House of Commons Hansard #65 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was trade.

Topics

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, different groups of artists have different needs. The needs of consumers and creators are also different, and heaven knows that this bill is far from perfect. I would like my colleague to speak a bit more about the amendments that are required and that should be made to this bill, even though we know that they will probably be rejected.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, wherever the bill has erased the rights of artists to be paid, we want those artists' rights to be restored. That is fundamental. We want clarification on the digital locks language. The issue of distance learning has to be amended so it is reasonable.

As we spoke about earlier, the other element is the issue of the fair dealing provisions, particularly in relation to education. The Supreme Court has given a very clear six-step test to clarify what fair dealing is and what it is not. Anybody who has ever dealt with education will know that the fair dealing provisions are perhaps the most explosive. We would like to clarify fair dealing in education and how it conforms, under this legislation, to the Supreme Court test. Many of the artists' groups and many of the education groups may feel a little better, but unless the government is willing to make some of those changes in language, there are going to be problems.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham
Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the hon. gentleman because this is, I believe, the third time he has had the opportunity to speak to this bill. That is over an hour of time in this House for him alone on this bill, and I am still waiting for some suggestions with respect to how he and the NDP members opposite would help to preserve and protect the thousands of jobs in the video gaming, movie, TV and video industries, not only in Toronto but across this country. We know it is worth billions of dollars in economic activity. We know we have to protect those jobs. If we expect people to continue to invest in this country, we know we have to update our laws so that they reflect the same laws as our international partners.

Because I have not heard it in the over 60 minutes of discussion we have had so far, I wonder if the member could outline some of the changes that he anticipates would help preserve and protect the hundreds of thousands of jobs and the billions of dollars of investment that are relying on an update to our copyright legislation.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will send the hon. member the Hansard, because I think I just spoke to that point. However, if he wants to know what the changes would be, what we would do is bring ourselves in line with our WIPO-compliant partners in terms of article 10 of the WIPO treaty. That is where the New Democratic Party stands on the issue of digital locks.

Earlier the member said he had never heard of an example of a musical CD that had a digital lock. Maybe he is not aware of it, but he could look up the Sony rootkit. Sony put out CDs that had spyware in them so that it could spy on consumers to find out what they were doing with the music. That spyware actually destroyed entire computer systems. Kids bought a CD to listen to some music, and the corporate digital lock destroyed their computer systems. Sony later said, “Sorry; we didn't mean it”, but that is not good enough. We think that when consumers buy a product, they should be able to play the music and back it up without having to worry that the computer is going to be destroyed because of a digital lock that was placed on their musical device.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

December 12th, 2011 / 6 p.m.

NDP

Paulina Ayala Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the head of the Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois, Francis Farley-Chevrier, believes that the new bill socially devalues the work of authors. He said the following:

The Copyright Act encourages those who have chosen this profession by providing them with an income. If we discard this system, we take away recognition. It is not just a question of money. It is a question of placing a value on the work we do.

What does my colleague think of that?

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, as an example, back in the music days of my colleague from Davenport, cable television never paid royalties to musicians because they said that if musicians had a video on cable TV, it was promoting them and they should have their video on there for free. Musicians were expected to pay $30,000, $40,000 or $50,000 for a video, and they never received payment for it. It was not just that they were being ripped off for the money; when they turned on the television and saw their video, they realized they were making money for somebody else and not seeing a dime for it. That was not right, so at that time SOCAN, the artists' rights organization, fought the broadcast industry for years to get a settlement.

It is a fundamental principle that if people create a work and that work is exploited, they should be paid. That is a fundamental principle. If they create a work and nobody buys it, then they can sing it to their family and the family might like the song; however, if it has a commercial value, the creator has a right to be compensated. That is the principle of justice to the creative community.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the bill once more because there are some very important points that we must discuss. I am very pleased that we have more time for this discussion. It is very difficult to follow a colleague such as the member for Timmins—James Bay, who is so well versed in this matter. He spoke eloquently abut a number of points, but I will nevertheless continue to talk about education.

Before saying anything about all this, I want to repeat what has been said many times by my colleagues. It is extremely important to remember that, contrary to what some members opposite have said, this bill is not necessarily black and white. What we are saying is simple but copyright, especially in the digital age and with all the technological changes that have taken place in recent years, is a complex issue.

It is understandable that some questions are more difficult to address, particularly if, like the NDP, you advocate a fair balance between protection of users and the rights of creators. This is the first very important point to stress, and it has been stressed many times already, but it merits repetition. As my colleague said so well, when we talk about the products we export, in Canada and Quebec, culture is a very significant product. It is one of our resources, one of our assets. According to Statistics Canada, in a research report from Laval University, in Quebec alone, cultural production amounted to $9.8 billion, an enormous figure. It is 4.1% of Quebec's GDP. That was in April 2010, and the figures may have changed a little, but clearly this is a very important resource. We strongly agree that it is a resource that must be protected and developed in a way that is fair to everyone, and creators must be remunerated.

