers and search engines.

The bill also supports private sector innovation by creating exceptions for reverse engineering, security testing, encryption research and technological processes. It provides legal protection for companies that, in the context of their operational model, rely on digital locks to protect their copyrighted content.

Finally, under this bill, rights and protections in Canada will be harmonized with the World Intellectual Property Organization treaties signed by Canada in 1997. We will finally join the group of nations that have brought their copyright legislation into the digital era.

Taken together, the measures in the bill would help Canadian creators and innovators to compete and contribute to attracting foreign investment to Canada, while ensuring that consumers, educators and users would have new protections that would give them full opportunity to engage in their digital world.

As I described at the outset of my remarks, this House has debated the bill extensively, at second reading, during both legislative committees and during the report stage just two weeks ago.

Throughout this process, we have made a special effort to introduce technical amendments that preserve the balance and spirit of the bill.

At the report stage, many of my colleagues spoke eloquently about the nature and purpose of these amendments. In the minutes remaining, I would like to remind the House why we introduced these amendments. I would like to begin by discussing the three main amendments that will strengthen the anti-piracy tools available to copyright holders.

First, members will recall that the bill before us includes a provision enabling copyright holders to take legal action against individuals who knowingly violate copyright online, such as those operating websites that facilitate the illegal exchange of files. I am sure that everyone here agrees that such sites should be the first target of an anti-piracy campaign.

To ensure that this provision will be as effective as it is meant to be, we introduced an amendment clarifying that the provision will apply to online services primarily provided to violate copyright, even if they were not initially designed to do that. The idea is not to do indirectly what we cannot do directly. To sum up, regardless of the initial purpose of a site, if the site enables copyright violations, there will be consequences.

Second, copyright holders told us that they were worried about the fact that they would not be able to exact pre-established damages from these enablers. Websites that facilitate illegal file-sharing hurt copyright holders and often profit from their pirating activities. Accordingly, the bill was amended to ensure that copyright holders can protect themselves against these enablers and pre-established damages.

Lastly, the committee amended the bill to eliminate a potential loophole. We were told that the liability exemptions, which were intended to protect neutral intermediaries, could become a loophole that enablers could use to protect themselves against litigation. A technical change corrected the situation in order to ensure that enablers would not be able to use these exemptions to protect themselves against litigation.

I would now like to highlight some of the changes we made that will identify some of the exceptions included in the bill regarding innovation.

Specifically, the bill contains exceptions to support important innovative activities related to software reverse engineering, security testing and encryption research.

On that point, I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Kitchener—Waterloo, for bringing this to our attention and working to better the act.

We were told that someone could use these exceptions to engage in illegal activities. The government therefore has made a balanced change that will ensure that people engaging in such activities cannot get around copyright requirements and that our honest innovators and researchers can pursue their important work, inventing new products and marketing their innovations. In addition to those changes, we have also proposed changes that will support non-profit agencies that work in the interest of people with visual impairments.

As far as consumers are concerned, the bill indeed includes an exception that allows non-profit organizations to create and export material adapted for people with perceptual impairments, under certain conditions, including a limitation based on the nationality of the author.

However, given that the author's nationality is not always easy to determine, there was concern that an organization might have to pay damages for errors made in good faith. An amendment to the bill responds to that concern and recognizes that in many cases, people do make honest mistakes.

In order to ensure that the non-profit organizations in question are not unduly penalized as a result of mistakes made in good faith, the amendment states that, in such circumstances, an injunction is the only remedy that the owner of the copyright in the work has against the organization.

With regard to intermediaries, Internet service providers and search engines play an important role in exchanging ideas and information. They make it easier to access the online world and help us to sort through a vast quantity of information.

At committee, many intermediaries informed us of the unintended consequences that the provisions of the bill could have on them. In order to protect these groups from such unintended consequences, we proposed amendments that take their concerns into account without affecting the bill's balanced approach. For example, the bill requires Internet service providers to forward to subscribers the notifications of claimed infringement they receive from copyright owners.

This provision was amended to require Internet service providers to forward notifications of claimed infringement “as soon as feasible” rather than “without delay” as it said in the original version of the bill. Furthermore, it is important that the intermediaries are not held responsible when they play a neutral role. By establishing an exemption for real network intermediaries and new technologically neutral exceptions for consumers' daily activities, Bill C-11 paves the way for an increased use of digital technologies, such as cloud computing, networked personal video recording and other services that have yet to be invented.

