House of Commons Hansard #76 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was copyright.

Topics

Second Reading
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Madam Speaker, I look forward to working with the hon. colleague on the copyright committee, the legislative committee to study this legislation.

The bill is all about finding the balance between the creators of copyright material and Canadian consumers. We want to ensure that we have a regime that rewards creators for their work. Right now the existing legislation does not deal with these new technologies in a way that would allow creators to be compensated fairly for their work. We want to ensure that we create an environment where consumers are paying for the music they listen to, that they are paying for the movies they watch, that they are not watching pirated copies, and that they are paying for the books they choose to read. We want to create an environment where that exists. That environment is not protected right now to the extent that it should be. The bill is all about that.

Second Reading
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Dany Morin Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Madam Speaker, I will tell it like it is. The Conservative member is trying to sell us on Bill C-11. However, recent information published by WikiLeaks indicates that the main American copyright holders probably colluded with our dear Conservative government with regard to the Copyright Act.

The most disturbing WikiLeaks revelation is that a key staff member of the Industry minister at the time, now the President of the Treasury Board, encouraged the United States to put Canada on their piracy watch list in order to pressure the Canadian Parliament into passing copyright legislation that would weaken the rights of Canadian consumers.

What does the Conservative member have to say in his defence?

Second Reading
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Madam Speaker, this legislation is among the most consulted on pieces of legislation that I have seen in the six years I have been a member of Parliament, consulted on with Canadians from coast to coast.

We ran two town halls in Montreal and Toronto. We had nine round tables across the country: Vancouver, Calgary, Gatineau, Winnipeg, Halifax, Edmonton, Quebec City, Toronto and Peterborough. We had 8,000 formal submissions and 2,000 comments posted on an online forum by Canadians. We had hours of speech. I believe altogether right now we have had 27 hours and 5 minutes of speeches within the House of Commons on the legislation.

The bill addresses the needs expressed by Canadians. I do not know whether the hon. member will be on the committee, but he will have the opportunity to work, through his colleagues in the NDP, to have his voice represented in the committee hearings if he wants to, and we will have further hearings to hear from witnesses who we have not heard from before.

Rest assured that the bill reflects the interests of Canadians as they have been expressed. We urge the quick passing of the bill in the interests of all Canadians.

Second Reading
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Brampton—Springdale, ON

Madam Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House to speak in support of the copyright modernization act. The amendment proposed in the bill will not only lay the foundation for the modernization of the Copyright Act, but will also respond to the future demands as technologies continue to converge at breakneck speed.

The bill represents a common-sense approach that considers how Canadians create and use content. The bill, which was introduced in September 2011, is our government's response to the commitment made in the last Speech from the Throne, which we delivered in June of last year.

Members may recall that in 2010 our government first introduced the copyright modernization act. It was introduced following national consultations on copyright reform that were held in 2009.

Thousands of Canadians, businesses and stakeholder organizations shared their ideas on how best to adopt Canada's copyright framework for the digital age. The remarkable response to the consultation demonstrated the importance of copyright in the daily lives of Canadians. It also highlighted its importance to the digital economy and Canada's global competitiveness.

Our government has listened to Canadians and responded. Canadians told us they wanted a technology-neutral framework that would stand the test of time. We have responded with a bill which introduces technological neutrality. This means the law is adaptable to a constantly evolving technology environment which ensures appropriate protections for the creators. The bill provides technology-neutral exceptions for the private use of copyrighted work. This includes exceptions for time shifting, format shifting and making backup copies. These proposed exceptions are not limited to specific formats or technologies.

Canadians also told us they wanted fair treatment for copyright infringement. We have responded with a bill that significantly reduces existing penalties in the Copyright Act for non-commercial infringements. It also introduces proportionality as a factor for the courts to consider in awarding damages.

The bill also provides strong new tools to target those who profit from infringement. For instance, there are new provisions to target online enablers, those who wilfully enable the large-scale infringement of copyright.

Also, the bill's notice and notice regime ensures that Internet service providers have a part to play in curbing piracy and requires them to notify their subscriber when copyright owners detect infringing activity.

Artists and creators told us they should be fairly compensated for their creative works and the investment they have made. Copyright owners told us they needed legal tools to sustain business models in a digital environment. We have responded with a bill that provides new rights, protections and tools to encourage new business models and provide certainty for artists and creators to engage in the global digital marketplace with confidence.

The bill would implements the rights and protections needed to meet our WIPO obligations.

Copyright owners also told us that some online and digital business models depended on strong protections for digital locks. We have responded with a bill that proposes protections for digital locks. This will give businesses that choose to use them the certainty they need to roll out new products and services.

In addition, Canadians told us that they wanted to make reasonable use of content that they had legally acquired. We have responded with a bill that would legitimize many commonplace private and non-commercial uses of copyrighted material. Many of these uses are currently not allowed or were not clearly dealt with in the Copyright Act. These uses include posting match-ups on the Web or time-shifting television programs.

We also heard from Canadians that they wanted more flexibility to use copyrighted material. We have responded with a bill that expands the existing uses allowed as fair dealing, adding education, parody and satire. This reconfirms our government's commitment to education and responding to the needs of educational institutions.

