House of Commons Hansard #123 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was rights.

Topics

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I take exception to what the member has just put on the record. It is important to note, and for Canadians to realize, that the government has put into place time allocation, in the last year, more than any other government. It has set precedent. It constantly brings in time allocation and tries to justify it as if the opposition is obstructing legislation from being able to proceed in a timely fashion.

My question is for the member. If the government had a House leader who had the ability to negotiate, would he not think that would be a far better way of dealing with legislation like that we have today, dealing with critical issues such as digital locks for the protection of copyright and so forth, but that by limiting debate, the government is preventing members of Parliament from really being able to contribute?

Many of those members of Parliament have just been elected, just over a year ago, and never had the opportunity to participate in any debate on this particular bill.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, I think every parliamentarian in this place who wanted to speak on this bill has had an opportunity to speak, and I would go a little bit further than that, respectfully, to say most members have spoken three or four times on this particular piece of legislation.

If they could not explain it the first time they were in opposition to it, they took another crack at it, then another crack at it, and then another crack at it. You have spoken three or four times on this. You have not been able to convince your constituents and cannot even convince yourselves that it is bad legislation.

This is just delay, and that is all it is. There is nothing wrong with having debate in this place. Debate is important. That is what Parliament is built upon, but delay is a totally different thing.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

I would remind the hon. member to direct comments through the Chair as opposed to other members.

Questions and comments. The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. parliamentary secretary a question. In contrast to his claim that opposition members are merely seeking to delay, I have put forward substantive amendments at report stage. They have been drawn from the testimony that has been placed.

As we heard earlier from the hon. House leader, there have been a lot of experts who have testified. The vast majority of experts who have looked at the digital lock provisions do not find them consistent, as the hon. parliamentary secretary suggested, with our trading partners, but in fact far more restrictive than is necessary to meet the rules of the WIPO convention.

I ask the hon. parliamentary secretary if he would not consider amendments to improve this legislation.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, my understanding of the way the digital lock technology works is that it is there to protect the copyrighted material, to make sure it cannot be copied and it cannot be used by somebody for the wrong purposes.

It is not that we do not want to have a free and open society, but we do want to have rules-based trading, and we do want to catch up to the rest of our G8 country member trading partners.

Quite frankly, this argument reminds me a lot of an interesting statistic I am going to throw out, because I do believe that our artists and our creators and people who are investing in technology in this country can compete with anyone in the world. We heard this debate in the original free trade agreement with the United States, about Canadian wines. Canadian wines were a fledgling industry at that time. Today that industry is worth—

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Order, please. I am sure there is more to that story. Unfortunately we have run out of time. We have to move on and resume debate.

The hon. member for Rivière-du-Nord.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

May 14th, 2012 / 6:05 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking the witnesses who appeared before the Legislative Committee on Bill C-11.

We heard from approximately 50 witnesses during our study of Bill C-11. Prior to that, 75 witnesses appeared before the committee studying Bill C-32. Well over 100 witnesses shared their views and their concerns about modernizing copyright.

Official opposition MPs worked closely with DAMIC, which I would like to thank, and with the Canadian Conference of the Arts, to draft 70 amendments on thorny issues.

Copyright holder associations, associations of writers, composers, creators, artists, photographers and directors shared their concerns and suggested amendments. This is a compilation of the amendments they suggested.

During our work in committee, we were unable to present all 70 amendments, so we selected the amendments that were most likely to create a win-win situation for everyone, to pass the legislative committee's test and to be agreed to by both the governing party and the opposition.

Unfortunately, the Conservative government rejected all of the amendments we presented, which were not even all the amendments or concerns suggested by the industry and the creators. It as if this hundred or so people representing a variety of organizations came to a legislative committee to describe the problems and propose solutions, but none of these solutions were acceptable to the government.

I must say that this was the first time I had participated in this process, and I found it rather sad, because copyright—the rights of authors—is the very foundation of the ability to innovate and create in the arts, culture and literature. Such a denial of the realities described to the committee may leave us speechless.

With this bill, the government is introducing some 40 exceptions to the Copyright Act. These exceptions are contrary to the spirit of the international conventions in this field, and in particular the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.

The Berne Convention established a three-step test to determine whether or not a work is used fairly and whether it corresponds to the proper use of a work with regard to copyright.

