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 copyright.

Topics

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont
Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I have a pretty straightforward question and it probably is just a yes or no answer.

On April 14, 2010, we had a vote in the House of Commons. The vote was in concurrence with the motion from the heritage committee. I will read the motion, which says:

That the Committee recommends that the government amend Part VIII of the Copyright Act so that the definition of “audio recording medium” extends to devices with internal memory, so that the levy on copying music will apply to digital music recorders as well...

That would result in a tax on iPods. Every Conservative member in the House voted no to that and every opposition member, including that member, voted yes.

If that vote was held again today would the member vote the same way, yes or no?

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, what I find so funny about all of this is that he forgets one very important point. The reason why it came to the House was because the Conservative chair of the committee decided it was the right thing to do. As an illustration, for the sake of history, I can say what happened. The member voted to put it into the House. He voted yes to support it. Not only that, he wrote a letter to the minister saying that he supported it. Then when he got in the House, he was told to vote against it. Now he is no longer the chair, which is too bad, because he was—

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

An hon. member

Answer the question, yes or no.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Yes.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite the fact that the title of this bill mentions copyright, which is defined as the rights granted to a creator, I do not think that this bill is good for creators. A creator can be a musician, a singer, an actor or a performer. Creators are not service providers, retailers or industry representatives.

Can the hon. member tell the House whether this bill hurts the interests of creators?

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I believe she is talking about the education exemption. As I mentioned in my speech, it is one of the things that we had. There was a lot of input to us about how the education exemption was causing a lot of concern for many of the authors. We listened to them and we realized that there was an argument back and forth as to how much money was involved, whether it was crippling to the university community or crippling to the authors in order to make a living.

This is why I talked about this multi-step process. Some people believe that the six step process is not sufficient. Some people believe that they should use the three step process, which was endorsed under the Berne convention as a way of dealing with it. It set out some really strict guidelines as to how we would deal with fair dealing and what would be considered to be fair dealing. If we have exemptions for a certain group of people, we should subject it to fair dealing. To do that, we have to put in guidelines by which some of the courts can be led through.

We did receive quite a few concerns about this from authors and the artistic community. I hope that discussion continues in the House.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member was talking about the education provisions of the act. There are six criteria that must be followed. First, before it even gets to that point, there is a two step process. That is the second step. The first step is to determine whether it is fair dealing in the first place. If the hon. member takes the time to study the legislation, as I know he will, and I look forward to serving on the committee with him, he will see that those criteria are sufficient to enable this important exception to go forward. We heard from witness after witness during the testimony who were in favour of moving forward with this part of the legislation.

While I have the opportunity, his party has moved that we withdraw the legislation completely. That is not what we heard from the witnesses. John Manley, a former prominent Liberal member, has spoken to the urgency of getting the legislation passed as quickly as possible.

How can the hon. member possibly justify, as the member for Timmins—James Bay asked, wiping out the legislation altogether after 12 years of work? The hon. member spoke about the 12 years of “bandying about” to get to this point. How in the world could he justify just wiping out the legislation and starting again?

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Because the government did nothing about it, Mr. Speaker. I said in my press conference this morning, and forgive me if I am infringing on copyright here, that there were 167 submission, that the number of changes was zero and that the political lip service was priceless.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure about the answer to the last question. We could sit here and exchange quotes from some individuals who have said positive things about the legislation and members opposite can bring up negative things. We heard 39 hours of testimony before the committee and we had countless consultations prior to the legislation being put forward in the first place.

If we looked comprehensively at all the testimony we heard before our committee, we would note that a balance was struck. Not everybody liked everything they saw. Not everybody did not like everything they saw. However, we heard over and over again that, on balance, it was the best legislation that had come forward.

Even some of the people the opposition quoted very selectively, criticizing certain aspects of the legislation, spoke very favourably of the balance struck and to the importance of getting the legislation passed.

We heard 39 hours of committee testimony and we had all the consultation. We have moved forward with the same bill because we want to continue that discussion around the same legislation. How many more hours do we need before the hon. member will be happy?