Teachers and students told us that they needed greater freedom to use copyrighted material together with new classroom technologies such as SMART Boards. We responded with new exceptions that recognize the incredible potential that technology offers Canadian students.

We also recognize that copyright law needs to reflect the needs of perceptually disabled individuals. That is why this bill permits Canadians with perceptual disabilities to adapt legally acquired copyrighted material to a format that they can easily use.

Finally, Canada's innovative firms told us that they needed clear copyright rules in order to roll out novel business models. We have responded by proposing new exceptions for computer program innovators as well as limitations on liability for Internet service providers and search engines. We are also clarifying that making temporary technical reproduction of copyright material would be acceptable.

The copyright modernization act recognizes the everyday use people make of technology, both new and old, and provides a clearer set of rules. These rules would better reflect the interests of all Canadians, including those who hold copyrights.

The proposed reforms to Canada's Copyright Act support creativity and innovation in several fundamental ways. This legislation would provide Canadian copyright owners with a solid framework that would better allow them to respond to piracy of all kinds. It would allow them to roll out new business models that support the creative process and to do so with a new degree of certainty.

At the same time, the bill would also foster new and creative uses of digital technologies to provide our educators and researchers with increased access to the vast area of copyrighted material. It would do this while also allowing them to develop evermore efficient ways to conduct their academic research, deliver course material and lessons, and contribute to Canadian innovation.

Canadians are very proud of the high profile that we currently enjoy on the international cultural scene. In order to maintain that enviable position, we heard that we need amendments to our copyright regime that will position us for success both at home and abroad. I am proud to say that our government's response to what Canadians told us would help ensures that creativity and innovation continue to contribute to our lively Canadian cultural life and Canada's economic future.

Second Reading
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault Sherbrooke, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be able to ask the hon. member a question.

In our opinion, the bill is not at all balanced, as the Conservatives have been claiming in a number of their speeches. Creators will lose millions of dollars. It is true. It has been proven. I would like to hear a little bit more of what the hon. member has to say about this. We know that artists are among the lowest paid workers in Canada. On average, they earn $12,900 a year.

Can the hon. member confirm today, here in this House, that, once this bill is passed, artists will not lose a single penny and that they will receive as much income as before? I would like him to provide some reassurance in this regard.

Second Reading
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Brampton—Springdale, ON

Madam Speaker, I would encourage my hon. colleague to read at the complete bill very carefully. It does protect the interests of creators and artists.

The government undertook a huge consultation, which was probably one of the most detailed, with Canadians from all walks of life, including artists, creators, businesses and individuals who would be affected.

The bill would help in the current digital environment, such as the Web and the new technology that is being introduced on a daily basis. I would encourage the member to read the bill.

Second Reading
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Madam Speaker, from the Liberal Party's perspective, the success of our artists has long been attributed to a regulatory regime that has recognized the creator, whether that be visual artists, creative artists, writers, singers or songwriters. There has always been the ability for remuneration.

We continue to hear concerns from creators as to whether this legislation would, in fact, hang them out to dry. Are we making it more difficult for them to earn a living and continue to pursue a dream and a career? Could the member offer some kind of assurance that those provisions are within this legislation?

Second Reading
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Brampton—Springdale, ON

Madam Speaker, this bill was put together after huge consultations were conducted throughout the country. There were hundreds of written submissions, round tables, town halls, et cetera. Taking everything into consideration, I feel that the bill serves the purpose and needs of everyone.

For example, I have a constituent who is a photographer in my riding. He is very concerned about being able to protect his property and his livelihood. This bill would help individuals like my constituent.

Second Reading
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé Saint-Lambert, QC

Madam Speaker, I have a stack of emails about Bill C-11, sent to me by my constituents in Saint-Lambert. They told me about their concerns with Bill C-11 on copyright modernization. The large number of email messages supports my belief that Bill C-11 deals with an important issue which, unfortunately, is not being given its due because the government has moved time allocation.

Here is an example of what the people of Saint-Lambert have to say:

Although the bill [C-11] seems more flexible than previous attempts to reform copyright, this bill is, by definition, inadequate because of the very strict anti-circumvention provisions it contains. As a Canadian, I am both worried and disappointed to see the extent to which my rights are easily violated by means of the universal and absolute protection of digital locks envisaged by the legislation.

Copyright involves the competing interests of a particularly broad range of Canadians.

One of the issues raised by Bill C-11 on copyright modernization is knowing how to ensure that the interests at stake are balanced: the interests of the artistic community, business community, consumers, universities and scientific research entities, new technology and media communities, and the public, generally referred to as the general interest.

I would like to remind the House that one of the objectives of Bill C-11 on copyright modernization is to ensure that Canada can ratify the WIPO Internet treaties and strengthen protection for works and other aspects of copyright by recognizing technical protection measures.

We should remember that the WIPO copyright treaty and world performances and phonograms treaty, collectively known as the WIPO Internet treaties, were signed by Canada in 1997. However, to date, these treaties have not become part of Canada's legal system because they have not been ratified. The treaty rules adopted by the World Intellectual Property Organization to deal with ongoing technological advances have never been integrated into Canadian law. From this perspective, Bill C-11 is a decisive step towards integrating Internet treaty law into Canadian law. This integration will come with the ratification of the WIPO Internet treaties.

