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

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, the right to private copying is not a tax; it is a levy. Our Conservative friends make this type of mistake, and they also make the mistake of confusing taxes with savings. This is similar to the debate on pension funds, which they consider to be a tax. They confuse savings and taxes. Now again, they are confusing the money levied through private copying with taxes.

Here is the problem. The hon. member can present this however he would like but, basically, it is a well known fact that some people will have money and some will not. It is the artists who will not.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, the bill eliminates a multi-million dollar revenue stream for artists by eliminating ephemeral rights. There is no plan for a revenue stream to help artists adjust to that.

I was wondering how the member might propose amending this legislation to take care of that issue.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, with regard to private copying, if I am not mistaken—the hon. member can correct me if I am wrong—for two years, we had the right to put a levy on digital equipment, and people made money. We are talking about approximately $60 million. This allowed artists to keep their heads above water. However, this amount keeps falling, keeps dropping. That is why the legislation must be amended to include a private copying levy on all digital electronics. A levy. It is quite normal for equipment used to distribute an artistic work to include a levy, a copyright payment for the artist providing the content. An empty iPod is worthless. It is the content that makes an iPod valuable.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Romeo Saganash Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his wonderful speech, which was so heartfelt and passionate. We, on this side of the House, have always been open and we remain so today. That is how the NDP works, by reaching out.

I was wondering if the hon. member could give us one example of a change he sees as necessary for this bill.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect for the hon. member, I would say that the first thing that should be done with this bill is to put it in the garbage. This bill is terrible, right down to its spirit and essence. It does not respect artists; it respects owners of communications sites. That is the main issue. This bill is fundamentally biased. There is not a single clause in this bill that is good. The very spirit of its content is flawed. This bill should be rewritten. I said at the beginning that this bill is about denying copyright. The reverse is not true.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak today to Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, because this is an important bill whose purpose is to make changes that have been needed for a long time. Certainly this is a somewhat complex issue, since the last version of this act dates from 1997, and the technology has changed a lot since then.

Copyright is a sensitive thing, especially in the electronic age when file sharing and a plethora of content are available on the Internet. Consumers should not be able to download from illicit sources on line without having to pay. Reform of the Copyright Act was needed in order to provide greater protection for our creators. It is also essential to update the Canadian legislation, which is several years behind what is provided in international agreements.

While the government’s intention to focus the battle against piracy on the big offenders is laudable, unfortunately, as my colleague said, Bill C-11 does not take into account the needs of the creators. With this bill, the Conservatives have intentionally avoided addressing the question of a possible expansion of the private copying exception, a measure that has been proposed by the NDP and a number of experts.

In Bill C-11 the Conservative government has brought us back exactly the same content as Bill C-32, which had already been severely criticized by the arts community. Bill C-11, unfortunately, does not achieve the balance that is needed between the rights of creators and the rights of the public. In spite of the fact that a number of artists, experts and spokespeople have addressed the parliamentary committee on this in recent months, the government is once again proposing a bill on which there is no unanimity.

And so the Conservatives have ignored the opinion of the experts heard in committee and the conclusions from their own copyright consultations in 2009. The result is that they have brought in a bill that could do more harm than good, and that is why we need to understand it clearly. We can therefore say that although a number of worthwhile proposals have been made and although there is a will on the part of politicians to work together to achieve a fair bill, the government has continued to turn a deaf ear to those proposals.

The National Assembly of Quebec has unanimously denounced this legislation, which does not ensure that Quebec creators receive full recognition of their rights and an income that reflects the value of their creations. In addition, on November 30 of last year, 100 Quebec artists, including Luc Plamondon, Robert Charlebois, Michel Rivard and Richard Séguin, travelled to Ottawa to tell the Minister of Heritage and Official Languages, the Minister of Industry and the entire Conservative caucus that they did not want the copyright bill in the form the government is stubbornly presenting.

Bill C-11 favours the big players in the creative world. Unfortunately, the small artists and artisans are not as lucky. What Bill C-11 does is to attack artisans’ copyright directly, and in so doing it contributes to destabilizing the low incomes of Canadian artists. An example of the revenue that minor creators will soon have to forego is the tens of millions of dollars now paid to authors annually by the education system. From now on, the education system will be able to use our authors’ works without having to pay compensation. Certainly the NDP supports the use of these works for educational purposes, but it believes that this should not be done at the expense of the creators.

Nor does Bill C-11 provide for any compensation for downloading to an iPod. A solution suggested by many, to impose a $2 to $5 levy on iPods and other portable digital players has been dismissed by the government, once again at the expense of creators. Nor does this bill contain any provision in relation to Internet service providers obligating them to pay fees for music downloaded through their networks. The government is simply calling on providers to be partners in the fight against piracy by forcing them to take receipt of copyright violation notices issued by creators and the organizations that manage their rights.

Another controversial point in this bill has to do with digital locks. Under this provision, it will be illegal, for example, for a consumer to break the digital lock installed on a DVD that the consumer has purchased, just to copy it onto a personal computer. That could become particularly problematic when locks are installed on educational material.