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, when it actually works and starts to sink in. I do not know why, but for some reason the government assumes to paint this picture that everybody loves this and thinks it is balanced. I received 2,200 emails in 12 hours. If it were that balanced, I would not get any. What would be the point?

I look at elements of this, like WikiLeaks, which put out something that said the former minister told Americans that he would show this to them before he even tabled it. Who actually has the input here?

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my great pleasure to speak to Bill C-11, because I have a special interest in it. I spent nearly 20 years in the recording industry, which has seen some hard times. In our opinion, there can be no objection to reviewing the Copyright Act. Obviously, today, in 2011, we are lagging behind at the international level in terms of modernizing the law. It is high time it was done. The other major western countries have done it and it is our turn. It is really past time.

We deplore the fact that the bill is a little like Swiss cheese: there are a lot of bubbles, a lot of holes, in terms of protecting rights holders and creators. We are talking about this bill in theoretical terms but, in concrete terms, as my colleague was saying, the way we consume cultural products today is different. Before, we bought a record for $15 or $20, we took it home and we listened to it. While the recording industry has kept up its production rate and budgets have declined slightly—since with technological progress we can now record music more cheaply—it is still a cultural industry. Investors, industrialists and consultants who support a creator invest large amounts of money to make a product that will sell.

We are not talking about a minstrel strumming a lute on the church steps. These are people who have created songs, and other people who saw a business opportunity there and said that everyone is going to want that song or that album and will be prepared to pay a price to buy it and listen to it. What the recording industry has experienced is unparalleled in terms of plummeting revenues.

I will give you a brief overview. The complete operation of producing an album, which includes recording, promotion, video clips, launches and so on, calls for a budget of about $100,000. That is a very ordinary budget in an ordinary recording industry. We are not talking about a huge operation like a Michael Jackson album made before his death, that might have cost $1.5 million to produce. We are talking about an album that would have cost $20,000 or $30,000 or $40,000 and all the associated expenses.

To recover that investment, the companies, the recording industry—and that means jobs for people who work in this field, as I was lucky enough to do—would sell the record for between $15 and $20. Today, with modernization, the Internet, digitization of music and the incredible capacity to create master quality copies, this is no longer the same generation as when we were young. Then, we copied music onto cassettes and there was often more background noise than music. That is no longer the case today, and that is the issue.

If a digital version of a song exists, thousands of copies can be made in a few hours and the rights holder will have been deprived of his due. When people today buy music on the Internet, they sometimes buy the complete album but usually they buy the CD in a store. Those who buy their CDs and their music on the Internet very often take a piecemeal approach, by downloading one, two or three songs at a time. The retail price is $1 or $1.49. That means that the recording industry, as it attempts to recoup its production and marketing costs of approximately $100,000, did so based on a price of $15 to $20 per CD. Nowadays it has to make do with $2 or $3.

I sincerely believe that no other industry has experienced such a drop in revenue in such a short time. We are talking about huge percentages, from $15 or $20 to $3. This is unprecedented. The industry is already on its knees. We must enact legislation now on behalf of the rights holders, so that the situation can be corrected.

Copyright is essential. Allow me to quote the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages who, referring to Canada, stated that the cultural sector contributes twice as much as the forestry industry to our GDP.

The arts and culture sector generates spinoffs of over $46 billion and provides work for over 600,000 people. This is an industry, a sector of the economy, that is extremely important.

There are problems with Bill C-11 in relation to YouTube, the education system and other related areas. The biggest problem, however, has to do with the collective copyright collection system, commonly called private copying.

Earlier, I gave an overview of how we used to consume music. We all know that a decade or so ago, the CD-R hit the marketplace. Using an ordinary home computer, it was possible to copy a disc—ideally, one that had been purchased—and immediately make a copy of it that would be identical from a quality standpoint, with only the graphics missing. This craze led to creators, the rights holders, feeling like they were missing out, and they successfully went about putting in place a compensation system. Compensation is the right word here. The private copying system is a form of compensation for losses incurred as a result of the development of a new technology.

