House of Commons Hansard #141 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was copyright.

Topics

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Madam Speaker, first, we have to be very careful. Our American neighbours have their own interests at heart, and we have to respect that. In this case, it is clear that the Americans have had a major influence on the Conservative government.

Diplomatic cables recently revealed information showing that some parts of the Conservative bill were drafted to address concerns expressed by the American industry rather than issues of interest to Canadians. That is what is going on.

We have responsibilities here as Canadian lawmakers. We have to protect our own creative sector. Quebec, for example, has world-famous producers, filmmakers and writers.

We have to protect our own interests. I am not here to criticize American society, which has to protect its own interests. Still, it is outrageous that this bill has been influenced by so much pressure from the United States.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, one issue in the bill is of direct concern to people in my riding and across Alberta. We have a wonderful university called Athabasca University where everybody learns online. Students need to access materials online. The bill would digitally lock material, which would self-destruct within five days, and the course materials would have to be destroyed after no more than 30 days.

Could the hon. member speak to that? Does he think there should be accommodation? We want to protect creators. I have been an academic. We value the work of writers, but at the same time we want to try to encourage the people, particularly in aboriginal communities and isolated rural communities, to beef up their skills.

Surely there should be greater provisions to support those people who make an effort to further their education. They should be able to access that information for a longer time period.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Madam Speaker, when I first read these provisions in the bill, I was reminded of the beginning of the famous Mission Impossible series of films, in which the Mission Impossible person is asked to take on a mission, if he agrees to do so, at the end of which, once he agrees, the tape self-destructs in 30 seconds.

As a former university teacher, that is just not how learning works. Young people today use information of this kind that is available online and elsewhere and they learn in learning blocks. They often have to return to foundational learning blocks to build on them to make progress, particularly in our trade sector.

Information, when it comes to trade skills, learning skills that build one on the other to provide a good workforce for our Canadian economy, it is just not realistic to ask them to destroy material in that kind of timeline.

Again, it is not steeped in reality and perhaps not even steeped in the real interests of Canadians.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

June 15th, 2012 / 1 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Madam Speaker, if there is time left, I will split my time with the hon. member for Brampton—Springdale.

I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act. I am proud to say that our government is moving ahead with copyright modernization legislation that addresses the challenges and opportunities of the Internet and other digital technologies, and will bring Canada's copyright laws up to international standards.

I would like to thank the hon. members of the legislative committee. We all sat together and worked hard in studying the bill. The amendments we adopted at the committee have strongly enhanced this bill.

Before I discuss the copyright modernization act, I would like to emphasize that until we pass this legislation, we will be stuck with a copyright law and regimen that are long and overdue for reform.

The last time Canada's Copyright Act was substantively updated was in 1997. That was 15 years ago. Back then, VCRs and CDs were the norm. Words like “blog”, “tweet”, “iPad”, “WiFi” and “app” were not part of Canada's everyday vocabulary.

Since then, the Internet has radically transformed the way in which Canadians produce and access copyrighted material. Apps for mobile devices continually improve our access to content. Tablet devices allow readers to access e-books, e-magazines and other content. It seems like every day there is something newer, faster or better out there for creators and consumers.

We need to catch up and keep up with the rapid pace of technological change that touches upon all of our lives. The fact is that while Canadian businesses and consumers are making use of all kinds of new and innovative technologies, our copyright laws have simply not kept pace. An update is drastically needed. That is why we are modernizing the Copyright Act to bring Canada's copyright laws into the digital age.

We are taking a common sense approach to this modernization. We are taking a balanced approach that considers how Canadians create and use content, an approach that gives Canadians and Canadian creators, the innovators the tools they need to protect their investments. It is an approach that is responsive to the ever-evolving technological environment, I would like to stress, it is an approach that protects and helps create jobs, promotes innovation and attracts new investment to Canada. In short, we are taking an approach to copyright modernization that is going to help us succeed in a digital economy.

The challenge in modernizing any copyright law is striking just the right balance between the needs and interests of the various users, creators and intermediaries. We believe we have this balance just right.

Bill C-11 would give Canadian creators the tools they need to remain creative, innovative and competitive internationally. It contains a number of important provisions that would help Canada's creators reach new markets. It would also help them roll out new business models.

One way we will do this is by allowing creators to benefit from the full range of rights and protections that are established in the World Intellectual Property Organization Internet treaties, better known as WIPO. These treaties represent an international consensus on the standard of copyright protection, which is needed to respond to the challenges and opportunities of the Internet and other digital technologies. Implementing these rights will bring Canada in line with its G8 partners and most of the economies for the OECD. In short, implementing these rights will allow Canada's creators to compete on the global stage.

Beyond implementing the rights of the WIPO treaties, Bill C-11 would continue a number of measures that would help legitimate online businesses flourish and challenge illegitimate ones. For example, Bill C-11 introduces a new civil liability for those who enable online piracy. It does this by supplementing the existing provisions of the Copyright Act with new tools that make liability for enabling online piracy even clearer. I would note that this measure has been enhanced by the amendments that were adopted by the legislative committee studying Bill C-11. Thanks to the work of this committee, the bill clearly targets those who enable online copyright infringement.

