House of Commons Hansard #124 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was copyright.

Topics

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Philip Toone Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member from British Columbia. He definitely raised a lot of interesting points in his remarks. I would like to ask a question about digital locks to gain a better understanding.

He says that artists will benefit from the bill because their rights are going to be protected. But it seems to me that consumers will be at a real disadvantage. I would like him to go a little further and highlight the contrast between the two, so that I can have a better understanding of where he is drawing the line in terms of digital locks.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. I will answer in English, because this topic requires a slightly technical vocabulary.

The digital locks are an important tool for creators and copyright owners to protect their work. Software producers, video game and movie distributors, for example, continue to use digital locks as part of their business model because they wish to protect the significant investment each makes in developing the products. Canadian jobs depend on their ability to make a return on this investment.

In other markets, however, in light of consumer demand, some businesses have chosen not to use those locks. Copyright owners may decide whether to use a digital lock and consumers can then decide whether to buy the product.

The bill would also provide a regulation-making power to allow the circumvention of digital locks in certain cases, for example, where the presence of a digital lock unduly restricted competition in an aftermarket sector.

I hope I have answered the question properly.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, my hon. friend from West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country has underestimated the historic place of his riding in our hearts in the cultural industry, as it is the location of The Beachcombers.

I know he knows whereof he speaks in terms of the cultural industry. That is why I put to him the cultural industry groups, a very long list of them, which included the Canadian Actors' Equity Association, the Songwriters Association of Canada, the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, the Playwrights Guild of Canada. Over 80 of them recognize that the industry represents $46 billion to the Canadian economy and employs over 600,000 people. This industry thinks the current bill is not properly balanced in relation to digital locks.

No one in the House, I do not believe, is suggesting that we do not want to protect the copyright of and the talent and creative energies of our cultural community, but the legislation goes too far in providing digital locks and making any effort to break those locks a violation of the law.

Does my hon. friend from West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country not think we could accept some amendments to the bill?

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Madam Speaker, my neighbour from Saanich—Gulf Islands helps me honour the tremendous creators who reside in the riding I represent, people like Joni Mitchell, Randy Bachman, Sarah McLachlan, some of Canada's top performers, who I have the honour to know.

I believe that after the tremendous amount of consultations, the 70 witnesses who came before committee and the 150 briefs, there is the balance to which the questioner has eluded. In fact, there are many exceptions in the bill. We have exceptions for educational institutions, libraries, archives and museums that can benefit from this bill.

There is a concerted effort to ensure that our creators, our entrepreneurs in the creative industry, are protected so that internationally our wonderful Canadians may be recognized and they can make a living from their art, while others can enjoy the art. There are protections, for example, for people who record TV shows so they will not be afraid of unfair, undue or disproportionate repercussions if they do so.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

May 15th, 2012 / 12:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Don Valley West, ON

Madam Speaker, May 2 marked the first anniversary of the day that Canadians endorsed our government by giving it a majority mandate. With such a clear mandate, we understand that Canadians believe in government aimed directly at job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity.

We have proof that the plan is working. Statistics Canada recently announced that 58,200 net new jobs were created in April, with large gains in the private sector, manufacturing and in full-time positions.

We campaigned on a commitment to provide a strong economy for Canadians, not with extravagant promises, but with the proposals and principles now contained in our economic action plan.

Part of our plan for economic prosperity is Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act. The message from Canadians is clear: Canada needs to pass this legislation. Because of this bill, we will finally bring Canada's copyright laws in line with international standards.

I am proud to support a bill that both recognizes how technologies change the lives of Canadians and supports the industry and consumers. The bill would help Canadians better address the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital age. It would work in concert with other measures to strengthen our digital economy, including $80 million to accelerate digital adoption by small businesses, which was announced in budget 2011, and the significant funding toward innovation and venture capital in budget 2012.

We are also ensuring that Canadians have world-class digital infrastructure through actions like the auction of spectrum for next generation wireless networks and services. We are increasing direct support for business innovation, with $95 million over three years and $40 million per year in ongoing funding to make the Canadian innovation commercialization program permanent.

Copyright reform fits within these innovative measures.

The legislation reflects our understanding of the critical role new technology plays in creating new ways for consumers to purchase and enjoy copyrighted material. That is why we are creating a better framework in which copyright owners can create and protect their content. The legislation would strengthen our ability to compete in the global digital economy and it would protect and create jobs, promote innovation and attract new investment to Canada.

