An Act to amend the Copyright Act

This bill was last introduced in the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in September 2008.

Sponsor

Jim Prentice  Conservative

Status

Not active, as of June 12, 2008
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Copyright Act in order to

(a) update the rights and protections of copyright owners to better address the Internet, in line with international standards;

(b) clarify the liability of Internet service providers;

(c) permit certain uses for educational and research purposes of Internet and other digital technologies to facilitate technology-enhanced learning, inter-library loans, the delivery of educational material and access to publicly available material on the Internet;

(d) permit certain uses of copyright material for private purposes; and

(e) amend provisions of the Act relating to photographs to give photographers the same rights as other creators.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Motions in AmendmentCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 14th, 2012 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud today to rise on behalf of the New Democratic Party at this stage of Bill C-11 and as we are dealing with the amendments. There is probably not an issue I have spoken to more than the issue of copyright.

Since 2004, when Jack Layton was the new leader, we have been identifying the need to modernize Canada's Copyright Act. For the New Democratic Party, it is a fundamental pillar, creating a modern 21st century digital economy. We understand how having good copyright is essential for the creation of artists, for ensuring that we have a good and solid Canadian industry for arts and creation but also for innovation and that we can use this to leverage ourselves internationally.

I listened to the Minister of Canadian Heritage when he talked about the openness of the government. I think the reality will show it is a bit different. The government's first bill, Bill C-61, was literally a dog's breakfast. It died the day the government brought it forward because it was such a mishmash and it was so poorly thought out.

The government then brought out the following bill that ended becoming Bill C-11. There were elements about the bill that were much improved over the previous legislation and, for us, we came at this issue to improve the bill. We had heard from many groups that felt that the bill was still fundamentally flawed and could not be supported. However, our position was that we would rather have copyright than go back to square one, that we needed to find a mechanism to update the copyright regime to provide security for Canadian industry, for Canadian artists and for Canadian consumers.

We set out to work with the government but there were a number of serious flaws with the bill that needed to be amended. My hon. colleague for the Conservatives said that this was not an ideological issue. I agree with him. I think this is about making good public policy. The amendments that we brought forward were addressing the serious shortcomings in the bill.

When we talk about copyright, the term has been defined by English common law that “copyright” is the right to make a copy. Under French law it is “droit d'auteur”, the right of the author. These are fundamental principles. The right of the author. The right of the author to remuneration. The right of whoever is making the copy to remuneration. That is the fundamental principle of copyright.

Now it is not an exclusive right. It is not a property right. It is not something that a person just owns, because it is also a public right. Parliaments going back hundreds of years decided that there was a balance between the right of the person who creates the work and the right of citizens to participate in that work. Sometimes the participation in that work is how they take those ideas and change them. This is how art and culture is created. It is a balancing act.

However, what we cannot do at any point is to take a right that existed and erase that right to favour someone else. We cannot say, “You were able to receive remuneration for this part of your right as an author but we don't think that's really a good idea any more”. That is an undermining of the principle of copyright.

How does this all play out n terms of the digital realm that we are in?

There are elements of the bill that we supported. We supported bringing Canada into compliance with WIPO countries. We supported the moral rights of artists. For many years our artist communities have been asking for the moral right to have a say over their work.

Even with the government's mash-up provisions, which garnered some attention, we liked the idea of not criminalizing people for creating all these new elements in the Internet realm, things that we would not even have been able to imagine 15 years ago in copyright law. However, we said that there needed to be a moral right element as well to ensure that what was being created in the new format was not impacting the commercial value in the old.

There are about five clear areas where the government has absolutely failed to listen and failed to move forward.

One is, as my hon. colleague from Davenport talked about, the deliberate decision to create a loophole on the mechanical royalties so that a certain industry does not end up having to pay copyright. We cannot create a loophole so that people do not pay what they are obligated to pay. However, we heard again and again from the Conservative members on committee that they were creating this loophole because they did not think that artists should get paid. That is not what legislation should be used for. We either strike legislation that gives the artist the right to be paid but we do not create a loophole. We heard from the radio industry again and again saying that it was unfair to create this loophole because now it would need to exercise this loophole. It wanted it gone altogether.

That is $20 million erased right off the table for artists. We remain deeply opposed to that.

In terms of the technological protection measures, our colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands pointed to a whole series of very narrow technical exceptions that her party is bringing forth.

Our overall principle is simple. We support the ability of new industries to use technological protection measures to protect their right to create a market. However, and this is under the WIPO treaty, those technological protection measures do not usurp the legal rights that already exist under legislation. We cannot have two tiers of rights. We cannot have a set of rights in the paper, analog world and a lower set of rights in the digital world. However, the government says again and again, if people do not like it, they should not buy the product, as though it would allow a corporate interest to define the rights that are defined by Parliament.

Rights for exemptions under the breaking of a technological protection measure would be for study, for satire, for research, for innovation. These are very clear, straightforward things, for a purpose that a person has a legal right to access.

This brings me to the third issue, that of people with perceptual disabilities, students who are up against some of the most onerous difficulties in getting an education. Under this bill, they would only be allowed to impair the technology protection measure “if they do not unduly damage it”, as though the government thinks a technological protection measure is some kind of lock, which is okay for an individual to pick and go in, but the individual cannot leave that lock open. We are talking about a complicated piece of software, a code. For a student who is hard of hearing or blind, this provision should have been very simple. Students with perceptual disabilities are not breaking the law to make the print bigger on their Kindle so that they can participate in class.

That is an issue of fundamental fairness. We would not, by allowing that, destroy the market for books or film. Yet students with perceptual disabilities are unfairly implicated to defend this black and white world view the Conservatives have. They talk about copyright being a balancing act. It is a balancing act, but to have a balancing act, we have to understand that there are some nuances, some play.

The other area which deeply concerned us is the impact on education. We will not get into the issues of what is under fair dealing and how that should be remunerated, because that is something that is continually fought in the courts and at the Copyright Board. In the transfer of information that people are using, we have an opportunity in a country as big as Canada to transmit library data, for example, but under the bill, we would be allowed to have the library information for five days and then it somehow would have to disappear in the air. Maybe we would have to burn it, or a technological protection measure would have to be placed on it.

I do not know who thought up that provision. Obviously they have nothing to do with education. For example, I want to get the memoirs of old Mrs. O'Grady who lived in Red Deer and wrote about what it was like to homestead in 1900. The memoirs are in a little library in Alberta and I am studying in Nova Scotia. Now, the library makes a photocopy and ships it to me and I have it for a month to study. That seems fair. However, if the library made a PDF and sent it to me, I would have it for five days and I would have to magically make it go away. That does not make sense. Who does any research within five days?

For legal research or medical research, the fact is that we have great universities and small high schools. Information is being transferred back and forth. Then we have this provision that would give us five days' use. It just does not make sense.

We have shown a willingness. All our amendments were reasonable. The government refused to deal with them. At the end of the day we will not support the bill because it is an unfair attack on the rights of artists and it unfairly impinges on the ability of education and the development of new business models.

We remain willing to work with the government, but it will have to show a little more of what it calls openness when we are talking about moving forward the digital strategy.

February 29th, 2012 / 4:25 p.m.
See context

Counsel, Canadian Consumer Initiative

John Lawford

I think I'll say the opposite and say that consumers are up against TPMs every day. They use their iTunes and they realize that they can't put it on more than five devices because that's what iTunes says they can do with it. They are very familiar with the fact that you can't copy a DVD without breaking a lock, that it's difficult, that you have to go and hunt for software to do so. So I think they are familiar with them.

How do we know whether that's the consumer position? Well, we work in this field every day. We saw the submissions that were made in the consultation between Bill C-61 and Bill C-32. The consumer comments in that, which came straight from the public, we thought were very much in line with the position we've taken today. We haven't had the money to do a survey of consumers on this. We're small organizations with limited budgets.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

October 18th, 2011 / 11 a.m.
See context

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, I am very honoured to rise on behalf of the New Democratic Party today representing the people of the great region of Timmins—James Bay. It is my honour every day to serve them, respect their issues as constituents and bring their concerns into this venerable House of debate and legislation.

Copyright is a crucial issue for Canadians. We need to move forward with a regime of copyright reform that will bring Canada into the 21st century.

The word “copyright”, the right to make a copy, was created out of English common law. I like the alternate emphasis in French law, which is “le droit d'auteur”, the right of the author. These are both very similar perspectives, but there is a different balance in the equilibrium of it. It respects an interesting balance of how we develop culture within Canada in terms of the right to make a copy. Who has the right to make a copy and profit from it? That is a “copy right” that goes back to the book wars of the 1700s and 1800s in England as to who actually could control a work and the right of authors to be remunerated for their work and to have some say as to how their work is exploited.