The government says that it introduced Bill C-11 to change current copyright legislation to adapt some of the rules to keep up with technological advances and harmonize them with standards adopted by the World Intellectual Property Organization. Before getting into the problems with Bill C-11, I would like to reiterate a number of facts that demonstrate the imbalance within our society between the significant contribution of the arts and culture sector to the national economy and the paltry earnings of artists, the driving force behind our arts sector.

I will show how Bill C-11 is not a solution to that imbalance and will do nothing to improve our artists' standard of living. This bill confirms what the NDP feared: this government is more interested in pleasing big U.S. content owners than in improving our artists' standard of living.

The facts speak volumes. The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists estimates that the arts and culture industries in Canada contribute $85 billion a year to our economy and provide 1.1 million jobs, employing approximately 6% of Canadian workers. These industries and the jobs that depend on them can survive only in an environment in which intellectual property is protected.

Despite the major contribution of these industries, the average income of an artist in Canada is just $12,900 per year according to 2009-10 figures. A 2008 Conference Board of Canada report found that the cultural sector generated some $25 billion in tax revenue in 2007. That is three times more than the $7.9 billion invested in culture by all levels of government in 2007.

The federal government invested $3.7 billion in arts and culture in 2007-08, just 1.6% of the government's total spending.

Statistics Canada's Survey of Household Spending found that, in 2008, Canadians spent $1.4 billion on attending live artistic performances, or more than twice as much as on attending sporting events, spending $0.65 billion on those.

The least we can expect from the copyright modernization bill is that it not jeopardize the contribution that our arts and culture industry makes to the Canadian economy. Members of the NDP are of the opinion that Bill C-11 hurts the interests of creators and consumers. The bill will take millions of dollars in revenue away from creators and erode the market. The long and complex list of exceptions does not adequately recognize creators' rights. In fact, these exceptions create new ways for consumers to access protected content without simultaneously creating new avenues through which to compensate creators for the use of their work.

Bill C-11 does not adequately protect the ability of people to post content submitted or produced by users themselves, even if it were easy to collectively authorize this.

Bill C-11 creates an artificial distinction between copying for private use and reproducing for private use.

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 consumers will no longer have access to content for which they have already paid, and which they have every right to use. For example, in the case of distance education, it is draconian and unacceptable to ask students to destroy course notes within 30 days of when the courses end, as this bill proposes.

Even if the Conservative government continues to say that the proposed changes to the Copyright Act are in the best interests of Canadian consumers, the reality is that the Conservatives have the concerns of major copyright holders in mind. The real winners with Bill C-11 are the major film studios and record companies, and not Canadian consumers. That is why the digital lock provision in the bill trumps almost all the other rights, enabling record companies and film studios to protect their dwindling ability to generate huge profits.

Recent information published by WikiLeaks also demonstrates that the main copyright owners in the United States conspired with the Conservatives regarding Canada's Copyright Act. Bill C-11 does not propose adding new digital storage media to the existing private copying system, but rather protects this system in its current form. However, the Conservatives strongly opposed the NDP's proposal to extend the private copying exception to include digital audio recorders. The Conservatives repeatedly described this as an iPod tax that could cost Canadian consumers up to $75 per device. Nothing could be further from the truth, since the scope of the levies would be determined by the Canadian Copyright Board, a government agency under the supervision of the industry minister.

Here is another thing: the Conservatives' copyright bill, Bill C-11, would ultimately increase the existing levies on cassettes, CDs and DVDs. In the words of the Conservatives, we might say this is a tax on these items. There are other causes for concern in Bill C-11. The bill indeed proposes, in uncompromising provisions, new anti-circumvention rights that seem especially powerful for owners of content, who are not necessarily the creators or developers of the content. These anti-circumvention rights prevent access to copyright protected works.

These new provisions are strengthened by fines of over $1 million and sentences of five years in prison. A further provision prohibits access to information protected by a digital lock, such as a digital watermark. This would lead to a situation whereby digital locks would take precedence over virtually all other rights, including the fair dealing rights of students and journalists.

Internet law experts who have read the bill under review say that some of the exceptions in the bill do not seem to adequately recognize the rights of creators in that they make it easy for consumers to access copyright protected content.

In closing, NDP members agree with the people from Saint-Lambert who wrote:

...it is in the best interest of Canadian consumers and creators alike to amend Bill C-11 to clearly link the act of circumvention to infringement, remove the all-encompassing ban on circumvention tools and establish a new TPM labelling provision.

Second Reading
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

When we resume this debate, we will have five minutes for questions and comments.

The House resumed from February 1 consideration of the motion that Bill C-306, An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (political affiliation), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Parliament of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

6 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

It being 6:00 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading of Bill C-306 under private member's business.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #123

Parliament of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion lost.

It being 6:42 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

The House resumed from November 17, 2011, consideration of the motion that Bill C-309, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (concealment of identity), be read the second time and referred to a committee.