Multiple witnesses have come forward to express support for the bill. They acknowledge that the main goal is about protecting and creating jobs, while stimulating our digital economy and attracting new investment to our knowledge economy and creative industries.

As an example, the Entertainment Software Alliance of Canada said, “We strongly support the principles underlying this bill. This legislation will help provide a framework for the digital marketplace”.

The Motion Picture Association of Canada has said:

A healthy film and television industry means more jobs, a stronger economy, and a greater array of entertainment choices for consumers...We support the Government’s commitment to give copyright owners the tools they need to combat online content theft, and promote creativity, innovation and legitimate business models with the introduction of Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act.

Right holders will finally have stronger legal tools to pursue online pirate sites that facilitate copyright infringement. The amendments would facilitate targeting those who would participate in violating rights of creators so the real criminals could be punished. Another amendment would eliminate the safe harbour for those who would enable the infringement of the rights of authors.

The legislation would also bring our country in line with the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization Internet Treaties, including strong legal protections for digital locks, a new liability for those promoting infringement online and the making available right to ensure control of material over the Internet. We are ensuring that we protect copyright holders and are giving them the ability to defend themselves, while encouraging new ideas whose creativity strengthens our economy.

For example, a website run by an individual committed to wide-scale copyright infringement is truly damaging to rights holders. The person operating that site should face the full consequences of his or her activities. That is why one of the amendments adopted at the committee stage will facilitate targeting those who participate in violating rights of creators on a large scale: it is so that these types of violators can be punished. This bill will finally give more freedom to consumers while enforcing a hard line against organized piracy.

A strong digital economy also requires a connected education sector. As a result of this legislation, libraries, archives and museums will be permitted to make copies of copyrighted material in an alternative format if there is a concern that the original is in a format that is in danger of becoming obsolete.

As well, this bill includes a number of measures that will allow teachers and students to take advantage of digital technologies so that they can use copyrighted material on lessons conducted over the Internet. This will help the continued development of distance learning, which is opening up new educational opportunities for those in rural and remote communities.

These are just some of the measures in the bill that I fully support.

As I mentioned at the beginning of my remarks, this bill is an important step in strengthening our digital economy. As we showed in budget 2012, we are supporting the development of our digital economy through important measures, such as opening the telecom sectors to increase foreign investment and putting new funding toward the IRAP program.

This legislation is another step in the process that I strongly encourage members to support. Canadians have spoken, and we have answered. It is time to stop the delays and move forward with the real copyright reform.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to the member's comments, as I did this morning to the comments of the Minister of Canadian Heritage when he was vigorously defending the need to close debate on this bill because, as he said, there are a number of validators on the record who have said that enough is enough and that this is the right bill. I want to put a couple of comments on the record as well, because I think both members have been very selective in their discussion of this bill.

First I will quote Michael Geist. Everybody here would know him as a renowned technology commentator. He puts it very succinctly when he states:

The foundational principle of the new bill remains that any time a digital lock is used—whether on books, movies, music, or electronic devices—the lock trumps virtually all other rights....[This] means that both the existing fair dealing rights and [Bill C-11's] new rights...all cease to function effectively so long as the rights holder places a digital lock on their content or device.

There are others. I know I do not have time to quote them all, but in the cultural industries, the Writers Guild of Canada, SOCAN and the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic all have serious concerns about the bill.

I wonder whether the member would choose to address even one of them, since in his own comments he said there are only some parts of the bill that he supports.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, clearly this bill has been a long time in coming. This is its third iteration and the third time we have debated it. There has been lots of discussion, debate and committee work around it, including 70 witnesses and 150 submissions.

Clearly, the information has been provided. The opportunity for thought, discussion and debate has come to an end, and today we have a bill that will clearly serve the purpose of this nation as we go forward.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member said that we have had a good lengthy debate. It is interesting that the longer this debate seems to go on, the more the government admits there is a need for more changes, because even the government is bringing in more amendments to the legislation.

My question is related to an earlier question I asked of one of the member's colleagues. It would be wonderful to get some clarification on this point.