First, the use of the work must not conflict with the normal exploitation of the work; second, it must not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author; third, there may be an exception only if the reproduction of the work is limited to special cases.

So here we are faced with about 40 exceptions that could have been special cases, but that seem to be generalized cases of uses that are not, or are no longer, covered by the Copyright Act.

I will use an example that has raised a lot of questions: fair dealing in the education sector. Clearly, when the Copyright Act was created, television, the Web, Twitter, Facebook and the Internet did not exist. The act has had to be adapted, as things have evolved, to take into account technological innovation. Today, the Web has truly transformed the notion of the use of a work, as that notion has historically been understood.

This is particularly striking in the area of education, with the arrival of electronic boards and websites that teachers use to give their classes. Here is an example that I already gave at a committee meeting, but that serves its purpose: imagine that I am an author and that I am writing a book on the Conservatives' tendency to want to limit democracy. That is the title of my book. A teacher gives a class on the evolution of politics in Canada and puts my text, which he found in my collected works, on his website. He asks his students to go and consult the text. As things stand, if the teacher photocopies my text on the Conservatives' abuse of power, as the author I receive a small sum of money, and agreements are honoured, particularly in Quebec with respect to Copibec.

In future, if the teacher posts my text on his website and students consult it, I will not receive a cent. If, on his website, the teacher decides for educational purposes to add an excerpt from a film, which is protected by copyright, he will not have to pay for copyright. If he adds music or a song by Richard Desjardins to his website for the purposes of fair dealing in education, he will not have to pay Richard Desjardins.

So here we are in a new situation where the law allows for widespread use of the products that creators and the industry produce, with no financial compensation. That tears down a model of copyright we are familiar with. This is not a continuation, it is a departure. The Conservatives want to modernize the Copyright Act, but they are breaking from it. They had the opportunity, by modernizing the Copyright Act, to extend the private copying regime to devices that are used to make copies of creative content—texts, music and the rest—but they have refused to expand the private copying system.

For the people watching us, the private copying system is relatively simple and was established when people started to make copies of music and films on videocassette. It made sure that part of the money from the sale of a CD or a videocassette went into a fund to support artists, creators and rights holders. The government could have expanded that system to cover all devices used in the digital era, but it was completely focused on connecting royalties with a tax. It intentionally tried to confuse people and fudge the issue.

I have only a minute left. That is unbelievable—how can I finish in that time? This is a bill in which the government could have simplified things and made things clearer. Instead, it is a bill that will create extreme complications. Everything is going to get settled in the courts. There is the matter of contracts. Contracts are under provincial jurisdiction. Will the government be able to keep these provisions in the legislation? Education is also under provincial jurisdiction. Does the bill infringe on provincial powers? That is a good question. There are also obligations under the Berne Convention. All of the clauses of this bill may be litigated in the courts and be justified by lawyers. It is going to cost authors, composers and creators enormous amounts of money when they have to prove the damage they have suffered. I think the Conservatives could have made it easy and they have intentionally complicated things to please their friends. I am eager to take questions.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I sat with my hon. colleague on the committee. We heard witness after witness. The Conservatives keep talking about all the witnesses we heard, but they ignored every one of them. Sure we had lots of testimony. They ignored it. They said that they were willing to work with everyone, but ignored everyone.

Then the member for South Shore—St. Margaret's said that it was not legitimate in the House for us to debate because they were tired of debating. The issue is that he has accused us. When we have tried to get simple answers about the attack on artists' royalties, the attack on students, on the need to modernize copyright, our willingness to work, the Conservative member has said that there is no legitimacy to debate.

I would like to ask my hon. colleague about a bigger principle than the issue of copyright, and that is the importance of democratic debate and a government that continues to attack the witnesses, to misrepresent the facts, to attack the opposition and to cut down legitimate debate. Our job is to debate, especially when a bill is as wrong as this copyright bill.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the government thought it could limit debate by limiting the time available for debate, it was wrong, because the debate may not go on in this House but it will continue in court for many years. I think a golden opportunity has been missed.

