Evidence of meeting #7 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 copyright.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Alain Lauzon  General Manager, Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada
  • Martin Lavallée  Director, Licensing and Legal Affairs, Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada
  • Elliot Noss  President and Chief Executive Officer, Tucows Inc.
  • Jean Brazeau  Senior Vice-President, Regulatory Affairs, Shaw Communications Inc.
  • Jay Kerr-Wilson  Legal Counsel, Fasken Martineau, Shaw Communications Inc.
  • Cynthia Rathwell  Vice-President, Regulatory Affairs, Shaw Communications Inc.
  • Stephen Stohn  President, Executive Producer, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Epitome Pictures Inc.
  • Gerry Barr  National Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Directors Guild of Canada
  • Tim Southam  Chair, National Directors Division, Directors Guild of Canada
  • Greg Hollingshead  Chair, Writers' Union of Canada
  • Marian Hebb  Legal Counsel, Writers' Union of Canada

4:15 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Tucows Inc.

Elliot Noss

Bill C-11 feels comfortable to me.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Braid Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Thank you.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Glenn Thibeault

You have 30 seconds.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Braid Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

I think that's a great place to end.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Glenn Thibeault

Perfect. Thank you, Mr. Braid.

We're now moving to Mr. Angus for five minutes.

March 5th, 2012 / 4:15 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Thank you. It's a very interesting discussion all the way around.

I want to follow up on a question from my colleague in the last round.

Mr. Noss, you said that you liked the balance, but you talked about your concern about the enabling language. I see that you're a member of the Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright.

4:15 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Tucows Inc.

Elliot Noss

That's right.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

There are some pretty heavy-duty players in that.

Given the experience with SOPA and the huge backlash that burned many U.S. politicians' fingers on that issue, do you see language that can work in terms of dealing with...?

We all have a common interest in going after people who should be shut down—

4:15 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Tucows Inc.

Elliot Noss

That's right.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

We also share a common interest in ensuring that we don't destroy the platform that is still emerging. Have you seen language that can actually focus in on this? Is this the time? What is your recommendation?

4:15 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Tucows Inc.

Elliot Noss

I will tell you that when I dug into Bill C-11 as it currently stands, I was pleasantly surprised. That would be right way to put it. There is the appropriate expansion of exceptions for fair dealing, as well as the notice and notice provisions and the statutory damages. Three or four things in there are world-leading and give Canada an opportunity to set a model for the rest of the world.

The interesting thing about that is that there are countries over the world—again, I meet with representatives in the ICANN context—that are looking for an alternative to some of the heavy-handedness going on in a couple of jurisdictions, and the U.S. in particular, sadly. I think there's a fantastic opportunity and a uniquely Canadian opportunity here.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Thank you.

Mr. Lauzon, we’ve talked many times over the years. I was interested in how you define copyright. Perhaps it's simplistic, but at its root you said that copyright is a payment, a fundamental right that is at the heart of what we're talking about. It's who gets paid and when they get paid.

I've been noticing at our committee hearings that my colleagues in the Conservative Party call copyright a tax. They use “tax” all the time. They say that it's not fair to business, yet when we're talking about the ephemeral exemption that's being created, it seems that on something that has been adjudicated by the Copyright Board, which has defined the right to be paid as the $20 million that musicians, artists, and publishers receive, they want to use an exemption to deny people who have been adjudicated at the Copyright Board the right to be paid.

Do you believe it's the role of government to intervene at the Copyright Board and say that not only will you not get the $20 million, but while we’re at it, we’ll be taking the $30 million you received for the digital levy? They'll be taking $50 million and will intervene in your business model and say that it's fair. What is the feeling of the members of SODRAC?

4:20 p.m.

General Manager, Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada

Alain Lauzon

The Copyright Board is recognized worldwide as a place that establishes the value of the right. Participants are using it, especially in the right of reproduction, for which, under law, we can negotiate with our partner. We can do it as arbitration or we can go for a tariff.

The Copyright Board establishes the tariff and looks at the practices. You members of the committee have to establish the rules under which the copyright owners, who are the creators, are going to be paid, are going to be remunerated. I mentioned in my text that sometimes, especially in music, copyright is the only remuneration they receive.

Every three months, when I pay my 2,500 members who are songwriters, composers, and publishers, copyright is the only money they receive. They receive money from us, which is the reproduction right, and they receive money from SOCAN, which is the performing right, so they receive different types of rights, but these rights are all recognized.

That's why, in this new digital economy, you have to bring forward rules in the legislation to protect the creation of the work for the creators we have—

4:20 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Glenn Thibeault

Thank you, Mr. Lauzon and Mr. Angus. You're out of time.

We're now moving on to Mr. McColeman for five minutes.

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Brant, ON

Thank you very much.

I thank all of you for being here and providing your thoughts and ideas on helping us determine what that balance is.

I might just comment on the comments of my colleague who just finished. I don't think anyone at this table is looking to not strike the right balance and to not make sure the creators, the people who create the work, the artists of the world, don't get compensated properly. Perhaps the structure of that is what we are considering in terms of how we strike the right balance to make sure they are treated fairly.

I hear comments—the comments of Mr. Noss and the comments from the Shaw representatives—in terms of seeing this as what I would call a huge moment of opportunity for our country. I heard the Google representative, Mr. Glick, talk about his vision for what Canada could be in a digital environment if we get this right. This is hugely important to us.

Mr. Noss, my question is to you. You talked about your customers and their customers. I appreciated the way you addressed us in terms of describing that structure in order for everyday Canadians to be able to understand it. Can you take it from the small business person out there who is dealing with maybe the two-person operation that you said would be lost if we don't get this right? Could you talk a little more about that and how important it is to local economies, such as the one in my community?