This is a debate that went on long before the digital age and the Internet. The balance of the right to make a copy is not a property right. It has been argued over the years, and copyright lobbyists today will talk about their property and their right to protect their property. They will say they want to put a lock on the door to keep people from going in or to make them pay to go in, and that it is their property.

However, it is not a piece of property. Creativity is not a piece of personal property. It has been defined in Parliament and the courts.

I refer back to the 1841 debates where Lord Macaulay, who was a writer himself who had been ripped off and plagiarized many times over the years, fought within the English Parliament to separate the idea that it was personal property that copyright was created to protect. Macaulay at that time imitated much of the modern debate. He even talked about the pirates of that generation, the “knaves who take the bread out of the mouths of deserving men”, the people who would unfairly infringe on the copyright of the author and not pay for it as they should.

At the same time, he also called copyright an evil. It is interesting that he said that. He called it a necessary evil. He said that copyright should only exist for a period to ensure the author was paid, but it could not be used to interfere with the larger development of society. He said that the creation of ideas is not something that can be compartmentalized: that when a work is created, it is brought into a larger frame. Parliamentarians around the world have been trying to find the balance between people's right of access to new ideas and the right of remuneration of the creator. Those are the two fundamental balances, and they are the balanced principles that the New Democratic Party has articulated throughout these debates for the last number of years. The two fundamental principles in the digital age are the same as they were back in the 1800s in the book wars: ease of access and the right to remuneration.

We talk about le droit d'auteur and copyright, but this bill does not deal with either of those rights. It is about corporate right, which is different from copyright. The fundamental problems with this bill are the provisions on digital locks, which I will get to in a moment, and the direct attack on the collective licensing regime that has existed for artists in Canada for the last number of decades. The right of artists to have remuneration for their copies is under direct attack in point after point in this bill. I will go through the areas wherein the right of artists to be paid is being taken away and replaced by a false right, which is the right to lock down content.

The Conservatives are good about locks. They understand prisons and locks. We heard the minister say the lock will restore the market. I spent many years in the music industry and I never met an artist could feed his or her family on a lock. They feed their families on the right they have as artists to be remunerated through their mechanical royalties, television rights and book rights, and they fight very hard for mechanical royalties. It is a small amount of return for their efforts, but that return is crucial, so when the government comes along and would strike out, as it does in this bill, the mechanical royalty rights that have been guaranteed under the Copyright Board of Canada, it is depriving artists of the millions of dollars that actually make it possible to carry on the works.

There is no balance there, and this is what we need to restore a good copyright regime in Canada: a balance of the rights of artists and the rights of access.

The New Democratic Party has spoken out time after time in this House on the need for a long-term digital strategy so that Canadians can fully participate as digital citizens in a digital public commons. A public commons is a place where people, not just from Canada but from around the world, can exchange ideas and art.

It is certainly fraught with many problems. We have seen that with downloading and with piracy, but it is essential for cultural development in the 21st century that Canada have a long-term digital strategy. We in the New Democratic Party see the need to codify net neutrality so that the large telecom giants and BDUs are not deciding for us what kind of content we can access.

We see establishing a national benchmark for broadband access, including in this latest spectrum auction. What provisions are there to ensure that the regions of rural Quebec and northern Alberta are given the same chance to develop in a digital economy as downtown Montreal or Vancouver? A broadband strategy that looks at the totality of our country is essential. This is the new national dream that we need to be pushing. We have heard dead silence over on the government benches in terms of a digital strategy for broadband, but for the New Democratic Party it is essential. We want to see within the programs of the Canadian government support for the enhancement of digital cultural products, because more products are moving away from the old models. Those old models worked well for us in the 1970s, but this is 2011, and we need to move toward that.

The other crucial element, which we have asked for again and again, is a copyright reform that will address the needs of Canadian consumers, artists and students in a digital realm.

Does this bill do that? No. In its present form, it does not.

What we need to do is to restore the balance. As it stands now, we cannot support this bill, but we are willing to work with the Conservative government to get this bill to committee. If we can make the vital technical changes to ensure that balance, then we are more than willing to bring our efforts as a party and to work with the government to ensure that this bill restores the balance.

I will grant that the government made efforts in Bill C-61, which was a dog's breakfast. Bill C-61 died as soon as it was born because it was the ugliest child of the backroom lobbyists, and they could never sell that publicly. Bill C-32 shows that it is obvious the Conservatives heard there were problems with Bill C-61, but we are not there yet. We have to see whether or not the government is willing to move forward.

I would like to talk about some of the major problems with this bill. There are three areas that are fundamentally flawed: the issue of the attack on collective licensing and the removal of artists' rights to be remunerated for their work, the issue of education, and the issue of digital locks.

I asked my hon. colleague, the heritage minister, about the fundamental problem with the education provisions, which is if students in Fort Albany on the James Bay coast want to take a college course, they would be obliged to burn their class notes after 30 days. As well, college professors who were teaching long-distance education courses to students in northern Canada would have to destroy all their class notes after 30 days because that is an infringement on copyright.

That requirement would mean the creation of a modern book-burning regime. As well, we would see the creation of a two-tier set of rights. There is one set of rights in the analog and paper world that would allow students going to school in Toronto to keep their class notes. Those class notes are important, because year after year students keep them to build a body of work towards getting their degree. However, students on a northern reserve trying to get long-distance learning do not have that same set of rights. They have a lesser set of rights.

I was absolutely shocked to hear from my hon. colleague, the heritage minister, where this crazy idea of modern book-burning had come from, this idea that after 30 days students would not have the right to their own class notes. He said it had come from the ministers of education.

I have met with the ministers of education many times, as well as people throughout the education sector, and I have never heard anyone say that the best idea for the digital development of Canadians is to make kids or adults going back to school burn their notes after 30 days.

That provision is unacceptable. It is backward thinking and it is needless. It is not protecting any business model, but it would have a major detrimental effect, so in terms of education, that provision has to go.

In terms of the digital locks, there is an important right of creators to protect their work. We can think of the amazing work of the gaming industry in Canada, particularly in Montreal, and the millions of dollars that have been invested in creating the games that people all over the world play. We want to make sure those products are not ripped off in their entirety and that business model made to disappear, so there is a provision for digital locks to protect those works.

However, the digital lock cannot override the rights that Parliament guarantees.

This legislation is going to create certain rights. An example is the right to extract the work for satire, parody, or political commentary. We all support that right, yet if there is a digital lock, we would not have that right. We have the right to access a work and move it into a new format; we are told we can do that, but if there is a digital lock on it, we cannot.

My colleague, the heritage minister, said that if we do not like the lock, then we do not have to buy the product. That is kind of a bullish way of talking. I wonder if this guy has lived in the digital world at all. How many times do people buy a product in a store? They will get it online, so if we make restrictive provisions with digital locks, people will just bypass them. That is problematic.

It is important that Canadians believe in the copyright regime, because the copyright regime is fundamental to creating a strong economy and a strong creative community. However, I would say there is not a six-year-old kid in this country who does not know how to break a digital lock, and people would break them with impunity. Should they be criminalized for that? I do not think so.

We need to look at why Canada is putting restrictive digital lock provisions in place. Under the U.S. DMCA, which is the most backward-looking copyright legislation on the planet, even the Americans have recognized the right to extract certain works.

I will give an example to show just how boneheaded the digital lock provisions are. If a journalist on the evening news wanted to show an excerpt from a movie that was being discussed or debated, the journalist would not be able to show that excerpt because he or she would have to break the digital lock to do it. The journalist would have to show a picture of the screen. Can anyone explain to me how having a shot of the screen somehow protects the copyright and the artist when a journalist is trying to extract it for a program?

It is the same with the documentary film producers. The documentary film community is very concerned about the digital lock provisions, because they would impede their ability to extract, which is their legal right under the bill. They have all those legal rights, but if a digital lock is placed on it, they would no longer have those rights.

The government is saying that the legislation of Canada should allow U.S. multinational corporate interests to decide what rights we have. If they decide we have no rights, then we have no rights. It does not matter what the bill says or what the House of Commons says; the government is saying that it would hand over all those rights to corporate interests. That is fundamentally wrong, and it is flawed.

It is also flawed in terms of our obligations under the WIPO treaties. We are signatories to international conventions about intellectual property and we can look at how other countries have dealt with the digital lock provisions. In particular, as I said earlier, sections 10 and 11 of the WIPO copyright treaty states clearly that limitations to technological protection measures may be supported as long as they “do not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work”. That is within the WIPO treaty.

I remember that my Conservative colleagues used to always say that they had to put the digital lock provisions on to be WIPO compliant. However, WIPO itself is saying that countries could decide what those exemptions and limitations are, the limitations being the technological protection measures and the exemptions being the rights that consumers and students should be able to employ.