I was speaking earlier about royalties. In this bill, there could have been something about resale royalties for visual artists who create works that they may sell for $1,000 or $2,000. If the work is sold for $500,000 on the market 15 years later, part of that sale price could have gone to the creator of that work. This provision was not even discussed by the Conservatives.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham
Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I will ask another question of member of the opposition. At some point in time those members do not feel it is necessary to talk about the truth when it comes to this bill or other bills before the House. They talk about limiting debate, but the reality is the NDP have recycled the same speeches among the same members of their caucus over and over on this legislation. The same members have spoken, sometimes two, three or four times on this.

I have two questions. Why do the NDP members talk down our artists, just like they talk down our natural resources, our Canadian armed forces and our economy? Why will they not for once put the interests of the Canadian economy ahead of their interest to try to make it on this side of the House? Canadians will never let them be on this side of the House. That I can guarantee.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not claim I can answer all of my hon. friend's questions.

Speaking practically, as soon as this bill is passed, artists and creators across Canada will lose $21 million in mechanical royalties in the first year. That is a small amount if we consider Canada's total artistic, cultural and industrial output, but for the artists who received this money in 5¢ and 10¢ increments, these were amounts that helped them pay their bills and motivated them to keep writing and singing.

The CHUM broadcast group told us that, because of this bill, broadcasters would no longer be paying the mechanical royalties, because they would be able to make a copy that would be valid for 30 days and, when the 30 days were over, make another copy of the copy. Thus, the mechanical royalties that now go to the artists or other rights holders would no longer be paid.

We have continued to talk about the provisions in the bill because they hinder and jeopardize the work of hundreds and thousands of artists in Canada. We will keep on speaking out against the bill.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Hillyer Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have carefully studied this bill. I have consulted with constituent, stakeholders and my fellow legislators and I have consulted carefully with members of the committee who studied the bill. After this research and consulting with stakeholders and people in my riding, I am happy to speak in support of Bill C-11.

I am proud that our government kept its promise to introduce this bill.

This is important legislation that would update Canada's copyright law so it would be responsible in the digital age. Copyright matters to Canadians from all walks of life. Whether they are creators or users of that copyrighted material, Canadians understand that copyright impacts their daily lives whether at work, at play or at school. They also recognize the importance of copyright in the digital economy and Canada's global competitiveness. The bill therefore reflects a common sense approach that addresses all these issues. It does so by taking a balanced approach to copyright modernization.

Given all these different interests in copyright modernization, there has been a lot of debate about the bill. This important legislation has been reviewed and studied in committee under two different Parliaments. These committees heard from dozens and dozens of individuals and organizations and they listened to these stakeholders. These included representatives of creator groups, high-tech businesses, consumer groups, publishers, broadcasters, educators, artists, telecommunications companies. As well, they received many written submissions from the general public. All these perspectives helped guide the current committee as it completed its review of the copyright modernization act.

In Bill C-11, the government has proposed a balanced approach to copyright modernization. This approach balances the needs of creators and users. Furthermore, this approach brings Canada's copyright laws into the 21st century and positions our country for success in the years to come. At the same time, the committee recognized that some tweaks, amendments and fixes were in order and it adopted a number of amendments. These amendments added clarity to certain provisions of the bill, improved our ability to implement the bill and improved fairness for users and producers.

I will speak now about some of these important amendments.

As members know, the proposals in Bill C-11 will help ensure that Canadians are able to enjoy their legally obtained copyrighted material when and how they want it. It does this through several measures that facilitate the use of copyrighted material for private use.

During the committee process, members heard that there was a lack of clarity about these private purposes that were being referred to in the bill. Accordingly, the committee adopted amendments that clarified the exceptions that would apply for private purposes, to ensure it referred to the individuals and not to all their friends to whom they wanted to give their privately obtained material. These amendments address the concerns about lack of clarity and we believe Canadians will see this is fair and that they will be better served by more precision and predictability.

Bill C-11 responds to the challenges presented by online copyright infringement. Many, but not all, of the concerns that I hear about the bill express a lament that people will be unable to legally steal copyrighted material anymore online and this is a bit disturbing for some people. The committee recognized the importance of putting in place measures to address online piracy. However, it recognized that the wording of the initial bill created confusion about its scope. Therefore, the committee supported changes to the bill to address this as well.

With these changes, our government is now sending an even clearer message that enabling online copyright infringement is not acceptable. Our government recognizes the significant harm illegal file sharing inflicts upon online businesses and software developers in Canada.