I asked the member's colleague this: if one of his constituents goes to a local store, purchases a CD and takes it home, would he or she have the right to put that favourite song, or whatever it might be, onto one or two of his or her own MP3 players, strictly for personal use?

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. I heard him ask that question yesterday, as a matter of fact.

The bill calls for those who clearly intend to circumvent the law to be punished and challenged and dealt with in this situation. I believe the bill implies clearly that if there is no digital lock, there would not be a problem for those who take a CD home to put it on their MP3 or some other device. However, the question is relative to a digital lock, and if it is an intentional circumvention of the law for commercial purposes or for piracy, et cetera, then we have a situation that would definitely call for action by the authorities.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont
Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, in terms of the opposition's comments about the amount of consultation and debate on this particular issue, I would just note that Bill C-32 in the last Parliament and Bill C-11 in this one have had very many hours of debate. We have seen about 180 individual witnesses come before committee and, between the two bills, dozens of hours of committee hearings. I wonder if the hon. member might comment on whether, in his experience in the House, he has seen this level of debate in any other bill.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague knows, I am a new member to the House as of a year ago. In my experience I have not seen this length of review, so I think it is time for the opposition parties to join the government and support this bill.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate being allowed to rise for debate on Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act.

Since 2006, one of our government's goals has been to protect those who seek innovation by creating or evolving new ideas. We have answered the call sent by Canadians for responsible copyright legislation that would protect and help creators, performers and copyright owners or consumers. Our government recognizes how new technologies are changing the lives of many Canadians, and our creative industries deserve a modern understanding of the critical role copyright laws play in protecting and creating jobs in Canada's digital economy. In our fast-moving technological world, it is important that our legislation remain current and provide a better, more efficient way for copyright owners to create and protect their content.

After an attempt to modernize our copyright legislation in 2011, which we could not complete because of the demand from the opposition for an unnecessary election, I am proud to say that we continue to pursue this goal. We are glad that Canadians gave our government a strong majority so that the opposition can no longer disrupt our goal of providing creators with a modern copyright act that is in line with today's digital world.

By reintroducing this bill without change in the fall, our government reiterated its support for a balanced approach to copyright reform, and after hearing more than 70 witnesses at the Bill C-32 committee and almost as many at the Bill C-11 committee, we think that this bill will finally provide a new, modern and up-to-date vision for copyright that has always been shared by our government. Not only would this legislation bring our country on par with international standards; it would also make our country a world leader in terms of copyright reform. For example, I would cite the notice and notice provisions of this bill as truly innovative.

I am also glad to say that multiple witnesses have provided strong support for this bill, acknowledging that our government's main goal is protecting and creating jobs while stimulating our economy and attracting new investment to Canada. As an example, the Canadian Publishers Council said that our government “...demonstrates a clear understanding of the need to amend the current Copyright Act to bring it more in line with our times”.

In this regard, let me say a few words about the proposed amendments to Bill C-11, amendments that speak to the concerns that have been raised and that will bring some clarity and precision to the bill.

For example, in response to the concerns from the CNIB, which provides support to blind and partially-sighted Canadians, we have introduced an amendment for non-profit organizations that limits the legal actions that can be taken against non-profits that mistakenly export abroad an alternate format that is meant for people with visual impairments.

Some non-profit organizations had raised concerns with regard to the fact that they could be discouraged from making use of the exception regarding formats for people with a perceptual disability, because of the related legal liabilities. This clarification will enable these organizations to use the exception without fear of negative consequences.

At this point, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who contributed their briefs and suggestions to Bill C-11.

The intent of the bill is not to punish legitimate organizations that make an honest mistake in good faith, but to protect intellectual property as well as the rights of consumers. It should be noted that copyright holders can always ask for an injunction to bring an end to any violations. This amendment shows our good faith as well as our openness to proposed technical amendments. I would like to repeat that our intent is not to punish those who respect the law.

With this in mind, I would like to mention another amendment that would help to better target those persons who do not obey the law and who abuse the opportunities offered by the Internet. This amendment concerns safe harbour provisions. The amendment would clarify the scope of the legislation and eliminate safe harbours for persons who allow or enable copyright infringement.

Currently, service providers have four areas of exemption regarding enabling offences: caching services, hosting services, telecommunications services and information location tools, such as Google or Yahoo.