All those rights are erased under this, so it actually puts us at a disadvantage in comparison to many of our European competitors, which have much more nuanced provisions when it comes to the digital lock provisions.

As it stands now, we have asked a fairly straightforward question on whether the government would be willing to work with us to amend the digital lock provisions to ensure that the normal rights that Canadians should legally be able to access would not be overridden by corporate rights. It has said no. Unless the digital lock provisions change, the New Democratic Party will not support the bill because it is not balanced.

We need to change the education provisions. We need to change the digital lock provisions. We also need to change the issue that the bill, time and time again, attacks the existing collective royalty rights of Canadian artists and that will not build the kind of cultural regime that we need in our country.

We have come through some of the most bizarre copyright wars of recent memory. In the United States we have seen the $30,000 to $50,000-plus lawsuits against kids. The large Sony, Warner, EMI companies are going after kids who download Hannah Montana songs, hitting them up with million dollar lawsuits. We have seen what is called the John Doe mass lawsuits, extending across the United States and moving into Canada, if individuals downloaded the movie Hurt Locker. Mass emails are being sent, suing people based on their IP addresses.

That model of attacking consumers is probably the most dead-end business model on the planet. I was so pleased to hear Canadian artists, all the great Canadian groups that came together under the Creative Music Coalition, say that they did not sue their fans, that their fans were what made them survive. The American model of suing kids, grandmothers and even dead people for copyright infringement is a dead-end model.

We have heard all this talk about piracy and the pirate bays. It is interesting that the very first pirate bay was in Los Angeles. We think Hollywood is the natural place to make movies, but it is not. Why, in God's name, when the vast majority of the U.S. population lives on the eastern seaboard, would filmmakers go to the dessert outside Hollywood to make films? It was because they were escaping the copyright rules of the day. They could not make movies in the eastern United States because Edison controlled the copyright on the camera. However, there was not the same copyright rules in California, so Hollywood was the original pirate bay.

It went on through the years when the VHS came out. Jack Valenti, the defender of the Hollywood industry, called the VHS the Boston strangler of movies and begged Congress to shut it down, to make it illegal because VHS was a threat.

The big pirate company at that time was Sony, which is suing people all over the planet for corporate infringement now, because it had created the VHS player with the record button.

At that time there was a big corporate fight and everybody said that the VHS would destroy Hollywood. However, as you know, Madam Speaker, and you are very young but you were probably right in your prime when the VHS came out, people started to rent movies, something they would never have thought about before because they would go to the theatre. Now they were able to rent movies, so this pirate activity, which Hollywood tried to shut down, became such a lucrative new business that it did not have to bother releasing movies to theatres. It could just release it to VHS and eventually on to DVD.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

October 18th, 2011 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to be here with the Minister of Industry. I should also certainly give a great deal of thanks to the President of the Treasury Board for the work that he did on Bill C-32, which was last Parliament's version of Bill C-11, which we are debating today.

As the Minister of Industry said, the bill contains a number of provisions that Canadians, I think, will welcome and are welcoming. The bill contains provisions that will provide the ability of copyright owners to control the uses of their works to fight online piracy. This is about individual creators and creative industries, like the video game industry, the software industry, the movie industry, and others. It is having the tools to protect their art, their businesses and their jobs.

For example, the bill includes provisions to protect the technological protection measures and authorizes copyright holders to sue those who enable copyright infringement through such means as illegal peer-to-peer file sharing sites. Our government knows that the best way to deal with online copyright violation is to target those who enable this crime and profit from it.

More specifically, Bill C-11 introduces a new definition of civil liability for those who knowingly enable online copyright violation. Online piracy takes revenues away from creators and reduces the incentive to create. This measure sends a clear message that Canada is prohibiting piracy sites and giving copyright holders the tools to protect their activities. What is more, the bill also introduces new provisions to stop those who develop and sell tools and services for getting around technological protection measures.

Canada is among the first jurisdictions in the world, if not the first, to provide its copyright legislation with this very important tool to fight online piracy. At the same time, we are taking steps to ensure that Canadians are aware that they may be infringing copyright. Canadian Internet service providers have developed a unique model in which they tell subscribers when a rights holder notifies them that a subscriber has infringed on copyright material. This is known as notice and notice. The bill formalizes this practice into law. I would just point out here that this is one of the key elements that consumers have come to us and said they want as part of the bill.

We disagree with the American approach with regard to copyright. We have a notice and notice regime in our legislation, not a notice and take down regime as they have in the United States, for very good reason. These provisions are also on top of a wide array of legal protections already provided for in the Copyright Act that rights holders can use to assert their rights.

Educators, students, artists, companies, consumers, families, copyright holders and Canadians in general use technology in a number of different ways, and this bill simply recognizes that reality. It gives creators and copyright holders the necessary tools to protect their works, their investments, and to develop their business through innovative business models. It establishes clearer rules that will allow Canadians to fully participate in the digital economy today and in the future. More specifically, this bill gives creators and copyright holders the tools they absolutely need.

With this legislation Canadians will also be able to create new works incorporating existing publishing or publicly available works, as long as it is done for non-commercial purposes, as my colleague has said. The new user generated content cannot be a substitute for the original work or have the substantial negative impacts on the markets of the original material or on a creator's reputation.

Canadians with perceptual disabilities will be permitted to adapt legally acquired material to a format that they can easily use. Also, Canadian photographers will benefit from the same authorship rights as creators. Currently, photographers are not considered authors of commissioned works. This legislation changes that.

Consumers and users of content will also see their interests reflected in the bill. Canadians will be allowed to record television, radio and Internet programs to enjoy at their time and choosing with no restrictions as to the device or technology chosen or the time of day.

Under certain conditions, Canadians will also be able to copy for their personal use legally acquired works such as music, movies or other works, on the device or component of their choice. They will be able to make backup copies in the format and on the device or component of their choice.

I would like to close my speech by ensuring the House understands that this was, from the very beginning of the process that we initiated just prior to the summer of 2009, a good faith effort on the part of our government to get copyright legislation done effectively.

The member for Timmins—James Bay was engaged in debate on Bill C-61 when we tabled that legislation. Bill C-61, as it turned out, was not the balance that Canadians were looking for. We think this legislation achieves the balance that Canadians have come to expect. We tabled Bill C-61, there was the fall campaign, and then we came back.

We re-engaged Canadians from the beginning. We went back to square one. We did unprecedented consultation on this legislation. We heard from thousands of Canadians in the process. We went across the country to town halls and we did open, online consultation. We arrived at Bill C-32.

As a result of the participation of thousands of Canadians in that process, we thought we would respect that process--

February 15th, 2011 / 12:45 p.m.
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Communication and Policy Coordinator, Canadian Federation of Students

Noah Stewart

Yes, certainly I think this is one of several provisions that's out of touch with the reality of learning in modern post-secondary education. I think you're right; in many cases students who are using these works will not have run the ambit of uses they need within five days. When you think that a course will often last 120 days, 90 days, they are working with tools throughout that.

I think it's similar to another worrying provision, as mentioned by my colleague, in proposed section 30.01, where for the digital delivery of lessons for online learning, for e-learning, there's a provision that requires that within 30 days of the close of a course, all course materials be destroyed. This is both by the students who are using the materials and the already overworked teachers who have spent many hours preparing the course, preparing their lectures. All materials must be destroyed.

Both these provisions, I think, go to a fundamental lack of understanding of how learning occurs in the academy. The students don't simply take a course. Students don't simply write a paper and then move on to the next course and never think about it again. If you think about a biology student, they take a first-year organic chemistry class, then they take a second-year organic chemistry class, then a third-year. They need to be able to continue to access materials for their courses. They need to be able to take the language that they've used and continue to use it.

I think in the case of interlibrary loans, this is a provision that, for one, would be very hard to enforce. The Canadian Library Association in the last round of copyright reform with Bill C-61 said there was no possible way that they have the resources to enforce this kind of thing.

It also shifts the role, fundamentally, of librarians from being people who are there to assist learning, to facilitate learning, to facilitate education, to being copyright police, and I think that also sets a somewhat worrying precedent. I think that's also something that's very undesirable in the modern institution.

I think more than anything else these kinds of clauses are simply unnecessary. There isn't a problem right now that we have rabid students, foaming at the mouth, just waiting to get their hands on every work in the library so they can copy them and put them on the Internet. I think that's simply not the reality.

February 15th, 2011 / 9:30 a.m.
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Canada Research Chair, Internet and E-commerce Law, University of Ottawa, As an Individual

Dr. Michael Geist

Thank you for the question.

Let me deal with each of those, because you have in a sense highlighted two of the most important ones in terms of statutory damages and digital locks.