On the question of fairness, I want to address the education issue. The last time I had an opportunity to speak to this bill, the hon. parliamentary secretary told me we were scaring students by telling them they were going to have to burn their notes. And yet the first time I heard the words "book burning policy" they did not come from an NDP member or someone trying to scare anyone. They actually came from members of the Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d'université. Those people who work in education came to see myself and other colleagues of mine to convey their concerns to us and tell us that this aspect of the bill was problematic. It is very important to point this out. We are not trying to create a false context around the bill; rather, we are trying to convey the concerns expressed by people in the field. I think it is very important to point that out.

The other aspect I would like to address is the famous term “fair dealing”, which is called “fair use” in the United States. This is a point well worth raising, because the members opposite often say that we want to treat ordinary people like criminals, and so on. And yet that is exactly what they seem to be advocating here. This aspect is missing from Bill C-11, but it exists in the example of our neighbours to the south, in the United States Copyright Act.

There really are specific provisions that limit, for instance, the legal recourse that can be taken against people in certain situations. I am referring to librarians or people who use library services, which are offered to the public, services that, ideally, are funded either partially for fully by governments. Libraries enrich our society considerably. I am convinced that no creator would oppose that and, to my knowledge, none has ever opposed it. This also refers to students and educational uses, to teachers, instructors and so on.

I think those kinds of provisions need to be examined. We heard earlier about the kinds of concrete measures we would be willing to propose. This is just such a measure. We have talked about clauses that would allow for compromise. Once again, without rambling on too much and repeating the excellent points my colleague made, if we compare this to video games, which are at the very heart of this technological revolution in terms of creation in the 21st century, such measures already exist in that field. Some computer games already have provisions in place to prevent pirating: they have digital locks. What is different here is that we fully support these measures—except that what we propose is that the bill provide some degree of protection to someone who is going to use the creation honestly for educational purposes and not punish an honest citizen who uses these creations. This use is not only honest, but it enriches everyone. This use contributes, quite often, to our society and our culture. I think that is exactly the same principle as the American legislation. We are proposing a very practical measure.

I would also like to come back to the issue of fair dealing. It is easy to say that there is a fair dealing clause on education in the bill, but the problem is that there are other clauses and other aspects of the bill that cancel out the fair dealing. Think of the course notes that have to be destroyed, the documents from libraries and inter-library loan materials that have to be destroyed. This is extremely problematic. I mentioned this earlier. I studied in Montreal where there are several universities. There is a great wealth of material in the community. There are anglophone universities and francophone universities. Often, a great way of creating ties between the universities and between the students who attend the different universities is the ability, as a student enrolled in one university, to take advantage of loans from the other universities, digital loans or physical loans. I think that is the type of right that should be protected. It is such a great tool and it is extremely useful. We know very well that not every university has the same specialties and the same expertise. I think it is extremely important to benefit from that.

I will close simply by saying, once again, that we are proposing very concrete measures. We want measures in place to protect honest users, but at the same time, we absolutely are in favour of protecting the creators. We simply want to find a fair balance. It is not black and white. It is truly a very complex issue. We are aware of that. That is why we are calling on the government members to work with us on finding a fair solution that will satisfy everyone and contribute to the wealth of our society.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to follow up on the excellent dissertation my colleague gave because of his expertise in knowing what it is like at the university level in a digital realm.

The questions about the digital lock provisions for university interlibrary loans are essential. As the member said, various places across the country have various expertise in learning. Some are very large institutions, but some are very small. However, the bill would obligate these institutions to have digital locks in place.

Does my hon. colleague think that the bill would impede learning and put unnecessary restrictions on the ability of an education institution to maintain that? Also, with the digital lock provisions, would universities and education institutions that are very risk adverse back off on a number of areas of development altogether?

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, this bill would certainly impede learning. I can even give a concrete example in support of what my colleague and I mentioned earlier. I studied at McGill University, which has students from outside Quebec and even outside Canada in some cases. These students often take a Quebec politics course. Some excellent work has been done at francophone universities like Université de Montréal or Université du Québec à Montréal. Preventing these students from participating not only impedes their education, but it also prevents them from participating in the culture and society that they came to immerse themselves in as students at these universities. So that is a huge problem.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham
Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the member on his second speech on the copyright legislation. He is, of course, availing himself of the extraordinary opportunities we have in the House to debate in the spirit of openness that this government has brought not only to this bill but various pieces of legislation in the House.

I have a quick question. I know we are unlikely to get an answer on anything to do with jobs and the economy, but I wonder if he has contemplated what impact this will have on jobs and the economy in his province if we do not update our copyright legislation. Does he join with me in being frightened that we might lose hundreds of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in investments if we follow the approach of the opposition; that is, delay and frustrate this legislation and not do anything to protect the creators of digital content?