A service that meets the conditions of the exemption will not result in liability under copyright law. Although intermediaries must assume clear responsibilities in the fight against online piracy, we also have to ensure that the requirements imposed on them are not unrealistic or too cumbersome.

The government firmly believes that the provisions of Bill C-11 strike such a balance.

I think all members would agree that this House has debated and consulted for some time now on how to strike an appropriate balance while establishing a modern, responsive copyright regime in Canada. These amendments are the latest demonstration of our government's commitment to strike the right balance between rights holders and users.

We recognize that copyright in the digital age will always evolve and that efforts to maintain balance are ongoing, whether a bill is before us or not. Such is the complexity of copyright and the many views on what is an ideal regime.

Our job as government is to ensure that the bill strikes the right balance, that it promotes innovation, investment and job growth in the Canadian digital economy while also preserving the rights of Canadians to use legally purchased copyright material in new and creative ways. For that reason, the bill has a built in five-year review so it does not fall this far behind again.

I hope hon. members will agree with me that the bill should be passed as amended and moved quickly to the Senate for debate and review.

This bill will bring Canadian copyright into the digital age. It is long overdue.

The faster it moves through Parliament, the faster it will benefit creators, the faster we can adopt measures to fight piracy, the faster search engines and Internet service providers will have clearly defined roles and responsibilities with respect to copyright, and the faster users will be able to go about their daily non-infringing activities with confidence and full knowledge of the practices permitted under the law.

We can no longer put off passing this bill. It is time to move forward.

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June 15th, 2012 / 10:20 a.m.
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NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have spent many years on the issue of copyright in our attempt and our willingness to work with the government to improve legislation that is fundamentally flawed. However, like everything with the Conservative government, it will not work with anybody. It sees people as perceived threats, as perceived enemies. Every amendment that we brought forward was attacked or shut down.

I would like to ask the hon. member about clause 47. Clause 47 sets out to punish people with perceptual disabilities. When my daughter, who is deaf, went through school and needed copyrighted material, she had to actually break the algorithm to access materials. That is a fundamental right for students who are so far behind in being able to access what other students take for granted. Under clause 47, the government is telling students with perceptual disabilities that they are responsible for repairing the lock.

Students who are blind have the right to access material if they need to have the print drawn up. Deaf students need the right to access material if they need something added in as a code so the subtitles can be seen. However, that can only be done if they take responsibility for repairing the lock afterward; otherwise, they are involved in a criminal activity.

Does the hon. member have any idea whatsoever about how to repair a digital lock? I know the Conservatives think of it in terms of a lock, but it is not a lock. It is a computer algorithm. Why would the Conservatives not work with us on a clear amendment that would ensure that students with perceptual disabilities are not treated as criminals for accessing material in an educational format so they can succeed?

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June 15th, 2012 / 10:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Christian Paradis Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my speech, thousands of Canadians from all the different stakeholder groups were consulted on the bill.

We know that digital locks protect innovation. In fact, when creators want to innovate, they need protection. We also know that there is flexibility. Products can be sold and digital copies can be added to different software or other items.

It is obvious that my colleague is referring to an isolated case. In general, the spirit of the law seeks to strike the right balance. It is also for that reason that I did say to my colleague that we need to move quickly to pass the bill because, at this point, everything we are talking about is illegal. We are not in the digital age; we are still in the era of VHS and landline telephones. Therefore, it is time to pass the bill.

Furthermore, there will be a review every five years to consider technological, digital and other changes.

One thing is certain: we want to strike a balance. Extensive consultation has made it clear to us that this is the way to ensure that there is balance. There are always ways of achieving it, including the example I just gave.

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June 15th, 2012 / 10:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am wondering if the hon. minister could please comment on the area of piracy.

Canada has been criticized on many occasions for harbouring piracy when it comes to copyright. A lot of that has to do with the fact that we have been so late in getting copyright legislation passed through the House, owing to a number of reasons. This legislation takes on that issue. Canada would no longer be seen as harbouring piracy in terms of Internet protection.

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June 15th, 2012 / 10:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Christian Paradis Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague mentioned, this is a great matter of concern. We signed the treaty back in 1997. We have a problem because we are not compliant and our partners are saying that we need to get through this because online copyright piracy is not punishable in the scope of the law. We need to move into the 21st century to ensure these illicit activities are punished.