On statutory damages, I think there's increasing concern among many individual Canadians that cases of non-commercial infringement.... And I want to make clear: when you have someone who is infringing and seeking to profit from that infringement—the person who burns a copy of a DVD a thousand times and tries to sell it on a street corner. Everyone is in agreement that we need tough penalties to deal with cases in which people are profiting from that, and Canadian law already provides them.

What Bill C-32, the current Canadian copyright bill, seeks to do is say that we're going to have tough penalties, but we want to ensure at the same time that individuals, when there is non-commercial infringement—the proverbial teenager who is engaged in something they aren't profiting from and who is dealing with a 99¢ song—shouldn't face the prospect of $20,000 in liability just for that one song.

What Bill C-32 does, what the government has proposed, is to say that we're going to put a cap on non-commercial infringement. I think that's a good idea. I think it follows the approach in a lot of other countries that don't even have statutory damages. But what the Europeans are looking for is to increase the kinds of damages we have.

Canada has put on the table the notion that we should be able to continue having differences in the approaches we take for damages. I think that's the right approach. I think, actually, that the counter-proposal Canada has put on the table is the right one. I flag it because I think it's important to maintain the ability for Canada to make the choices it wants to make.

One area, though, in which the proposal from the Europeans would go beyond what the international treaties require, which has real implications for Bill C-32, is the area of digital locks. These locks are used to lock down such things as DVDs, electronic books, potentially CDs, and others. The concern many people have expressed is that there are legitimate consumer reasons why one might want to take a DVD and play it on one's iPad or iPod or video player, or take an electronic book and be able to exercise one's fair dealing rights; in a sense, that the same rights people have in the offline, non-digital world ought to be replicated in the digital world.

What the Europeans are proposing is rules that extend well beyond what is required at international law to provide legal protection for digital locks.

So my view about where Canada ought to go with respect to CETA is to say that we're going to provide protection for digital locks. We see it in Bill C-32; we saw it in Bill C-61; we saw it in Bill C-60. It's clear that Canada is moving forward to provide some legal protection for digital locks. But we're going to do it in a way that conforms with international law, and we're not necessarily going to go beyond those norms in a way that frustrates consumer expectations and that can have some real, harmful commercial effects as well for those who are purchasing things and ultimately find that their basic consumer rights are lost.

December 8th, 2010 / 4:50 p.m.
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John Manley President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Council of Chief Executives

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. It's nice to be back.

I will read a brief statement and then I will go into the questions.

The Canadian Council of Chief Executives, which I lead, has a long history of support for measures to strengthen Canada's economy and to promote innovation. A strong regime of intellectual property protection and copyright is fundamental to that overall mission. Laws that protect and reward the fruits of intellectual capital and artistic creativity are critical to maintaining a dynamic, innovative, and open economy.

By the same token, the society has an interest in ensuring that consumers and other users enjoy fair and reasonable access to copyrighted material. This can only be achieved through a balanced approach to copyright protection. For that reason, we are supportive of Bill C-32.

This legislation is, as you know, the product of extensive national consultations, round tables, town halls and submissions from thousands of individuals and organizations across Canada.

Throughout this process, care has been taken to respect the concerns, needs and legitimate rights of everyone who creates, markets, distributes or in any way makes use of copyrighted material.

I'm aware that some Canadians are of the view that this bill goes too far in protecting the rights of creators and copyright holders.

Similarly, there are people who feel this bill gives too much freedom to consumers and other users.

This divergence of views is inevitable. The challenge in copyright law has always been to strike a balance between the interests of creators and those of the general public.

To my mind, there are four key elements of Bill C-32. First, it brings Canada's copyright rules into the 21st century by legitimizing some activities that consumers in fact do every day. This includes recording television programs for later viewing, transferring digital content from one format to another, and making backup copies, provided the original material was acquired legally and the copying is for consumers' personal use.

Second, the bill gives creators and copyright owners stronger legal tools to control how their works are made available and to guard against copyright violation. As other witnesses have pointed out, these provisions are needed to ensure that Canada does not become a haven for international music, movie, and software piracy.

Third, the bill will improve the learning experience for Canadian students by providing educational institutions, as well as libraries and museums, with enhanced access to copyrighted material. It does this in part by expanding the concept of “fair dealing” in a way that recognizes the significant societal benefits of education.

This is consistent with the recommendations of the Competition Policy Review Panel, which in its 2008 report identified the use of the Internet for research and education as a cornerstone of Canada's ability to innovate and compete in a knowledge economy.

Fourth, Bill C-32 encourages the growth of Internet services in Canada by providing legal clarity for network service providers, web-hosting services and search engines.

Under the new rules, ISPs will be exempt from liability when they act strictly as intermediaries in the communication of copyrighted material.

At the same time, the bill includes new provisions targeting those who knowingly enable copyright violations.

On behalf of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, I strongly endorse the overall thrust of this legislation.

Having said that, I think the committee may wish to consider certain technical changes to the bill so as to avoid unintended consequences. For example, important concerns have been raised with respect to the impact on Canada's software industry of the provisions dealing with encryption research, network security, reverse engineering, and copying for interoperability purposes.

In addition, some of the language dealing with user-generated content and copying for private purposes may be too broad, but I'll leave it to others to propose amendments that would address specific concerns while staying true to the spirit of the legislation.

Those issues aside, the bill generally strikes an appropriate balance among various stakeholder interests.

I note that Bill C-32 includes a mandated review of the Copyright Act by Parliament every five years. While it may not be possible to satisfy every demand of every group, this provision ensures that parliamentarians will have the tools to address unforeseen problems on the basis of experience. In that light, I urge you to move this bill forward as expeditiously as possible.

As others have noted, the Copyright Act was last revised when the Internet was in its infancy, and it badly needs updating to reflect the impact of new technologies on business practices and daily life.

Bill C-60, tabled in June 2005, and Bill C-61, tabled in June 2008, both died on the order paper after the dissolution of Parliament. If these hearings continue at the current pace, there just might be a danger that this bill, too, will die. That would not be in the interests of Canadian creators and it would not be in the interests of consumers.

Nor I suspect, would parliamentarians welcome the prospect of going back to the drawing board, with yet another round of consultations and hearings. Finally, I want to commend the committee for the work you are doing. I bear the scars of the last time Canada's copyright law was amended, and I am the first to admit that mediating among so many competing interests requires a great deal of care and effort.

I still bear some of the scars from that process.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

I'd be pleased to respond to questions.

November 25th, 2010 / 10:40 a.m.
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Assistant Deputy Minister, Cultural Affairs, Department of Canadian Heritage

Jean-Pierre Blais

Yes, absolutely, but we are part of the evaluation process, as we speak.

I was involved in preparing Bill C-60, which led to a number of studies and, ultimately, Bill C-61. We held consultations for an entire summer. We followed the process in committee, and the fine tuning of the bill will occur right here. You will be hearing from the parties who will talk about its specific consequences for their business plans and their circumstances.

November 17th, 2010 / 6:30 p.m.
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Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, I will do my best to provide an answer for that statement as factually as I can.

To begin with, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages is not in the House. That is the first answer I would provide, but the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages is most certainly on board with updating the Copyright Act.

Bill C-32 is an outstanding bill. While it may need some technical amendments, upon which we have consulted with some groups, let us face it. We have the basic tenets of the bill right.

What is so important to the constituent who has just been cited by the hon. member is that we will actually put a system in place again whereby a creator who creates a piece of music, video or intellectual property can sell it, rather than have it stolen or compromised over the Internet.

It was mentioned to me the other day that Canada is the number one location in the world for Bit Torrent sites. Why is this happening? It is happening because we need to update the Copyright Act. Unless members like this get on board, frankly, we will have a difficult time doing that. The hon. member would prefer to favour a system whereby we would put a tax on devices, an iPod tax, a digital tax or something like that, rather than actually tackle the problem. The problem is that the Copyright Act is out of date.

Furthermore, in the statement it was indicated that Bill C-32 is just Bill C-61. Actually, I worked on Bill C-32 and there are a lot of differences between Bill C-32 and Bill C-61. I thought Bill C-61 was a good bill, but Bill C-32 is a much better bill and corrects some of the shortfalls in Bill C-61.

I can also say to the hon. member that we have been told by groups from across the country that this bill does strike the appropriate balance. In fact, I would argue that she should actually speak to her constituents and indicate to them what she is lobbying for, and in fact she has asked the same question many times. What they are actually looking for she refers to as a levy, but my constituents will not see it as a levy. It will be as much as $28 per device, which is what ACTRA has indicated to me when they met with me the other day. It would be added on to digital devices. That is what they would request at the copyright collective. On top of that $28, which would be arbitrarily added to the price of every single digital device, we would then also pay sales taxes in the various jurisdictions, so it becomes even more.

People at home are asking why we are taxing technology. Why would we want to put a tax on technology? They want us to just make the system work. If people want music, they will buy it.