Bill C-11 would promote innovation in many ways, including through exceptions for activities related to computer programmer interoperability, encryption research and security testing of computers, networks and systems. However, there was concern that hackers could hide behind these exceptions to protect themselves from litigation. Therefore, the committee responded to this concern by adopting an amendment to ensure that Bill C-11 would not inadvertently protect unethical hackers who would seek to exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems and mobile devices.

With this amendment, Bill C-11 would ensure that innovators are still afforded the freedom needed to keep thinking about the future. At the same time, it would ensure that those who intend to take advantage of Canadian ingenuity are legally pursued. In short, the amendment would allow the bill to achieve its goals.

I mentioned that many of the concerns I have been hearing about the bill are based on a desire to continue to obtain copyrighted material and the notion that because it is in digital form, it is not stealing.

A lot of the concerns are based on misinformation, or misunderstanding which is based on misinformation which is often blatantly provided. A lot of the concerns raised, for example, are about students having to burn their notes at the end of the semester. Of course this is not true.

Basically the bill would bring us into the digital age.

Right now, if students are sitting in a real classroom and the professor shows a movie clip, they are not able to take the movie home and keep it. That is the only kind of thing that students are not able to keep if they are online students, things which in the real physical world they are not allowed to keep. That is all it refers to.

It is the same for digital locks. A lot of the concerns about digital locks would not be a concern if they were locking actual material or actual merchandise. It is similar to saying, “Well, he didn't actually rob me, but he did break into my store”. That is what digital locks refers to. We think that it makes sense. Most Canadians understand the necessity to protect private property, including intellectual property.

In today's world, technology is evolving at breakneck speed. Bill C-11 does not just take aim at current issues or issues that are 15 years old. It is forward looking and responsive. It would help ensure that Canadians' copyright laws are flexible enough to evolve as technology evolves.

Everyone knows that our copyright law has not been updated for 15 years. It is woefully out of date. Moving forward, we are committed to ensuring that the Copyright Act remains responsive to the reality of today and the days to come. That is why the bill includes an automatic review process every five years to ensure the Copyright Act remains responsive to the changing digital environment.

There is a desire to get the copyright law right, but we know that as the years go by, the demands will change, as will the necessities, and therefore, a review of the process is built in.

After all that we have heard, after all the discussions we have had, it is time to move forward with copyright modernization.

Bill C-11 would balance the interests of all Canadians who are touched by Canada's copyright law. With that balance in mind, Bill C-11 would offer a range of benefits to all Canadians, including new rights for Canadian creators and greater protections for the incentive to create. It would include changes that would legitimize the everyday activities for ordinary Canadians. A lot of the concerns about the limits on digital copying, et cetera, would actually allow for more than the current law allows for.

Furthermore, the benefits would include clear copyright rules to encourage innovation and the sharing of ideas online.

Last but not least, there are more options for educators, not fewer.

Clearly, this is good news for all Canadians, artists, businesspeople, teachers, students and families. Canadians deserve a copyright regime that would allow them to fully participate with confidence in the digital world. With Bill C-11 our government would deliver these benefits.

I invite hon. members of the House to join our government to support the bill, which would effectively modernize Canada's copyright law and protect the interests of all Canadians.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:30 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the fact that the MP spoke to the bill itself. Today we have heard Conservative members speak to other bills and speak generally about Bill C-38, such as the member for Nipissing—Timiskaming or the member for Oak Ridges—Markham, and lecture us about not telling the truth.

My question is simple and is directed to the member for Oak Ridges—Markham. Conservatives talked about the government creating jobs directly through this legislation. How many jobs are going to be created through Bill C-11?

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Hillyer Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member addressed the question to an MP other than myself, but I will answer it anyway.

Obviously, when a government sets up provisions that allow for a free market, and protects the ability for people to produce and enjoy the fruits of their intellectual property, we do not know the exact number that will result from a free market decision. However, we do know that when we do not protect those intellectual property rights, for example, if we do not protect the rights of software producers to protect their material, they will take their business elsewhere where they have protection.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, if one of the member's constituents were to purchase a CD and then take that CD home and it happened to have been digitally locked, should his constituent have the ability to put his favourite song from the CD onto an MP3 player? From a consumer point of view, should he have the right to do that, given that he has already purchased that song?