The amendment to the bill would eliminate safe harbours for caching and hosting in cases where copyright infringement would be enabled. Safe harbours are not created for criminals who seek to escape the law and abuse the legislation for their own profit. The amendment would clarify this issue.

The amendment would have a positive effect and give copyright holders other means of recourse to protect their works. They have the right to benefit from the results of their efforts.

We have also made an amendment concerning the scope of injunctions in order to clarify the legal issues surrounding search engines. This amendment would address concerns with search engines and possible catch-all injunctions that would be too broad to enforce, such as a court order requiring that a song be completely removed from the Internet.

It is a matter of demonstrating common sense and having realistic expectations of what can be done to fight Internet piracy. Under the provisions of our bill, search engines would not be liable as a result of performing their role as neutral conduits.

Once again, our goal is not to penalize legitimate intermediaries, such as search engines, that provide a valuable service to the users. That is highlighted by this amendment.

This amendment goes hand-in-hand with our desire to recognize the neutral role played by these intermediaries in online activities. This bill is intended to establish a balance between the parties, and this amendment will help establish a reasonable balance for everyone.

For the consumers, we have made another clarification with the amendment concerning access to copies in terms of alternative formats and later viewing. This amendment confirms that personal use refers to the entire household, not just a single individual. We feel this is a matter of common sense. We hope that the bill reflects this common sense, both in its implementation and in its spirit. We must ensure that consumers can take advantage of the content they have purchased at the time and in the format of their choice, while respecting the balance between creators' rights and consumers' rights.

In addition, the wording of the former provisions could suggest that they granted a right to mass-distribute copies, provided they were intended for the recipient's exclusive personal use. This amendment reinforces the language of the act without changing its spirit.

This amendment will also enhance intellectual property protection, while enabling consumers to enjoy their purchases in the comfort of their homes.

Earlier I mentioned that this bill would make Canada a world leader in copyright reform. It is also important to note that we will finally be meeting the standards of the international treaties to which Canada is a signatory.

We have also added an amendment respecting international treaties to clarify the remedies available to copyright holders and to make it clear that they may base a remedy on the treaty of their choice, but not two at the same time.

The purpose of our bill is to provide Canada with a modern intellectual property regime adapted to new technologies. Treaties overlap when copyright is asserted or belongs to countries that are signatories to both treaties. This clarification protects consumers and means they will not have to pay twice for the same service as a result of overlapping international laws.

Once again, we have to do things properly and ensure that the rights of consumers and creators are respected and that our intellectual property regime creates wealth for the future.

It is time to acknowledge that Canadians have spoken in favour of this legislation. It is time to pass the bill.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have been carefully listening to my colleague’s speech.

What comes to my mind when I think of Bill C-11 on copyright modernization is the contrast between creators, artists, musicians and so on and the companies that will certainly benefit from this bill more than the creators. I found it very interesting that, when we put questions on this matter to the Minister of Canadian Heritage in the House, he often responded with quotations. I would like to cite just one:

Our copyright legislation...was adopted by this Parliament....

In fact, the Canadian Recording Industry Association backs our bill. The Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network applauds our bill. The Canadian Film and Television Production Association said that it applauds the government’s copyright reform....

That answer was given on March 13, 2012. I believe it really shows that this bill is unbalanced in that it grants all the protections demanded by the companies. However, creators, craftspeople and musicians have not been quoted in support of the bill.

I would like to hear the government member comment on the fact that the creators themselves do not support this bill and that only the companies support it. At least, that is what the government has shown.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I must point out that this bill is indeed trying to find the essential balance between creators and consumers.

I do not know why the member is just focusing on big business. Many creators of intellectual property are not big business. In fact, they earn their living from the work they do and simply want their copyrighted materials protected.

Of course, we must also find the balance with the consumers, which is exactly what the bill would do.

This bill finds the necessary balance. We need to act, and I encourage the members on the other side to support this bill.

Report Stage
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am working on a brochure and in order to get it right I would like the member to comment on whether what I am about to put out in my brochure is in fact wrong.

My brochure would read that the Prime Minister and the Conservative government believe that if people purchase a music CD at Walmart and it has a digital lock, that they had better not make a copy of any of the songs for personal use because if they do they will be breaking the law and committing a criminal offence.

If this legislation passes, that is what I will be telling my constituents. Am I right or am I wrong about personal use?