What we want to do is shut down the sites that are allowing people to obtain these works illegally, music, movies or whatever. We want to shut down illegal file-sharing.

At the same time, we will allow for format-shifting, so if people buy CDs and want to format-shift them on to their digital device, their BlackBerry, their iPod, their laptop, their home computer or whatever the case may be, we will allow that. Bill C-32 is entirely technologically neutral. It allows for a review every five years, and it is in the interest of all Canadians. An iPod tax is not in the interest of all Canadians.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

November 3rd, 2010 / 5:35 p.m.
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NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-32, An Act to amend the Copyright Act.

I, for one, am a strong advocate of reforming Canada's copyright regulations in order to modernize them and ultimately align them with the realities of the 21st century. Yet, despite my belief that Canada is in dire need of a modernized, intellectual property rights regime, the bill fails to realistically address what is needed.

The government has stated that its aim in updating the Copyright Act is not to punish individual users but rather to focus its deterrence and enforcement efforts on distributors and large websites that illegally host copyrighted content.

The first thing we need to know about creating balanced copyright is that we need to engage all the players. Bill C-61, the government's initial attempt at reforming copyright law in Canada was legislation that was so badly constructed it had to be dropped as soon as it was announced. The Conservatives were forced back to the drawing board, so here we are, after another two years of waiting. Unfortunately, they still have not got the message. The lack of thorough consultation has left major questions about the impacts of the bill.

Specifically, whether the bill will achieve the intended objectives is a subject of debate among the various stakeholders affected by copyright reform, including authors, artists, musicians, record labels, book publishers, collective societies, libraries, museums, school associations, software developers, retailers and consumers.

The lack of thorough consultation with independent stakeholders, such as those mentioned above, is troubling, considering the same problem plagued the bill's predecessor. It all seems to me that there needs to be a consensus-building process which takes into account the concerns of all stakeholders in order to wholly legitimatize the regulatory framework being proposed.

On a different note, it is my opinion that the scope of the bill strongly misses the mark through its heightened focus on individual consumers as opposed to going after the more heinous commercial pirates who profit monetarily off the intellectual property of others.

There are two key problems with the Conservative approach to copyright. The first problem is that the rights that are offered in terms of the fair dealing, mashup and parity exemptions can be overridden by the heavy, legal protections being put in place by digital locks.

Under Bill C-32, it is illegal to break a digital lock, even if that lock prevents us from accessing material that we would otherwise be legally entitled to access. In fact, it treats breaking of digital locks for personal use the same as if the lock were being broken for commercial counterfeit.

We oppose the criminalization of consumers, which this aspect of Bill C-32 represents. The government needs to re-evaluate its stance on copyright reform in order to properly address the current realities of the 21st century. Criminalizing hundreds of thousands of individual consumers for simply digitizing their music for personal consumption fails in this regard. We need to focus on commercial piracy, not individual consumption.

I happen to have a seven-year-old daughter who is a huge Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers fan. We must buy as many Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana movies and music as we possibly can in my household. I can rhyme off Hannah Montana songs. I am sure many other MPs who have young children could do the same thing. I will not sing one for the House. I do not want to embarrass myself that badly because I am not a great singer. My daughter has a CD collection but we cannot find CD players, so we need to put those on to our MP3 player. Under the bill, my seven-year-old daughter is now breaking the law.

We need to ensure that we are not criminalizing the consumers. The approach the Conservative government is taking goes far beyond the norms adopted by many of the World Intellectual Property Organization countries, or WIPO. In terms of copyright reform, we have been consistent. We support the fundamental principle of remunerating creators for their content. We have consistently called on the government to bring the WIPO treaty into the House to be ratified. If the government had taken this advice, it would have alleviated a great deal of international pressure and given us the space to create a truly made in Canada approach to digital copyright issues.

The Conservatives had five years to address issues in WIPO, and stalled on the WIPO ratification. Instead, their first run at copyright was constructed entirely behind closed doors and read like a wish list for the U.S. corporate lobby.

The second serious problem with the bill is that a number of previous revenue streams for artist organizations appear to be undermined through exemptions and changes. The most notable of these is the government's decision not to extend the private copying levy on CDs to music-playing devices. This fails to address the reality that more and more consumers are choosing to purchase intellectual property through non-traditional means such as digital music files. The levy worked on cassettes. It worked on writable CDs. However, if it is not updated for MP3 players, the levy will die.

The New Democrats put forward Bill C-499 to update the levy on devices marketed specifically as music players and recorders. The Conservatives have misrepresented this levy. They have used it as a straw man for their mailings attacks in our ridings. They have made up figures for the cost of the levy and have denounced copyright licensing as a killer tax.

Let us see what the national media have to say about this attack on the remuneration of artists. The Edmonton Journal said that the NDP offered a perfectly reasonable compromise, but that the industry minister misrepresented its contents on a bill that is thoughtful and upholds the basic Canadian values of straight dealing.

The National Post was even blunter, saying:

...the government's nonsensical, “Boo! Hiss! No new taxes!” response … is just dumb...

This is the National Post we are talking about, definitely not a progressive bastion that routinely calls for more expansive powers in taxation and regulation. Even this newspaper has shown a willingness to confront the real issues. Why has the government not come to its senses on this matter?

The widespread use of iPods, iPads, and MP3 players, as well as the emergence of products like Kindle, serves as an excellent example of the changing nature of consumption in a technology-driven environment. We must address this gap to ensure that Canada's intellectual property regime is appropriate for the ever-changing technological landscape.

The most obvious criticism that can be made of Bill C-32 is that it fails to address the realities presented to us by 21st-century technology. The fact is that no amount of legislation or legal action will force consumers to return to the business models of the 1990s. The emergence of the digital economy has changed the dynamics of intellectual property. The digital economy is not going away. We need to recognize this. We are attempting to rectify 21st-century problems with 20th-century solutions. Let us be clear. An intellectual property regime designed for the dynamics of the 1990s is not the best means for dealing with the issues of commercial piracy, which is really where our energies need to be focused.

Over the past 20-odd years, technological innovation has led to massive and abrupt changes in the way Canadians live their daily lives. Whether it is the way we get the news, or the way we do our banking, or pay our bills, technology has dramatically altered our consumption habits. Instituting a regulatory regime that fails to observe the significance of the transition to an information technology and e-commerce paradigm will only lead to further failure in distinguishing between commercial piracy and legitimate consumer uses.

Nowhere is this folly more clear than in the United States, with its digital millennium copyright act. The U.S. entertainment industry has used legislation in courts to lock down content and criminalize consumers. The result has been a scorched earth policy waged by the recording industry of America against its own consumers. After more than 35,000 lawsuits against kids, single moms, and even dead people, the digital genie has not been put back in the bottle. The market has simply moved on.

Does this mean that digital technology has trumped the traditional right of creators to be compensated? Certainly not. New markets and new models are emerging. The difficulty is to find the best way to update copyright to meet these challenges. We have a unique opportunity to develop legislation that looks forward rather than back. That is why it was unfortunate to hear the Minister of Canadian Heritage denounce citizens' legitimate questions about the bill as digital extremism.

If copyright reform is to succeed, the government must move beyond the rhetoric of a self-defeating culture war. The choice is really about whether we support regressive or progressive copyright. Regressive copyright tries to limit, control, or punish users of creative works. Regressive copyright is self-defeating, because the public will ultimately find ways to access these works.

Progressive copyright, on the other hand, is based on two clear principles: remuneration and access. The digital age has shown us that consumers of artistic works want to be able to access these works. The Internet is not a threat; it is an amazing distribution format. As legislators, artists, and technological innovators, we need to find the monetizing streams in this new distributing culture.

This balanced approach represents the mainstream of Canadian copyright opinion. I refer the House to the judgment in the case of Théberge v. Gallerie d'Art du Petit Champlain inc. The Supreme Court stated that copyright's purpose was to strike a balance between promoting the public interest in the encouragement and dissemination of works of art and intellect, and obtaining a just reward for the creator.

There is a public interest in the access and dissemination of works and a public interest in obtaining a just reward for the creator.

The New Democratic Party's position on copyright is based on the principles of compensation and access. Artists need to be paid for their work, and consumers should be able to access these works with a minimum of restrictions.

The New Democrat position is that we support collective licensing and fair access to educational materials. For example, under the bill, digital lessons for long-distance learning must be destroyed within 30 days of the completion of a course. This would treat students in digital learning environments as second-class citizens and would undermine new learning opportunities.

Specifically, under Bill C-32, students who take long-distance courses would be forced to destroy their class notes after 30 days, and teachers would be forced to destroy their on-line class plans after every semester. This is the digital equivalent of telling universities to burn their textbooks at the end of every session.