The idea is to strike a balance. We have an approach that will protect the rights of the creators and innovators while, on the other hand, we have a balanced approach to ensure that the users, the consumers, know what they can and cannot do. We are providing certainty while striking that balance.

A huge group of stakeholders has been consulted everywhere around the country. There have been over 8,000. The bill has been tabled in two Parliaments. It has been the object of several hours of debate in committees. I think it is time to get into the 21st century and bring compliance to our 1997 agreement under WIPO. That is over 15 years ago. It is time to move on.

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June 15th, 2012 / 10:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, two words I picked out of the minister's comments were punishment and consumers. Many consumers are quite concerned about what the government is doing and the impact the bill would have.

I, as do many members of Parliament, go to numerous events. Winnipeg is well-known for social events. We call them socials, fundraisers and whatnot. I attend wedding celebrations and so forth. There are a lot of entertainment events, like block parties and special events that happen in our parks, like Kildonan Park and others, in which music is played.

I am wondering if the minister could provide a comment about how this legislation would impact individuals who are wanting to play music at their event if there are 25 or more people?

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June 15th, 2012 / 10:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Christian Paradis Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, when I talk about punishment I have to put the emphasis on punishment for online piracy. This is the concern that was raised by my previous colleagues. Once again, what we want to do is strike a balance.

Consumers face uncertainty. They do not presently know what computer files can be shared. With this legislation they would know if they are compliant with the law or not, because there is nothing in the law presently.

What we want to do is to take a balanced approach that takes both consumer rights and creator rights into account. We must establish a clear framework for neutral Internet service providers, not those that facilitate illegal file sharing, among other things. That is what we want to do.

Obviously, this will involve punishments. My colleague mentioned the famous punishments for consumers. These will exist in the case of pre-established damages, when someone knowingly shares information or files online. That is where we have added some certainty. The digital age is moving too quickly. That is what my speech was about: the digital age. We must provide some certainty, because this sector is growing exponentially.

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June 15th, 2012 / 10:25 a.m.
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NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is an issue that is very important in my riding of Parkdale—High Park because we have so many artists and creators who live in our area.

The minister talked earlier about pressure on us to act. I am wondering why a key aide to a former industry minister urged the U.S. to put Canada on the notorious piracy watch list and why he added that pressure on Parliament.

However, the real issue is that the impact of the legislation is to create the real winners, which are huge corporations, usually American based rights holders. It does nothing for consumers who would face increased taxes on DVDs and CDs, although it fails to take any action on new media, which artists need. In fact, it takes away about $50 million in royalties from creators and does not protect them.

Why would the minister not accept very reasoned, constructive amendments to the bill that were offered in good faith? Why has he been so intransigent with this legislation?

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June 15th, 2012 / 10:30 a.m.
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Conservative

Christian Paradis Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is very contradictory. First, we want to get rid of piracy. As it is now, people exchanging illicit files online is not covered by the law or within the scope of it. Creators need to be protected, which is why we want to make online piracy illegal. If people are committing piracy, they will face the consequences.

We have to be compliant with WIPO. We are far behind our partners. This is a balanced Canadian approach. When my colleague referred to the approach of the United States, we decided to concentrate on Internet service providers instead of having a notice to take down. Nobody wanted it in Canada, so we decided to go with a balanced and typical Canadian approach, which is notice to notice. This bill strikes a balance. There are also special provisions in terms of fair dealing and education. On the other hand, my colleague pleaded with her party in the past for an iPod tax and consumers do not want it. It was rejected by consumers.

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June 15th, 2012 / 10:30 a.m.
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NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise on this issue, which is vitally important for Canada. The need to update Canada's copyright legislation is something that the New Democrats have been pushing the current government and the previous Liberal government on for the better part of the last decade.

The problem is that this bill fails. It fails the rights of artists. It is an attack on the royalty regimes that it created, not just an incredible worldwide industry but also a sense of identity of culture that has created the importance of ensuring we have a voice. That voice is actually created within the marketplace of copyright, which I will get to in a moment. It attacks education, students and people with perceptual disabilities.

The government did not need to go down this road. We could have worked with the government. We were more than willing to work with it and we said it again and again. There are elements in the bill that are much better than the previous Conservative bill, which looked like a dog's breakfast when we considered how badly it was constructed, but this bill could have been fixed.