Artists do not benefit because they are deprived of millions of dollars in levies, and students do not benefit because they will have trouble accessing the educational materials they need. Certain copyright owners, the big companies, will benefit.

The Copyright Modernization Act gives with one hand and takes away with the other. Even though the bill contains certain concessions for consumers, these are undermined by the government's refusal to compromise when it comes to the most controversial copyright issue in this country, the digital lock.

When it comes to distance education, for example, the provisions in the new bill mean that people living in a remote community will have to burn their class notes 30 days after downloading them. That is not an improvement on the current situation and it is not an appropriate use of the copyright regulations.

In summary, it appears that all efforts to reform the Copyright Act in Canada in recent years have had very little impact on the creation of a balanced system between the rights of creators and those of the public. One only need look at the demands made by the big content owners in the U.S. to see whom this bill will really benefit. It is a valid question: have the Conservatives forsaken Canadians at the expense of copyright interests in the United States?

Recent documents published by WikiLeaks clearly show that the Conservatives have acted against Canada's interests. The documents paint a dismal picture of the Conservatives who have conspired with the Americans in order to force the adoption of copyright legislation similar to that in the United States.

New documents reveal that the government encouraged the United States to put Canada on their piracy watch list in order to pressure Parliament to pass new legislation that would weaken the rights of Canadian consumers.

In the words of the NDP critic for copyright and digital issues, Charlie Angus, “The U.S. Piracy List is supposed to be reserved for—”

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Order, please. I would like to remind the hon. member that it is not appropriate to mention a member's name. She should instead refer to his riding. That is preferable.

The hon. member for Québec has the floor.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry. I was speaking about the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay, who said:

The U.S. Piracy List is supposed to be reserved for countries on the margin of international law. Instead it is being used as a bully tool to undermine Canada's international trade reputation.

If the Conservatives are prepared to use their majority to impose this legislation without amendments, Canadians will be deeply disappointed by a government that would ram through a bill that lacks balance and takes away some rights from Canadian authors and creators.

The NDP believes that it is high time to update the Copyright Act but that Bill C-11 has too many obvious problems. We will therefore work on amending the bill so that it better reflects the interests of Canadians. For that reason we are proposing, among other things, to delete from the copyright modernization bill the clauses that criminalize the removal of digital locks for personal, non-commercial purposes. Furthermore, we support shorter sentences for those found guilty of violating the Copyright Act because this would prevent the excessive recourse to litigation against individuals, a situation that is problematic in the United States.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-11 is written entirely technological neutral and that is important.

The member discussed a few items. I believe she touched a little on the issue of royalties and so forth. We refer to that as an iPod tax, the copying levy that her party endorses.

Part of the problem with the position of the members opposite on this and the reason why digital locks are so important is because storage of music, movies and so forth will not actually be on devices like this anymore. People will not buy them on cassettes, DVDs or CDs. I am sure members have heard of the iCloud that Apple has just launched. I am sure we have seen things like Rogers On Demand, Cogeco On Demand and Shaw On Demand. People just push the button and they have an inventory of movies.

Digital locks are absolutely imperative to be put in place so that material cannot be stolen, so that the rights holder, which is not Rogers or Shaw in most cases, is actually protected and paid for the use of that material.

That is why it is important. It is a business solution.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon Québec, QC

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

I would like to ask him the following: if it is neutral, as he claims, why do more than 80 arts and culture organizations in Quebec and the rest of the country say that the bill is toxic? They say it is “toxic to Canada's digital economy.” And how can he ignore all the economic benefits of the arts and culture?

In addition, as the member for Québec, I can attest to the extent to which all levels of government usually agree. I deplore the fact that the federal government does not currently recognize that investing in culture is a good way to contribute to the economy, which is important right now.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, to learn to write, one has to read the works of the great writers. To learn to play music, one must listen to the performances of the great musicians.

The next generation of artists is in a really special position with technology that is available. It allows artists to immerse themselves in what has come before them and what people in other parts of the world do.

It concerns me a bit that education has not been clearly defined in the exemptions in the legislation. Would my hon. colleague agree with that and does there need to be a more careful definition of education in the legislation?

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, I agree and I thank my colleague for his question and his heartfelt introduction.

Indeed, a number of things do not add up in this bill. The notion of education is very poorly defined. That is why, like my colleagues, I think we must absolutely amend this bill and make some major changes, if not completely take an axe to it. The artistic community has spoken out against this bill.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on her speech and would like to quickly ask her what consequences digital locks would have on the industry.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think that digital locks would have some very serious consequences. They are the key point of the bill. I think there are many other elements like that in Bill C-11 that could cause problems.

Business of the House
Government Orders

October 18th, 2011 / 4:25 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations on the following motion. I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practices of the House, when the House begins proceedings under the provision of Standing Order 53.1 today, no quorum calls, requests for unanimous consent or dilatory motion shall be received by the Speaker and; any member rising to speak during debate may indicate to the Speaker that he or she will be dividing his or her time with another member.