What kind of government would force students engaged in digital learning to burn their class notes? No writer gets compensated and no student benefits. This provision shows just how badly out of whack the government is when it comes to understanding the importance of digital education.

In my great riding of Sudbury, we have three fantastic post-secondary institutions: Laurentian University, Cambrian College, and Collège Boréal. All three of these post-secondary institutions offer distance education and distance learning. We want to ensure that this continues, because it is a great way for students in the vastness of northern Ontario to get the education they need.

All this is particularly troubling for me as an MP from northern Ontario. Our country contains many remote areas, and we should be encouraging distance and online education, since course offerings of this type are often the only way for Canada's rural residents to gain access to quality higher education.

We should not be discouraging these types of educational regimes with unduly burdensome regulations prescribing how long a digital lesson can be held.

It is therefore my hope that all parties will be able to reconcile their differences so that we can provide Canadian artists, performers, writers, and the cultural community as a whole with the intellectual property rights protection they deserve, while ensuring that the new regulatory regime respects the changing nature of individual consumption in the 21st century.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-32. I listened to a lot of very good presentations today regarding this very important bill.

At the outset I would like to say, following up on the previous member who spoke and the NDP critic who spoke to the bill this morning, that members of the NDP will certainly be supporting this bill going to committee. We support it in principle. It is a outstanding issue that has to be dealt with by Parliament.

In many ways, I hope it follows the route of Bill C-11, the immigration bill, which basically proved to be successful at the end of the day with the help of all four parties in the House. We have the potential to follow that route with this bill. Some of the concerns that were raised today by the NDP critic in debate were responded to by the minister of the government.

It appears to me that there certainly seems to be an interest on the government's part in working with the NDP critic and our party, and I believe, the other parties as well, to try to work out perhaps even an all-party agreement on this legislation. I really do not feel that we are that far apart.

Speaker after speaker has concentrated on really, more or less, the same issues. Some issues were not addressed, but by and large, the same issues came up over and over again. So it is incumbent upon the government in committee to resolve those issues, and perhaps before Christmas, Parliament will have a second successful bill as opposed to having it end up not going anywhere.

The government has certainly had ample experience over the last five years with bills it proposed going nowhere because it is in a minority situation and knows that all it takes is for it to bring forward a bill that the opposition does not agree with and the bill will not be successful. That is really the end of its effort.

I recognize that we have only 20 minutes to discuss this matter and I do not know that it will be sufficient. Nevertheless I want to deal with some of the issues involving Bill C-32.

Canada's technological community has long been calling for a major overhaul of the Copyright Act to bring fair and balanced copyright legislation to this country. The act has not been reviewed since 1997. I think back to those days 13 years ago and realize how the technologies have changed during that period. It is tremendous.

John Manley was the minister and Jean Chrétien was the prime minister in a majority government. How and why the Liberal government of the day, a sort of command style government with an absolute majority, could not get this job done seems a bit surprising to me. Nevertheless it did not do it. That might be indicative of how controversial it actually is and how many players are involved.

I recall a number of years ago, in 2000, when I was involved in putting together Bill 31 in Manitoba, the province's Electronic Commerce and Information Act. That was internal to the government. We had to sit down with four or five government departments that were dealing with electronic issues. The Uniform Law Conference had a template that we could follow. Just trying to get those silos, those departments within a provincial government, onside proved to be fairly difficult, although we did get the job done.

In this case, it goes way beyond the government, because we are dealing with many competing forces within the country itself. The Liberal critic pointed out this morning how substantial this area is in Canada in terms of jobs and employment and the large part of the economy that is involved.

The Conservatives' copyright modernization act seeks to enact long overdue changes that would bring Canada in line with advances in technology and current international standards. At the rate we are going and with the technology changing, we are never going to catch up unless we get this job done now.

The issue is highly complex. It features competing demands from stakeholders and the artistic, academic, business, technology, consumer rights and communities. We have heard conflicting views from a number of them even today. However, it is a top priority and a multi-faceted issue that the government must take on if it wants Canada to be a competitive player in our increasingly technology-reliant world.

When Canada signed onto the World Intellectual Property Organization, or WIPO, Internet treaties in 1997, 13 years ago, it committed then to modernize its copyright legislation. Before Bill C-32, two other attempts were made to enact legislation that would achieve the goal, most notably in 2008 when the Conservative government brought forward Bill C-61 and that bill was met with widespread opposition. It died when Parliament prorogued in 2008.

Bill C-32 is designed to be technology neutral, which is a very good way to deal with it, because if we do not do that we will be dealing with technology referencing typewriters or old technology from many years past. Taken forward to the future, 20 years from now people will not be understanding the type of technology that we are dealing with in the bill right now. So we have gone to a technology-neutral position that applies across a broad range of devices and technologies with a view of ensuring adaptability to a constantly evolving technology environment.

During the summer of 2009, as the minister referenced, Industry Canada held a series of nationwide consultations on copyrights, soliciting input from Canadian consumers, industry experts and content developers. During the consultations, the most discussed and most contentious issue was digital rights management, including the digital locks, which has been talked about by many speakers today, anti-circumvention measures and TPMs, or technological protection measures.

User rights advocates made it clear that they wanted to see the government expand the fair dealing provisions in the Copyright Act and provide more exceptions for consumers. In Canada, fair dealing as defined by the Copyright Act is more restrictive than the fair use provisions in the United States, particularly with regard to education and teaching. It refers to uses of content that are considered valid defences to copyright infringement, such as for purposes of criticism and review, news reporting or educational use.

While user rights appear to have been taken into some consideration in drafting the bill, Bill C-32 is fairly heavily weighted in favour of the rights of content owners. I reference Sony, Hollywood studios and so on and have asked the question about the influence of the Hollywood lobby, the American political lobby on the Canadian government to come up with a solution that they basically approve of.

The Conservatives laugh and say it has taken six years and obviously they are not responding to any pressure because had they responded to pressure they would have done this a long time ago. What matters here is that the American government and American business interests want to see a piece of legislation that fits in with their legislation, because they see this as a continental market. I have explained before that of the 88 countries that have approved the WIPO Internet agreements, only half of them follow the American model. The other half have a lesser approach than the American system of supporting digital locks.

The government tries to bamboozle us by telling us that we have to give industry the digital lock provisions because we are following the United States, following WIPO.

However, half the countries that have approved and ratified these agreements are not following the digital lock procedures the way the Americans are. Let us understand that from the beginning. We do not have to go holus-bolus, cap in hand, following on the trail of the Americans, contrary to what the government would like us to believe.

The government has stated that its aim in updating the Copyright Act is not to punish individual users, but rather to focus its deterrence and enforcement efforts on distributors and large websites that illegally host copyrighted content. Of course we agree with that. No party in this House wants to be causing grief to the citizens of Canada. There is no question about that at all.

The copyright modernization bill contains three broad categories of changes that Internet and e-commerce law expert Michael Geist termed sector-specific reforms, compromise provisions, and no-compromise rules regarding the DRMs.

The sector-specific reforms are designed to appeal to a wide cross-section of Canadians and include measures that extend the term of copyright for performers and producers to 50 years from the time of publication of a musical performance. They also create a new "making available" right in accordance with the WIPO treaties. This measure will give copyright owners exclusive control over how their content is made available on the Internet.

It also introduces a mandatory review of the Copyright Act, to take place every five years. It is important to have a mandatory review every five years. Even though the bill itself is technologically neutral, things may change in five years, and it is important that we have the ability to require the government to do a review after that point.

Bill C-32's compromise provisions will formally enshrine commonplace grey-area practices that enable users to record TV programs for later viewing, as long as they do not compile a library of recorded content. That is called time-shifting. I know that some people are not going to be happy with this. There are people who like to use their PVRs to copy programs and want to be able to make copies of those and record them. But they are not going to allow people to compile a library of recorded content.

The provisions regarding transferring songs from CDs to MP3 players, called format-shifting, and making backup copies create new limited exceptions to the fair- dealing provision of the Copyright Act. These include exceptions for educators and exceptions for parody and satire, which Canadian artists have been asking for. Bill C-32's compromise provisions will create an exception for content creators that would enable the circumvention of DRMs for the express purpose of reverse engineering for encryption research, security testing, perceptual disability, and software interoperability.

It would also introduce a new YouTube exception that would allow Canadian users to compile clips of copyrighted works into a remix work, as long as it is not created for commercial purposes.

I also want to point out that no one here today has mentioned that this legislation will also give photographers, for the first time, the same rights as other creators. I listened for that all day long and I did not hear anyone mention it. Photographers should be happy, because for the very first time in the history in Canada they will be given the same rights as other creators.

Bill C-32 also creates a new exception for broadcasters to allow them to copy music for their operations.

