House of Commons Hansard #31 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was ukraine.

Topics

Legislation to Reorganize the Canadian Wheat Board
Privilege
Routine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

You had a responsibility to have a plebiscite before you brought in this legislation.

Mr. Speaker, because the government did not do that it is in violation of the privileges of each and every member of the chamber. I would suggest that this is indeed a valid question of privilege. If the government had an ounce of integrity it would do the honourable thing and members would provide it leave to withdraw this legislation.

Legislation to Reorganize the Canadian Wheat Board
Privilege
Routine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. Chief Government Whip is rising. I urge him to keep his remarks brief as I do not want this part of the day to turn into extra rounds of debate and speeches on the substance of bills. However, I will give him a brief opportunity to respond.

Legislation to Reorganize the Canadian Wheat Board
Privilege
Routine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will keep my comments brief.

As I said before, we are elected in the House of Commons to enact legislation. We have a right to introduce legislation, to debate it here and, if successful, to pass it. We can amend any law we want going back to 1867. We are not talking about privilege when introducing this bill. If this bill is not allowed to come in and we cannot amend previous laws then my privileges will be violated.

Legislation to Reorganize the Canadian Wheat Board
Privilege
Routine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I thank hon. members for their interventions. I will take the case under advisement and come back to the House with a decision in due course.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

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 second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak this morning at second reading of Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act.

With the permission of the House, I will be splitting my time with the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. minister have the unanimous consent of the House to share his time with the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages?

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

October 18th, 2011 / 10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Christian Paradis Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, as you know, this is the second time that the government has introduced this bill. During the previous Parliament and for almost a year, the Copyright Modernization Act—then known as Bill C-32—was carefully examined and debated by parliamentarians and stakeholders.

We know how much time and effort members of Parliament, stakeholders and Canadians spent on this bill. The legislative committee created to examine the bill heard from more than 70 witnesses and received more than 150 submissions. All stakeholders were consulted, and the government received letters from across the country.

We fully expect that when the bill is once again referred to a House of Commons committee the work and testimony from the previous Parliament will be carefully considered and taken into account.

Over the course of the committee hearings on this bill in the last Parliament, there were two clear messages that emerged. The first message was that this bill balances the interests of the various stakeholders. The bill, a product of wide-ranging consultation and discussion, sets out a balanced approach to corporate reform in the digital age. While the government strongly believes that this bill delivers the best balance between the interests of consumers and the rights of the creative community, we are open to technical amendments that may improve the clarity and intent of certain provisions.

Second, we heard that Canada urgently needs to pass legislation to update the Copyright Act. By reintroducing this same bill, parliamentarians will be able to build on this previous work in order to enable the swift passage of these important legislative updates. Each year that Canada goes without modern copyright laws, the need for such modernization becomes more evident as technology evolves and new issues emerge.

The last time the act was changed, there were no MP3 players. Video stores were still full of VHS tapes. No one thought we would be able to take pictures with a cellphone and upload them onto computer screens around the world, or use a cellphone to download songs and movies.

The world has changed so much since then that the Copyright Act seems like a law for a different era. The time has come to modernize Canada's copyright laws and bring them in line with the demands and technologies of the digital age.

This bill must be passed in order to modernize Canada's copyright regime in accordance with the government's digital economy strategy.

Digital technology opens new markets and expands the reach of companies. It brings together people and ideas in a way that was still unimaginable only a few years ago. When individuals, companies and national economies create and adopt these new technologies, a number of important things are achieved. Productivity and innovation increase, and new products, processes and business models see the light of day.

The growth of the digital economy in Canada depends on a clear, predictable and fair copyright regime that supports creativity and innovation while protecting copyright holders.

The global economy remains fragile. This bill will help to protect existing jobs and create new ones. It will spark innovation and attract new investments in Canada. It will give creators and copyright holders the tools they need to protect their work and increase their business. The bill establishes clearer rules that will allow all Canadians to fully participate in the digital economy, both now and in the future.

One of the bill's main objectives is to balance the interests of all stakeholders in the copyright regime. Achieving this balance has become increasingly complex given the exponential growth of the Internet. Canadians can obtain protected works online, sometimes through revenue-generating platforms or services, but also through free services, both legitimate and illegitimate. Our capacity to use high-quality Web services to obtain, protect and create copyrighted works is essential to our economic success and our cultural presence in the world.

That is why, in 2009, our government turned to Canadians to get their ideas and advice on copyright reform in the digital age. Thousands of individual Canadians, companies and stakeholder organizations shared their opinions on the best way to adapt Canada's copyright regime to this new age. These consultations showed that Canadians were becoming increasingly aware of the importance of copyright in their daily lives and in our digital economy.

On the one hand, this bill seeks to reflect today's reality where the private, non-commercial use of copyrighted material is commonplace. The bill would authorize many of these uses and establish parameters for cases which, to date, were not well defined.