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think it is the complete opposite. We are very aware that there are a lot of jobs in this industry. Most artists are not rolling in cash. There are also the people who support them, such as producers, camera operators or other industry workers. That is exactly what we are saying. We want to protect these jobs, but we also want to protect the economy when we are talking about education. We are asking for a compromise to protect compensation for artists and others working in the industry, but we also want to protect people who want to study and take full advantage of their education to contribute to the economy and find jobs. I completely agree, and that is why we are looking for a better compromise than what is being offered right now.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from Timmins—James Bay asked the same question that I wanted to ask, but I would nevertheless like to ask my hon. colleague from Chambly—Borduas if he kept his course notes. He was a student until very recently and he is very familiar with the university environment. How would he have been personally affected by this bill as it currently stands?

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her question. What is ironic is that I studied political science and I was often told that people study in that field in order to become a politician. In fact, that is not at all the case. I have never met more cynical people than the professors I had. I did keep my course notes. When it comes time to think about a bill, to make comments or to know how I plan to address an issue, my course notes help me a great deal. Since the bill has not yet passed, I can say that without any risk.

Such notes are a very useful tool for our own growth. Furthermore, we can share them with others. I often had friends who were taking political science courses, although that was not their main area of study. I loaned them my course notes to give them a better understanding of the subject. The notes they received in an introductory course, for instance, might be different than those given to a political science student at the university level. It would in fact be a big loss.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

NDP

José Nunez-Melo Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is the second opportunity I have had to rise in this House and speak about Bill C-11. The Minister of Industry has reintroduced former Bill C-32 on copyright modernization, the purpose of which is to make long overdue changes. These changes will adapt the Canadian rules to technological advances, and harmonize them with the current standards.

I have noticed since the start of the session that it is often the ministers and parliamentary secretaries who answer questions. We will not stop reiterating the need to amend this legislation before seeing it pass.

This bill creates new and very powerful anti-circumvention rights for owners of content. These new provisions are backed by fines of over $1 million and sentences of up to 5 years behind bars. They would also create a situation where digital locks would practically trump all other rights. The exceptions do not adequately recognize the rights of creators.

The political issue is actually more of a trend towards meeting the demands of the big owners of foreign content, particularly American content. When will Canadians finally have legislation that meets their needs?

Our party believes that Canadian copyright laws can strike a balance between the right of creators to receive fair compensation for their work and the right of consumers to have reasonable access to content. We are going to review all potential amendments to the bill in order to create a fair royalty system for artists.

This bill grants several new privileges regarding access to content but provides no alternative method of compensation for artists. This will greatly affect artists' ability to make ends meet.

The copyright modernization act contains a number of concessions for consumers. These are undermined by the government's refusal to adopt a position of compromise regarding the most controversial issue at stake in the area of copyright in Canada.

We propose that the clauses that criminalize the removal of digital locks for personal non-commercial reasons be removed from the copyright modernization bill. We support reducing penalties for those found guilty of having breached the Copyright Act.

Our party, the NDP, believes it is high time that the Copyright Act is modernized; however, this bill contains too many blatant problems.

Over 80 organizations from the artistic and cultural sectors in Quebec and the rest of the country maintain that the bill will be toxic to Canada's digital economy.

These organizations caution that, if the government does not amend the copyright modernization act to provide for adequate compensation for the owners of Canadian content, it will lead to a decline in the production of Canadian content and the distribution of that content in Canada and abroad.

The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, SOCAN, thinks that the bill should be amended to facilitate access to creative content using new media, and that a fair balance should be struck. Without that balance, creation of creative content will eventually decline because Canadian creators will no longer be able to make a living from their creations.

A law professor at the University of Ottawa said that the provisions relating to digital locks in Bill C-11 and in its predecessors, Bills C-32 and C-60, might be unconstitutional. He believes there are doubts as to whether Parliament has the necessary authority to legislate in relation to digital locks. That is an issue.

Similarly, even if there is an economic issue, it does not seem to fall under federal jurisdiction on trade and commerce, and consequently it falls under provincial jurisdiction. It is also by no means clear whether the federal government has the power to implement international treaties that would justify enacting the bill as it is proposed.

In general, the broader the proposed provisions, the more remote they are from federal jurisdiction and the more they encroach on provincial powers. At minimum, certain aspects of this issue affect the sphere of provincial powers. All of this suggests that the attorneys general and other provincial decision-makers should be actively involved in the discussion.

As for consumers, the "no compromise" provisions grant unprecedented powers to rights owners, which supersede all other rights. If Bill C-11 is enacted, it could mean that we will no longer have access to content for which we have already paid, and we will have no right or recourse. It is draconian and unacceptable to ask students to destroy course notes within 30 days of when the courses end, as this bill proposes.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would ask the member to join me in appealing to the parliamentary secretary responsible for the bill to get a very simple statement. I wonder if the parliamentary secretary would be prepared to guarantee on behalf of the government that individuals who wanted to purchase copies of music would not have to worry about the lock situation. I wonder if he would be prepared to give that guarantee today.

Does the member agree that this would be a wonderful question on which to get a yes or no answer from the parliamentary secretary?