In addition, it creates a carve-out for network locks on cellphones. This is another one that I think is going to be popular. One of our members actually introduced a bill regarding cellphones, but understand that we are talking about network locks on cellphones. Right now we are stuck with a network when we buy a cellphone. The locks are going to be taken away, and Canadians are going to have the right to unlock their phones. I think people are going to be happy with that if they want to switch carriers, as long as they abide by the providers' contract terms when they make the switch.

There is also a reduction of statutory damages from a maximum fine of $20,000 per copyrighted work to a one-time maximum penalty of $5,000 in situations where copyrighted works have been illegally accessed for non-commercial purposes.

The government touts this reduction of penalties as a progressive, positive change. However, if we read Michael Geist's work, he argues that this is not going to be the effect, that it is not going to work, that we are creating legislation that is going to produce a lot of litigation.

Our critic mentioned that artists have better things to do with their time than hire lawyers. Therefore, the bill is going to be good for lawyers. But if we are talking about little artists who are trying to practise their trade, the last thing they are going to want to do is hire lawyers to track down people who are infringing on their copyrights.

Perhaps we have to take another look at the whole issue of the fines. Perhaps we ought not to think that, because we are reducing fines from $20,000 to $5,000, we have solved the problem. Michael Geist, who is a recognized expert in this area, has made a convincing argument that this is not the case.

Finally, the copyright modernization act contains no-compromise provisions that are likely to have a huge impact on the way Canadians obtain, use, and share copyrighted content. These include measures that create powerful new anti-circumvention rights for content owners like Sony and other big companies, as distinct from the creators and the developers, that prevent access to copyrighted works on pain of fines of up to $1 million, or five years in jail. This measure is based directly on the United States' controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the DMCA, and that is one of our criticisms of the bill. The government is slavishly following the American model as opposed to following the 88 countries in the world that are not following the American model, that have separated from the American model, and have gone easier on the digital lock issue.

An immediate result of this provision would be to convince the United States, and particularly its powerful entertainment lobby, that this country is in line with U.S. regulations and is an attractive and secure place to conduct business.

I think that is what it is all about with the Conservative government. It wants to convince the Americans that we are a good, safe market, with the same standards that they have, so that they can come and do business with us. Instead of this, the government should be looking out for our citizens.

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 all rights. So what is the point of giving people all these rights if we simply take them away by making sure that the digital lock trumps all these new rights?

This means that both the existing fair-dealing rights and Bill C-32's new rights all cease to function effectively so long as rights-holders place a digital lock on their content or device. It would also require that, where a digital lock exists, digital copies made for the purposes of self-study self-destruct within five days, and that course materials be destroyed no later than 30 days after the conclusion of a course. What good is that?

We have had speaker after speaker criticize that provision of the bill.

Perhaps I can deal with the remaining points in the question-and-comments period.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / 3:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the importance of this bill on modernizing copyrights. As a member of Parliament, I have spent a number of years working with my colleagues from all the parties to ensure that our country can support authors and copyright owners. That is an important principle.

We are at second reading of Bill C-32, which the government wants to move forward. This is not the first time we have seen such a bill. Before 2008, the government at the time introduced Bills C-60 and C-61, but they did not make it through. It is not true that these bills had a number of flaws and problems.

We are here today to talk about the importance of a bill that recognizes the changes going on in the increasingly technological world we live in.

The purpose of this bill is to modernize the Copyright Act to bring it in line with the digital age. I must mention some of the important changes that are being proposed. There are changes that would authorize individuals to make copies for personal use, such as recording television shows or transferring music onto an iPod or computer. There are also new rules that would make it illegal for individuals to circumvent a digital lock or a technological protection measure.

Furthermore, the bill gives new responsibilities to Internet service providers, which will have to inform copyright owners of a potential infringement of the copyright. As a party, we note the new exceptions regarding fair dealing for educational uses, for parody or for satire that are included in this bill.

Canada is definitely in the midst of a digital transformation. The dawning of the digital economy is upon us and it will no doubt have, and has had, profound impact on industries, especially our cultural industries.

It is clear that our aging copyright laws have received significant international criticism, which is not to be underestimated. The longer we remain behind in global best practices, the more Canadian artists and consumers will lose out. This initiative brings into play our international relations as well as the interests of consumers.

There are obviously a lot of ideas about what is in the best interests of consumers, and this is going to require serious attention in committee, where informed, serious debate will be held with a number of stakeholders, and all points of view will get a clear hearing.

We have all received significant lobbying from individuals, interested parties, stakeholders, and experts in this field. I appreciate these interventions because they are significant. This legislation and the work that we conduct in committee will, I hope, do justice to the attempts by many people to bring forth a better copyright law here in Canada.

A number of concerns were expressed by my colleagues prior to my taking the floor. Because of time considerations, I will not repeat them. Rather, I will focus on areas that my party and I believe are extremely important.

This is not a new issue for me as a member of Parliament. For a number of years, going back to 2006-07, I attempted to bring together an all-party copyright committee that would look at these issues.

I sat on the industry committee, where I am still a member, when we issued two reports on copyright, contraband, and other issues that were important to manufacturing and the evolution of technology, which we viewed in a context of modernizing our economic instruments.

Digital lock provisions allow Canadians who have legitimately purchased a CD or DVD or other products to transfer their purchase to their iPod or make a personal backup copy on their computer, so long, and I think this is the caveat, as they are not doing so for the purpose of sale or transfer to others.

That is what the legislation is looking to do. It distinguishes private personal use and commercialization. In some areas, a simple firewall can be established, but it is not clear and it becomes more clouded when we are dealing with new technologies and new electronics.

Many artists, many songwriters, many creators of art have expressed deep concern and substantial reservations about issues such as the new education provisions in this copyright legislation. They are concerned about mashups, statutory damages, and compensation for resale rights. While we have deep reservations, we will support this bill's going to committee and look for an opportunity to address the many concerns that have been brought forward.

We know the question of copyright is fundamental. It is important and must be treated with the same degree of seriousness that the public always expects from Parliament in enabling and modernizing legislation.

I explained earlier that Canada's shift to a digital economy has huge spinoffs for our cultural industries. I also mentioned that our copyright laws have been criticized internationally and that the more we drag our feet on global best practices, the more Canadian artists and consumers will lose out. We have obviously taken into consideration the fact that numerous artists, writers and creators have also expressed serious concerns about certain points, such as the new provisions concerning education, mashup applications, statutory damages and payment for resale rights. Despite these concerns, we are trying to make sure that this bill makes it to committee, where much more work can be done.

Since it was tabled, this bill has received staunch support and strong opposition from various stakeholders. The Liberal Party obviously supports modernization. However, concerns have been raised about numerous areas. The first is whether digital locks should take precedence over every other right to copy. The bill we are debating today, Bill C-32, provides for new rights authorizing Canadians to make copies for personal use, including format shifting—transferring content to a CD or iPod—as well as time shifting and making backup copies. The new provisions concerning digital locks take precedence over these rights. In other words, under the new law, a person who buys a CD that has had a digital lock on it cannot circumvent that lock to transfer the content to an iPod without breaking the law. Obviously this has given rise to some discussion. It is an extremely controversial point that was already contested when the Conservatives introduced their previous copyright bill, Bill C-61.

As a party, we obviously have concerns. As well, consumers have been passionate about sharing their fears about the digital lock provisions. We listened to these fears and we will listen to them again.

Other areas we would look at in Bill C-32 would be education. It has been mentioned here before, but the legislation introduces exemptions for copying, meaning teachers and institutions of higher learning. Education can now make copies of some work for education purposes and not infringe on copyright.

Broadly, the bill would implement two major changes. It would introduce making copies for education purposes as an exemption under Canada's fair dealing rules. It would also introduce several specific distance education exceptions to allow for copies used for lessons, communicated to the public through telecommunication for educational or training purposes. That public consists only of students who are enrolled in a course.

I think we can appreciate that there is in fact a growing concern and opposition to broad fair dealing exemption provisions. Writers and publishing groups in particular are very opposed. Fair dealing is so broad that question really becomes, what is in fact defined as fair? The writers and publisher groups believe new exemptions will give teachers and education institutions a veritable blank cheque to make copies of their work and to give it students. They believe teachers and educational institutions ought to compensate creators for their work.

In particular, one of the questions that arises is why private commercial education institutions should be permitted to disseminate works for education purposes without compensating copyright.

I do not need to get into the number of associations and groups that have advocated fair dealing exemption. They have to be taken in the context of the concerns that have been registered by those who freely and rightly create and ask that they be compensated for their work.

There again is another area that falls into what we consider the not so black and white debate about copyright. It is important for us to take and weigh both of these in accordance with the spirit of what the bill tries to achieve.