Bill C-11 also ensures that Canadian Internet service providers will play a key role in curtailing online infringement. Canadian Internet service providers have developed a practice in which they forward a notice to their subscriber when a rights holder notifies the ISP that one of their subscribers has allegedly infringed upon their copyright. This practice is known as “notice and notice”. It is a Canadian solution to a worldwide problem.

Bill C-11 would formalize this notice and notice practice into law. Again, the committee that was studying Bill C-11 adopted an amendment that would improve the clarity of this provision. I would like to thank my colleagues on the committee for their hard work to ensure the effectiveness of the bill.

Let me emphasize that all of these measures, along with many others in the bill, would give creators the rights and protections they need to flourish in the digital economy of today and tomorrow.

Because Bill C-11 is about balance, it also includes a number of copyright exceptions. These exceptions allow Canadian consumers to legally benefit from digital technology. They serve the public interest and are responsive to the challenges and opportunities of the digital age.

There are a couple of exceptions in the bill. In particular, there are the exceptions that recognize the incredible potential that technology offers to Canadian educational institutions and students.

As an 18 year experienced educator, I can say that this copyright legislation will make massive improvements in the ability of teachers to instruct their students. It would allow teachers to connect with students in remote communities across the country through technology and enhanced learning opportunities. This would open the door for digital learning. It would enable students in rural and remote communities to access the same lessons as those in metropolitan centres. Furthermore, Bill C-11 would allow educators to make use of publicly available material from the Internet in their teaching activities and it would allow teachers to enjoy the flexibility to use copyrighted materials, together with innovative new classroom technologies such as smart boards.

Let me emphasize that these exceptions would contribute to an enriched educational experience for our students. Let me also emphasize that these educational exceptions are complemented by a number of other exceptions that legitimize many everyday activities for Canadian consumers in the digital age. For instance, the bill would give consumers the flexibility to copy legitimately acquired content, such as songs, to devices such as smart phones and MP3 players.

These exceptions are a key part of the government's approach to copyright modernization, an approach that is fair, balanced and relevant to today's technological world. In today's global economy, Canada must keep pace with the world as it races forward. Bill C-11 would help put us in the winning position in this global economy. It would contribute to an environment that fosters creativity, innovation and economic growth.

However, Let us not forget that we will have none of this until we pass this legislation.

The committee studying the bill has now completed its work. It has listened to Canadians, has reviewed the bill, has amended the bill and now we need to pass the bill. We need to complete our work on copyright modernization. I invite my colleagues to contribute to the swift passage of this legislation so we can bring Canada's copyright laws into the digital age.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, a great number of Canadians would be offended with the government's legislation and what it proposes to do. It is interesting how the government wants to make criminals out of so many members of our population.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Yukon, YT

Like the long gun registry.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

This is much more severe than that.

The government is proposing, through this legislation, to make it illegal for people to take a music disc and transfer it to their personal iPads or MP3 players, even though they purchased that disc from a music store. Many advocates have said this is the case. The government is telling 15 or 16-year-old students that they are not allowed to do this and if they do, they are committing a crime.

Why has the government neglected the consumer in advancing this bill?

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Madam Speaker, what the hon. member across the way is talking about is digital locks because his party does not support digital locks. Anyone who has ever downloaded a movie or video from iTunes, or a song, knows that we need digital locks to enable the companies to sell and get profits from their goods. That is how—

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please. I would like to ask for some order while the hon. member has the floor to allow him to speak.

The hon. member for Cumberland.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Madam Speaker, I appreciate your intervention.

We are talking about digital locks, and that is how companies are going to make money and how creators get money for the objects they create. For example, when we download a movie from iTunes we have options. One option may be to purchase the movie and another may be to rent it. To do that, the company has to have a digital lock so it can have us either purchase it for $20 or rent it for $6. We have to be able to control the technology so the companies that are producing this, hiring people and creating jobs, can make a profit. That is also how creators of content make money. All we would do is set up a legal process so that companies can make money and creators can get paid.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to get into this digital lock issue a bit more. Granted there is the case, as my colleague pointed out, where we do have options of renting or buying, but there is an issue around sharing, and people believe there should be an ability to share.

However, my question about digital locks regards education. My colleague brought forward the idea of having an amendment so that people in education, particularly those with certain disabilities, would be able to access content. Right now in the bill, there would be a limit on that and the digital lock, as was explained by my colleague, is not a lock in itself but it is an algorithm. So after the content is used once, the student would have to get rid of it and could be charged. It is the same with libraries.

Does the member not think it would be a reasonable amendment to accommodate those who need to use this for education, particularly those who need it because of a disability?

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Madam Speaker, we have to make sure that those in our society who have disabilities have access to content the same as people who are hearing, seeing, who are not disabled. That is why we have some of these exceptions in the bill to support them. What we are asking is, if people break a digital lock in order to get content, particularly if they are disabled, that the provision would be that they repair that lock, so they could not just share it with other people, and the creator or the company would not get paid.

This legislation has gotten a lot of support from the education community. Paul Davidson, the president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada says:

This bill reflects a fair balance between the interests of creators and users of copyrighted works and is a positive step forward for university communities across Canada. It clarifies the important questions and will help ensure students and learners have access to the content they need, including digital material.

It modernizes the educational industry so that we have the ability for creators and companies to make money, but also the students have the ability to get digital material.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

It being 1:15, pursuant to an order made Tuesday, May 15, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of third reading stage of the bill now before the House.

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.