Evidence of meeting #11 for Bill C-11 (41st Parliament, 1st Session) in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was amendment.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Robert DuPelle  Senior Policy Analyst, Copyright and International Intellectual Property Policy Directorate, Department of Industry
  • Mike MacPherson  Procedural Clerk
  • Anne-Marie Monteith  Director, Copyright and International Intellectual Property Policy Directorate, Department of Industry
  • Gerard Peets  Acting Director General, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Strategic Policy Sector, Department of Industry
  • Drew Olsen  Director, Policy and Legislation, Copyright and International Trade Policy Branch, Department of Canadian Heritage

10:45 a.m.

NDP

The Chair Glenn Thibeault

(Amendment withdrawn)

10:45 a.m.

NDP

The Chair Glenn Thibeault

Now I will open up discussion on clause 47 as amended. Is there any further discussion on clause 47 as amended?

Mr. Lake.

March 13th, 2012 / 10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Actually, I have a question for the officials. I just wanted to lead in by saying that it has been an interesting discussion and a lot of things have been said. There has been a lot of debate about this particular clause as it relates to the TPMs.

I would just remind the committee that we did hear from several voices expressing that the provision of TPMs will actually allow for more content, more services to be available in more innovative ways. There were several voices that made reference to this over the course of the committee hearings. We heard from one a couple of weeks ago. I'll quote him; he said:

We often hear these technologies being referred to as “digital locks”, but I think that's a total misnomer; we should not think of TPMs as restrictions somehow meant to frustrate consumers but as an essential element of a thriving digital media marketplace. If there's one thing I'd like to accomplish in front of the committee today, it's to get rid of that “digital locks” label and to turn the focus back on what these technologies are and how Canadian copyright should protect them so that we can sustain a vibrant Canadian creative marketplace.

This is an issue where there are voices that have strong positions on both sides. As a committee, we have to make a determination as to the best course of action here.

With the short time I have on this, I do want to go to the officials. The government has the ability to provide new exceptions to TPM provisions through regulation. I know that was one component within the bill. I thought that it might be a good time now, even though that comes in later clauses, to just elaborate on them as they relate to the particular clause we're on.

10:45 a.m.

NDP

The Chair Glenn Thibeault

On a point of order, Mr. Regan.

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Chair, just to be clear, my colleague is asking the officials to speculate on what future regulations might exist, by this government or other governments in the future, because of this particular provision—

10:45 a.m.

NDP

The Chair Glenn Thibeault

Mr. Regan, I appreciate that this is not really a point of order; it's more like trying to clarify the question from Mr. Lake. I'll turn it back over to Mr. Lake if he'd like to clarify his question in further detail, but it's not really a point of order.

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

First of all, it's not a point of order. Second of all, it's not accurate at all. What I was asking is for the officials to comment on the provisions in clauses that are in the bill and on the government's ability to provide new exceptions to TPM provisions through regulation. I'm not asking them to comment on what those future decisions might be, but on what is actually in the bill.

10:45 a.m.

NDP

The Chair Glenn Thibeault

Thank you, Mr. Lake.

I will now hand it over to the officials for comment.

10:45 a.m.

Director, Policy and Legislation, Copyright and International Trade Policy Branch, Department of Canadian Heritage

Drew Olsen

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Lake, what I can do is explain to the committee what is in Bill C-11 in terms of regulation-making powers, if that's okay.

Proposed subsection 41.21(1) grants the Governor in Council the power to make regulations to exclude a TPM or a class of TPMs from the prohibitions that would be established in proposed section 41.1, which is the circumvention of TPMs, the offer of services to circumvent TPMs, and dealing in devices to circumvent TPMs, if it considers that the use of the TPMs in particular circumstances “would unduly restrict competition in the aftermarket” sector.

Proposed paragraph 41.21(2)(a) grants the Governor in Council the power to prescribe when proposed paragraph 41.1(1)(a), prohibition against the circumvention of access control TPMs, would not apply. The factors enumerated in that section must be considered, as well as any other relevant factor. These factors consider the restrictions on the use of protected materials caused by TPMs, and the effect that circumvention of the TPM would have on the market value of that protected material.

Proposed paragraph 41.21(2)(b) addresses the situation where a person who benefits from one of the eight exceptions to circumvent an access control TPM does not have the means to do so. To deal with such an instance, the provision would grant the Governor in Council the power to require a—

10:50 a.m.

NDP

The Chair Glenn Thibeault

Mr. Olsen, I'm sorry to interrupt you. You're reading a little too fast for our interpreters.

10:50 a.m.

Director, Policy and Legislation, Copyright and International Trade Policy Branch, Department of Canadian Heritage

Drew Olsen

I'm sorry.

To deal with such an instance, the provision would grant the Governor in Council the power to require a copyright owner of material to which access is controlled by a TPM to provide access to such a person. It states: “The regulations may prescribe the manner in which, and the time within which, access is to be provided, as well as any conditions that the owner of the copyright is to comply with”.

10:50 a.m.

NDP

The Chair Glenn Thibeault

Thank you, Mr. Olsen.

We're back to you, Mr. Lake.

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

For those who are watching this—and actually, I think there are probably more people watching this than would normally be watching committee proceedings—maybe you can just give a brief explanation of how regulations work, versus actually having to change the law through another piece of legislation.

10:50 a.m.

NDP

The Chair Glenn Thibeault

Mr. Olsen, please be brief, because we're already over time. Thank you.

10:50 a.m.

Director, Policy and Legislation, Copyright and International Trade Policy Branch, Department of Canadian Heritage

Drew Olsen

Regulations are a power of the Governor in Council--the cabinet, in other words. They can pass a regulation rather than having to amend a statute. It would be a cabinet process. There's a consultation process. They are usually gazetted in the Canada Gazette ahead of time for Canadians to comment on the proposed regulation. Then they are voted on in cabinet and approved.