At the outset, we said that this did not need to be an ideological fight. We all have a stake in improving copyright. Unfortunately, the government does not know how to do to anything except in an ideological way. The government's idea of balance is that it is its way or the highway. Its idea of balance is that anybody who does not agree with it is a threat, which is why it had to go to such extreme measures as threatening Parks Canada employees, telling them that if they embarrassed the hapless parks minister their jobs would be on the line. It seems that the public servants of Canada, whose job it is to be public servants to Canadians, are to be the loyal soldiers of the Conservative Party or they are threatened.

We have seen how the government destroyed the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. We know now why. It is because it had—

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June 15th, 2012 / 10:30 a.m.
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Conservative

Dick Harris Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. History shows that the member for Timmins—James Bay tends to wander off on a dozen or more tangents during his speeches, but we are talking about a particular bill. If I am going to sit and listen to him, I would like to have his thoughts on the specific bill because that is what is important. I wish the hon. member would stick to his discussions about the bill. I am sure he feels he has some valid points to make about the bill and I would like him to make them.

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June 15th, 2012 / 10:30 a.m.
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NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will stay on the issue of what we are dealing with, which is the government's defensiveness. The member is telling me that he will get up and walk out if he has to listen to things he does not want to hear. That, unfortunately, has been the problem with this bill.

We came forward with numerous amendments. We told the minister that if we could sit down and discuss it, this bill would pass quickly. We were willing to do that. The government has to go to time allocation again and again because it will not work with anybody. It sees amendments as a threat, just as it sees a threat when the issue is raised about how it stripped Fisheries and Oceans and the Kyoto provisions. It tries to shut down debate or—

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June 15th, 2012 / 10:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Ryan Leef Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, now the member is carrying on about a point of order and is not talking about debate. In that point of order, or in the last parts of his conversation during debate, he has talked about things the member said during his own point of order which are completely inaccurate. The member is trying to distract the House from the topic of the debate. I think all hon. members would like to hear him debate the topic and not carry on as he is doing.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

June 15th, 2012 / 10:35 a.m.
See context

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, thank you for that.

This is the Westminster parliamentary tradition. If the member, who is brand new here, does not want to hear a word that he finds offensive, an attempt can be made to shut down this debate. The government can do it on points of order all day, but this is germane to the issue.

The issue here is that the willingness to work with the government is continually pushed back and the government has to stand on points of order to shut things down.

When we are talking about copyright, we are talking about a pattern which has been established, as we have seen in the recent bills and the attacks on the environment. If I mention the environment, I am sure that is going to set people off, but this is what we are talking about. We are talking about the government's attempt to use this House to shut down the parliamentary rights of people who have been here, who represent their regions, who came in good faith. This is the threat, which is why, when we talk about this bill, we see a government that does not understand actually how to do proper copyright legislation because it refuses to listen. Let us go through some of the amendments.

I asked the industry minister about clause 47, but he seemed to be confused. That is why I thought I would not get technical, because whenever I get technical, the government seems to be confused.

I will get technical on this. Let us talk about clause 22, which is the obligation of broadcasters on backup. That clause is tied to clause 34. The government actually created a loophole so that artists could be denied their right to be paid $28 million a year, which is what the music industry relies on. The government created a loophole. When we accused the government of creating a loophole, government members said that of course they were creating a loophole because they do not believe that the big giant radio stations should have to pay. This is their intervention in the market.

The government's idea of bounds is to take $28 million out of the hands of artists by creating a loophole. The government did not have the guts to do it face up, so it created this 30-day loophole. Then the industry said that the loophole is not fair because it would actually have to work using this loophole to deny artists.

I do not know if my hon. colleagues have had the experience of actually being in the industry, but these are agreements, rules and fees that were set by a semi-judicial body. They were adjudicated at the Copyright Board. However, the government decided that big corporate interests should not have to pay artists, so it created a loophole.

That loophole could have been fixed. I have a feeling the government will find itself in court over this. I sure hope the government is not going to try to shut down the courts next, but we do not know. However, the government will find itself in court because the testimony of government members again and again was that they felt they had to bring this in because they thought it was unfair that artists were being paid.