This system, which initially applied to audio cassettes, CD-Rs and DVD-Rs, generated significant amounts of money. In 2008, for instance, the figure was $27.6 million. The following year, the amount raised through this private copying compensation system dropped to $10.8 million and it continues to decline. Why? Certainly there are those among you who have purchased CD-Rs at one time or another, and very few people buy them these days. As far as music consumption is concerned—I am talking about legal consumption in a suitable format—people now copy their music onto a portable digital player, an iPod or an MP3. The format the royalty was based on, in other words the CD-R, has become completely obsolete by the current changes.

That is why the copyright owner lobbies have asked that this private copying compensation system be extended to include portable digital players or iPods. As the hon. member was saying earlier, the members opposite reacted by wearing t-shirts that said No iPod tax. This is great. It is a very good response to the creators who were feeling forgotten, cheated and abandoned.

What can we offer those creators today when Bill C-11 does not address the problem of the private copying system? This is certainly the most important aspect of all. We could talk about exemptions for the likes of YouTube, which is increasingly becoming a competitive alternative to the way music has traditionally been distributed. I keep talking about music because it is an area I am familiar with and also because music was the first victim of this digitization and this new accessibility. In a few years we will have the technology to download feature films very quickly. Some may say that is already possible, but it is still not very common.

The thing about music is that the video for the song being copied takes much longer to download. The problem that music is currently experiencing will very quickly spread to the other cultural media we find on the Internet.

I will stop there for now.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher will have 10 minutes to finish his speech and 10 minutes for questions and comments when the House resumes debate on the motion.

Justice
Statements By Members

October 18th, 2011 / 1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec taxpayers and children are the first innocent victims of the Conservatives' omnibus bill. They are being forced to accept measures that conflict with the approach that has made Quebec a model in the fight against crime—its pride and joy. Plus, they will have to put up millions of dollars to pay for these Conservative measures.

The Minister of Public Safety even said that Quebeckers will have to cut $500 million from health and education to focus on the government's priorities, such as criminalizing teenagers.

The Minister of Justice has made a point of ignoring the repeated demands of Quebec's justice minister, who said, and I quote, “I am disappointed that, despite much correspondence and one meeting, the concerns I raised with you have not been addressed in Bill C-10.”

It is clearly going to be harder and harder to ensure that Quebec is heard. May we soon see Quebec's own criminal code.

Kootenay--Columbia
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

David Wilks Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to give thanks to the people who elected me to represent the great riding of Kootenay—Columbia.

Although I was blessed with a number of volunteers, I would especially like to thank Wilma Croisdale, my campaign manager; Sheryl Stephenson, my official agent; and John Kettle, who was instrumental in fundraising.

The Kootenay—Columbia riding is nestled in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia and is blessed to have a diverse economy which includes Teck coal, the world's second-largest exporter of metallurgical coal, and a number of logging companies which create a vast number of jobs.

My riding boasts four national parks: Kootenay, Yoho, Glacier and Mount Revelstoke. We have world-class ski resorts in Revelstoke, Golden, Invermere and Fernie. Our tourism sector is one of the strongest in Canada.

The Kootenay—Columbia riding is a great example of balancing big industry with nature and recognizing the importance of protecting the environment. I invite everyone to come and visit what we in the Kootenay—Columbia riding believe is one of the greatest places on earth.

Sudbury Food Bank
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to honour the hard work of the people at the Sudbury Food Bank and to congratulate them on the imminent opening of their new warehouse facility.

The first employee food drive in Sudbury took place 24 years ago, launched by Edgar Burton. Although we lost Edgar, today the Sudbury Food Bank's Christmas food drive still bears his name.

The 45 member agencies ensure that every month 14,000 Sudburians have enough food to eat. In 2010, over 400 tons of non-perishable food and hot meals were provided to individuals in need.

On October 25, the food bank will launch its new warehouse facility which will allow the food bank to expand into fresh and frozen foods, as well as streamline its current food distribution. It will also aid individuals across northern Ontario by doubling as the northeastern Ontario distribution centre for the Ontario Association of Food Banks.

Although I dream of the day when food banks are no longer needed, I am glad that, until that point, we have wonderful organizations like the Sudbury Food Bank to support our local communities.