For example, Canadians could copy works legally obtained on their computers and mobile devices to enjoy them wherever they may be. They could store content in and retrieve it from the information cloud or use a network PVR service.

It will also be legal to integrate protected works into a work generated by a user for non-commercial purposes. That would include recording a home video of a child dancing to a song, or creating original mixes of songs and videos. This exception requires that the rights and interests of copyright holders be respected. There are many examples where copyright holders have benefited from exposure on the Internet owing to work done by users.

Finally, the bill updates the Copyright Act to reflect new technologies and uses by broadening the exceptions and creating new ones for educational and training institutions, technical procedures, the development of software, broadcasters and the disabled.

I would like to point out that great care was taken when drafting these provisions to reflect the needs and interests of copyright holders. The provisions do place limits and restrictions on the use of protected works.

For example, many of these exceptions do not apply to works protected by a technological protection measure or digital lock. Copyright holders told us that their digital and on-line business models depend on the robust protection provided by digital locks. Therefore, the bill strikes a good balance. It allows Canadians to make reasonable use of content while providing creators and businesses, whose work depends on this content, with the tools and certainty they need to launch new products and services.

While our government knows that the overwhelming majority of Canadians are law-abiding, we are concerned about the threat of major penalties that hang over Canadians who infringe copyright for non-commercial purposes. Currently, those who have been found to violate copyright can be found liable for damages from $500 to $20,000 per work.

If people illegally download five songs, for example, they could theoretically be liable for $100,000. In our view, such penalties are way out of line. As such, the bill proposes to reduce the penalties for non-commercial infringement. Under its provisions, the courts would have the flexibility to award total damages of between $100 and $5,000.

However, while the bill reduces penalties for non-commercial infringements, it still seriously punishes those who profit from copyright infringement. Penalties of $500 to $20,000 per infringement will still apply to piracy for commercial purposes. In addition, the bill proposes new tools to target those who find techniques to infringe online copyright and it sets out serious penalties for those who make money by creating and distributing devices and services designed to hack digital locks. It will be very difficult to benefit from piracy.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, I listened with great interest to my hon. colleague and I heard the word “balanced” being used time and time again, and yet the bill is very unbalanced.

We are not here talking about copyright, the right of creators and who has their copies. This bill is about corporate right, the right of a corporate entity to decide what right citizens have. It is a sleight of hand. It is very important for people to recognize that the bill is offering citizens' rights that they will not be able to exercise if a corporate entity puts a digital lock on the product.

Looking at how our WIPO compliant countries around the world have dealt with the issue of digital locks, and under sections 10 and 11 of the WIPO copyright treaty, it talks about the right to have exemptions of the digital lock as long as it is not being broken or infringed for commercial purposes, but in order to give citizens the right to access works to which under a legislative regime they have a right to access. However, under the bill, any rights that the citizen is granted in the bill are arbitrarily taken away with the digital lock provisions.

Will the government work with the New Democratic Party to fix the digital lock provisions to ensure they do not unfairly target students and consumers who are legally entitled to access works? If we fix the digital lock provisions, would the Conservatives be willing to work with us to ensure we are WIPO compliant but also responding to the needs that citizens have on this issue?

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Christian Paradis Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker would like to thank the hon. member for his question.

I was coming to the aspect of innovation. As the member so rightly said, we need to talk about balance here because that is what is reflected in this bill.

There are many interests at stake here: those of consumers, creators, authors and artists. It should be said that we have held thousands of consultations, and now we are presenting a balanced and complex approach. Digital locks are important for encouraging innovation. We cannot tell product creators that it is “game over”, not after they have invested millions and millions of dollars. There has to be some degree of protection.

Plus, the market is still doing what it is meant to do: consumers are still free choose whether or not to purchase products with digital locks.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Madam Speaker, the hon. minister spoke about bringing forward a modern copyright law but what we see with the provisions on digital locks is that the government is going backward. It is a regressive position. He says that this is a balanced approach but allowing digital locks to trump the interests and rights of consumers is the complete opposite of a balanced approach. It does not make sense at all.

The Conservatives are saying that people can reformat it or copy it onto their iPod, or whatever, as long as there is not a digital lock. All the corporation has to do is put on a digital lock and consumers are out of luck. If a young mother wants to transfer a movie from a DVD onto an iPod, she cannot do it. How is this possibly a balanced approach?

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Christian Paradis Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, with respect, to position the problem at the very end of the spectrum, as my colleague just did, is inappropriate. We need to look at the innovation aspect. Canada is a leader, a real trailblazer, in the development of the digital economy, digital products and software, for example. A minimum of protection must be ensured. We cannot ask creators to invest millions of dollars without any protection. This is an aspect of balance that must be taken into account. Many products such as DVDs do not have digital locks and the market is doing its job in that respect. We have simply taken into account the interests of all stakeholders.