Let us talk about the book-burning provisions. Students have been told that after 30 days they have to destroy their online notes. One of the Conservative members said that it is not just notes, that it is videos. This was at committee. He said, “Imagine, if someone made a video”. I do not think video exists any more; that is an analog tape. The member said, “Imagine what would happen if a student had a copy of a class lesson and he gave it to his friends. What would happen?” Oh, my God, education might break out.

We have such an enormous opportunity and potential through digital education to reach all across Canada. Again, I represent the James Bay region, which is larger than Great Britain. The opportunities of digital education are amazing. What we need to work out are the copyright royalties, how we ensure that the creators who create the books and lessons and the help are paid, and then the students should be able to use it. However, the government's idea is that this somehow has to be limited.

It gets even more bizarre. Clause 29 is an attack on libraries. This is how it works in the analog paper world. If, for example, I am doing a research paper or a family history and I contact the library, the library will send me a paper copy in the mail. I have 30 days or 60 days to study it, because it takes time to go through a document. In the digital culture, the library could send a copy to me immediately. We would think that is a real benefit and a forward act, but the Conservatives said that the library is obligated to put a digital lock on it.

The Conservatives think a lock has chains and so on, but it is actually an algorithm. They said that the library is obligated to put on a digital lock and after five days the paper has to disappear, otherwise that is somehow a threat. A threat to whom? It is a threat to education, I would think, if five days is how long a person is allowed to have access, otherwise the person would be breaking the law.

The Conservatives obviously did not talk to the libraries in Canada. They talked to supposedly millions, but I think what they meant to say is that they spoke to people who have millions. They just shortened it and said that they spoke to millions. No, they spoke to the people with the millions. They did not speak to the libraries, because the libraries said that was not how to develop education. This is an issue for the small libraries.

There is a wonderful little library in my town, Cobalt, which has been voted the most historic town in Ontario. We have a little archives there. Historians want that, but the little town of Cobalt's library will be obligated to put in a computer code to prevent someone from making an extra copy of old Granny McGuire's memoirs of the early days after the fire. Oh, my God, what would happen then?

The Conservatives' idea of the marketplace is to lock up the market. They are the supposed free marketeers, but no, they will lock up the market and that will create a market.

That is not how a market is made in music and in education and in learning. A market is made by establishing the fees that are paid. In a digital age it is about the ability of people to access works. It is all around us. The Conservatives think they are like King Canute, that they will stand down and tell those digital waves to recede. It is not going to happen. We have access, a multiplicity of access.

What we need to find out are the methods of remuneration for our artists. It is no surprise that every single arts group in Quebec said the bill was a direct attack. We said we should find the common ground and fix it.

Let us continue on to the other areas where the Conservatives have completely failed, such as clause 47, in particular the WIPO provisions, and the linking of criminality to the circumvention of technological protection measures. The New Democratic Party has made it clear from the beginning that we support the ability for new business models. Whether it be on streaming of music or in the gaming industry, there is a role and a right for corporate creators to have technological protection measures that are not going to be broken so that works cannot be stolen. That is a good provision. We support that. It would make us in compliance.

Our friends over there keep talking about WIPO. We have been pushing the Conservatives to implement the WIPO treaty since the day they came into power. They did not want to touch WIPO. We kept saying that WIPO is essential and that we have to ratify WIPO because it is part of our international obligations.

The Conservatives do not seem to understand that under the WIPO treaty, it is very clear that there are exceptions where the technological protection measure is not a right in itself. It is an adjunct to a right. It enables a right. The right is the right of creators on the one hand to protect their work. The technological protection measure is an adjunct to the basic right that protects the work, but in the balance of copyright, there are other rights as well. There are the rights of people to access that work, and the right to access something that is under a technological protection measure for research and innovation. That is a reasonable goal.

The technological protection measure should not be there to interfere with research and innovation. We have a right as consumers to access a product. The Conservatives keep talking about legalization so that people know their legal certainties. The government will give us all the rights that we should have, but when we go to exercise them, it will say to talk to Sony Corporation and Sony will decide whether we have that right or not.

There cannot be a two-tiered set of rights. This is what Parliament is about. There are rights that Canadian citizens have and those rights are defined by Parliament. There are rights within the Copyright Act that go back hundreds of years. That is the balance. The creator's right is not absolute. It is not the creator's house that he or she lives in and nobody gets to come in. It is a public good. Creation is changed. People come in and they get ideas. It is not a walled garden. We accept the right of the creator to have certain rights to his or her work, but we also accept the rights of the public to access that work and create new works. That has been in the parliamentary tradition of France, Britain, the United States and Canada for hundreds of years.