With this copyright legislation, we are finally entering the 21st century. The current legislation deals with VHS and other technologies that are no longer even on the market or being used by consumers. Thus, showing true leadership, we decided to introduce a balanced bill that takes into account the interests of everyone: consumers, creators, authors and artists.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
B.C.

Conservative

James Moore Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to be here with the Minister of Industry. I should also certainly give a great deal of thanks to the President of the Treasury Board for the work that he did on Bill C-32, which was last Parliament's version of Bill C-11, which we are debating today.

As the Minister of Industry said, the bill contains a number of provisions that Canadians, I think, will welcome and are welcoming. The bill contains provisions that will provide the ability of copyright owners to control the uses of their works to fight online piracy. This is about individual creators and creative industries, like the video game industry, the software industry, the movie industry, and others. It is having the tools to protect their art, their businesses and their jobs.

For example, the bill includes provisions to protect the technological protection measures and authorizes copyright holders to sue those who enable copyright infringement through such means as illegal peer-to-peer file sharing sites. Our government knows that the best way to deal with online copyright violation is to target those who enable this crime and profit from it.

More specifically, Bill C-11 introduces a new definition of civil liability for those who knowingly enable online copyright violation. Online piracy takes revenues away from creators and reduces the incentive to create. This measure sends a clear message that Canada is prohibiting piracy sites and giving copyright holders the tools to protect their activities. What is more, the bill also introduces new provisions to stop those who develop and sell tools and services for getting around technological protection measures.

Canada is among the first jurisdictions in the world, if not the first, to provide its copyright legislation with this very important tool to fight online piracy. At the same time, we are taking steps to ensure that Canadians are aware that they may be infringing copyright. Canadian Internet service providers have developed a unique model in which they tell subscribers when a rights holder notifies them that a subscriber has infringed on copyright material. This is known as notice and notice. The bill formalizes this practice into law. I would just point out here that this is one of the key elements that consumers have come to us and said they want as part of the bill.

We disagree with the American approach with regard to copyright. We have a notice and notice regime in our legislation, not a notice and take down regime as they have in the United States, for very good reason. These provisions are also on top of a wide array of legal protections already provided for in the Copyright Act that rights holders can use to assert their rights.

Educators, students, artists, companies, consumers, families, copyright holders and Canadians in general use technology in a number of different ways, and this bill simply recognizes that reality. It gives creators and copyright holders the necessary tools to protect their works, their investments, and to develop their business through innovative business models. It establishes clearer rules that will allow Canadians to fully participate in the digital economy today and in the future. More specifically, this bill gives creators and copyright holders the tools they absolutely need.

With this legislation Canadians will also be able to create new works incorporating existing publishing or publicly available works, as long as it is done for non-commercial purposes, as my colleague has said. The new user generated content cannot be a substitute for the original work or have the substantial negative impacts on the markets of the original material or on a creator's reputation.

Canadians with perceptual disabilities will be permitted to adapt legally acquired material to a format that they can easily use. Also, Canadian photographers will benefit from the same authorship rights as creators. Currently, photographers are not considered authors of commissioned works. This legislation changes that.

Consumers and users of content will also see their interests reflected in the bill. Canadians will be allowed to record television, radio and Internet programs to enjoy at their time and choosing with no restrictions as to the device or technology chosen or the time of day.

Under certain conditions, Canadians will also be able to copy for their personal use legally acquired works such as music, movies or other works, on the device or component of their choice. They will be able to make backup copies in the format and on the device or component of their choice.

I would like to close my speech by ensuring the House understands that this was, from the very beginning of the process that we initiated just prior to the summer of 2009, a good faith effort on the part of our government to get copyright legislation done effectively.

The member for Timmins—James Bay was engaged in debate on Bill C-61 when we tabled that legislation. Bill C-61, as it turned out, was not the balance that Canadians were looking for. We think this legislation achieves the balance that Canadians have come to expect. We tabled Bill C-61, there was the fall campaign, and then we came back.

We re-engaged Canadians from the beginning. We went back to square one. We did unprecedented consultation on this legislation. We heard from thousands of Canadians in the process. We went across the country to town halls and we did open, online consultation. We arrived at Bill C-32.

As a result of the participation of thousands of Canadians in that process, we thought we would respect that process--

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

And 141 in committee and you haven't changed a thing.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

James Moore Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member over there, who barely won his seat and who thinks he is an authority on everything, is chirping at me.

We tabled Bill C-32 after unprecedented consultation and we respected the process, and we retabled this legislation. As the member said, we had 141 witnesses before the committee and it would be disrespectful to those witnesses if we did not allow the process to continue. The reason we tabled this legislation is to continue the process, to show respect to those members of the committee, and to all members who have been involved in this process.