The Conservatives are introducing something new, which is that these rights exist until a corporation decides that one does not have that right. By putting in the absolute protection for technological protection measures, they are saying that people have that right, but when they try to access it, they are breaking the law. If there is a computer code to stop people from doing research and innovation, they are the same as criminals.

The Conservatives somehow think that is being compliant with international treaties. It is not. The WIPO treaty is very clear. The exceptions for accessing works that exist in the analog paper world have a right to exist within the digital realm. How do we do that?

If the government were not so defensive and paranoid and sometimes just downright weird about suggestions, it would have worked with our amendments. We had a number of amendments on the linking of criminality to circumvention of technological protection measures which made it clear that university institutions that need to access work that is under technological protection measures are not breaking the law if it is being done for research and innovation. The university or the student or the person with a perceptual disability is not a criminal. They are not in the same class as the pirates.

However, the Conservatives only see a black and white world. They cannot see anything in between. As they said, “You are either with us or the child pornographers.” The government does not see any middle ground between extremes. That is not how copyright works.

That gets us back to clause 47, which I thought was not given much attention, because people with perceptual disabilities, the blind, the hard of hearing, are not a big corporate lobby. They do not get to meet with the minister. They do not have large lobby organizations. Their interests were completely ignored by the government.

All they were asking for was a very straightforward provision, that for the creation of works for the blind, and we have found that this is of particular importance within Quebec because of the much smaller book market, there is an audience for books created in Braille, but it can only be within the limited Canadian market. What about France, where there are other groups that are making their products available to the blind there? We could have that exchange. We are not trading pirated works. There is no commercial market for taking Braille. This is something that is a service.

It is the same with the issue of the breaking of a technological lock. Again, the government thinks that the lock is like a door lock that is picked. It will only allow the students with a perceptual disability to tamper with the lock. It sounds criminal. It sounds as though they are sneaking around wearing a mask and breaking in through a window.

This is about when a student is in a classroom and cannot see the board. That student should not be denied that right because someone says there is a technological protection measure, and unless that student with a perceptual disability can guarantee that he or she is going to repair the lock after damaging it, the student cannot access it.

It is a ridiculous provision within the bill. It is ridiculous. There is no way that one repairs that lock after it is broken. It is a computer algorithm. It is about extracting information.

A practical example is that my daughter was in human rights law and there were lessons she could not hear because of her deafness. We needed to access the visual works so that she could get subtitles. For the university to do that, it had to actually break the digital lock. It is a fairly straightforward thing. Then the university could create a work that the student could access. Under the human rights code, a student has the right to access it. That is a guaranteed right. That is a right recognized by Parliament, but it is a right that is being denied under this bill, because only if those students can guarantee they can somehow fix the lock, that they can somehow stuff all the information back into the CD, put the cover back on the CD, and put the CD back on the shelf, then it will be okay. It is ridiculous.

We had straightforward amendments which the government refused at every step of the way. Then the Conservatives whine and complain that they actually had to sit and debate the bill. If they had worked on those straightforward amendments, this bill would have been through the House months ago.

It is going to be like this with every single bill, unless the government starts to realize that with a little compromise and a little goodwill, we can create legislation that is in the interests of all Canadians, not just in the interests of the Conservative Party and its friends who have millions.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

June 15th, 2012 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, good morning, after a long and difficult 48 hours here in the House.

I would like to pick up on some of the comments my colleague made, first of all to suggest that the Liberal Party is interested in efforts to modernize and update our Copyright Act in a fair and balanced manner. We are also deeply concerned about the digital lock provisions in this legislation.

I will ask my colleague the question this way, and I know he is capable of giving a good, fair and objective answer. This really deals with the question of recent disclosures of diplomatic cables from the United States showing that the Conservative copyright plan appears to have been drafted very much to satisfy industry concerns in the United States. I know we will not get into a U.S.-type bashing commentary. We do not need that. We have good friends and neighbours in the United States who have their own interests.

However, perhaps in the interests of Canadians watching or following this debate, can the member help us understand where the differences lie between the Canadian and the American interests in this regard? Can he give us some insight, because he is so close to the file, as to why the Conservative Party would allow itself to be perhaps influenced too greatly by American interests as opposed to Canadian interests?