It would appear that another area we need to look at is the area known technically as mashups, and it is not something one would prepare at a dinner. It is the creation of an exemption for user-generated content where a personal movie is produced using music clips combined with personal video. Then, as some do, it is posted on YouTube.

In our view, this section is too broadly written. Under the rule, individuals can post an entire movie on YouTube as long as they add a small inserted clip at the beginning or the end. Then they can call the video a mashup. It is kind of the exemption given in this kind of circumstance.

We believe the language in this proposed legislation should be tightened to ensure that the mashup exemption cannot unexpectedly create what appears to be a loophole for further copyright infringement.

We are also concerned about the question of statutory damages. I raise this because I have not heard many other members talk about this point. The bill defines a new statutory damage provision of between $100 to $5,000 for all non-commercial infringement copyright.

A number of people to whom I have spoken, and who have come to meet with members of Parliament, have expressed concern about this section and believe applied statutory damages must be commensurate to, equal to and proportional to the severity.

That is an important factor that we must consider at committee. We may have differing opinions as to how these issues are going to be resolved. It would appear that the committee is going to be cast, once again, with having to judge two, or three or several very weighty issues.

The resale of art is also a new issue that has not really had a lot of attention, but it is one that leaves Canadian artists in a position of distinct disadvantage. As members will know, throughout Europe and in some parts of Central and Latin America, artists are rewarded when their works are sold and sold again. Original art increases in value over time and artists feel a share of the increase in value should be returned to them upon resale of their works.

At committee, we may wish to explore the European model or the European experience and see how Canadian artists can be better compensated for their work. Considering the level of interest that has now been brought forward, I am sure this is an area that our party and areas in other jurisdictions will be certainly interested in modelling as well.

It is clear that ephemeral recordings also present concerns for members of Parliament and will concern Canadians. To put that in perspective, currently copyright holders charge broadcasters for format-shifting their works. A simple example of this is a radio station that might purchase a song for broadcast. The current rules require the radio station to pay every time the radio station plays the song but, more important, when it transfers the song on to its computer servers.

As we know, modern radio stations are changing and these are being done in a way that outmodes and makes less necessary the old way of throwing a record on and paying someone at the end of the day. These are done and filed. Broadcasters want to simply pay once. Stations, whenever they play a song, do not want to pay again and again. The format shift, which is taking place will obviously do this time and time again, leaving artists without the traditional revenue stream they could once expect, basically as a result of changes in technology.

The right of copy for format-shifting and transfers is approximately $21 million each year to artists and musicians, creators of the works. Bill C-32 eliminates the ephemeral recording rights in the Copyright Act, eliminating this compensation to creators.

While I sit the industry side of things, we can all appreciate the importance of Canadian culture, Canadian music, Canadian songwriters and the great impact they have made as a result of these kinds of arrangements, constructed in large part by Parliament in previous times. We know the Canadian recording industry is sound and strong. We are very proud of it and we have to do everything we can, in modern times, to ensure it is effectively and equitably safeguarded.

I believe there is the basis in the country for solid rewrite and review of copyright. It is long overdue. Members of Parliament may have differing opinions as to where and how we view effective copyright legislation, but I think we recognize that as the world changes, as technology evolves, so must the panoply of laws and the framework that allows us to change with changing times. That is the pragmatic approach, which the bill will require in order for it to be an effective response to the demands, needs and realities that society, that those in the industry as well as those artists expect.

I am not only looking forward to the questions, but I am looking forward to the opportunity, with some of my colleagues in the House of Commons, to frame and to craft legislation that may meet those expectations. I am not saying that the bill is the be-all and end-all. It is a very important step and the first step in the right direction. It has a long way to go, but it is nevertheless a critical and very important and timely step.

I look forward to Parliament approving second reading and getting this to committee where the experts then have their work cut out for them. We can hear from Canadians and meet those expectations.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / 3:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I will begin my questioning in general terms about the speech the hon. member made regarding copyright legislation. As he referred to, there have been many forms of this in the past little while: Bill C-60 and Bill C-61 that provided a lot of input from stakeholders.

I know he wants the bill to go to committee but once it gets to the committee process, what are the most fundamental changes that he would like to push forward in regard to Bill C-32? Would it be the digital measures that we talked about? I know he talked a lot about the educational exemption. I wonder if he could expand on that and how he proposes to change that once it goes to a special legislative committee.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / 12:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to be here as I have been delving into this issue since 2004 when I was first elected and became a member of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. Back then, we had to deal with what was from 1997 the major last reforms to copyright and then we went into a new bill in 2005, which was Bill C-60. In 2008, we received Bill C-61 from the government but that was put aside because the Conservatives wanted to change the bill to become more technologically neutral. Those were the words by the industry minister earlier today.

This signifies the first time that we have had a fulsome debate in the House for quite some time because those prior bills never had a fair hearing within the House. We had a few debates here and there but not a fulsome debate like we are having today. I congratulate my colleagues, the Minister of Industry, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the critic from the Bloc Québécois and the critic from the NDP, for their speeches. They all, in their own way, put out well researched speeches with some incredibly valid points.

Once again I will reiterate that our party will vote at second reading to put this to a committee so we can give it a fair hearing. When I first looked at this bill, and despite the problems that I personally have with it, I wondered if it needed to be fundamentally changed before we reached second reading. I knew that if we voted yes at second reading, we would be accepting, by and large, the principles in the bill and, therefore, major amendments to change the direction of the bill in certain ways could not be done as they would be overruled by the Speaker.

At that point during the discussion, we decided to go ahead because we needed balanced copyright legislation. It is long overdue, no doubt about it, and everyone should perhaps grab just a little bit of blame in all of that as this discussion has gone on. We signed WIPO treaties in 1996, one dealing with the Internet and the other one dealing with phonograms. Since then, however, we have yet to ratify, pending, of course, the right amount of legislation or balanced copyright legislation. In this instance, Bill C-32, which is in front of us now, was really borne out of the ashes of other bills that have died on the order paper.

Going back to copyright and the issue therein, how do artists receive the right amount of remuneration for the work they have done? I will go back to the origins of copyright. The first time Canada had copyright legislation was in 1868. We felt the need, even back then, for artists to protect what they create but that it would be balanced with the right of users to have access to this material which was very important going back to the beginning and the genesis of the printing presses.

In 1868 and years thereafter, it started in Great Britain, moved its way to Canada and through the United States where it felt the same urge, need and desire to protect artists' rights and, at the same time, mass distribution for this material so it could be accessed by the public. However, by protecting some of this material we did not want to protect it to the point where we kept it under wraps from the general public and people could not get access to it.

The year 1875 was another time when Canada went full ahead and made changes to copyright legislation so that it would be more in line with other countries. Even at the very beginning of copyright legislation there was always the compulsion to bring it in line with what is international standards as artists' work really knows no boundaries. That was at a time when we were printing books for mass distribution. We did not have anything like the radio or record players but now, in the digital age with the Internet, the global village has become that much smaller.

In the very beginning, if memory serves me correctly, I believe the origins of copyright internationally was that British books were being distributed throughout the British Empire and there needed to be certain protections for that as it was distributed to countries like Australia, India or Canada, throughout the British Commonwealth.

The first time Canada saw a glimpse of modern copyright legislation, or at least something that was considered for quite some time to be the cornerstone of copyright legislation, came in 1924. Around that time it was comprehensive enough that it covered many aspects of what was out there in the public realm. Again I go back to books, certain recordings, photographs and that sort of thing, obviously at the very early stages.

As my colleague from the NDP pointed out earlier, the arguments that we are putting forth here today started in the latter part of the 19th century. He used the example of the rolling piano where music was played on an automatic piano, which we have seen in the movies, and whether that would destroy a piano player's career. Obviously, it did not. After that, would recorded music destroy the concert or would people stop going to concerts because they now had an album that featured the artist's recordings? That was not the case as, of course, concerts have increased dramatically from the time of their inception.

From 1924, we went on to make some substantial amendments to the legislation, obviously with the changing times, in 1985 as well as in 1997. Both governments, Progressive Conservative and Liberal, have made substantial changes throughout the years. There seems to be a camaraderie or general understanding to reach out to other parties within this House to ensure we have the right legislation.

However, so many stakeholders are involved in this that there needs to be a comprehensive look at how we deal with copyright and, in order to do that, it needs to receive a mature debate. Today we are debating the bill at second reading and it seems that we are now laying the building blocks for what is about to be a fulsome debate on where copyright is going in this digital age.

I also want to talk briefly about the other bills.

Bill C-60, which was introduced in 2005, received quite a bit of stakeholder response and a lot of it dealing with the fact that we are getting into the digital age. A lot of this was spurred on by the fact that all of a sudden we were sitting in front of a wide array of music selection that we did not need to pay for. It was free. This was the origin of Nabster and LimeWire. With those devices, all of a sudden the consumer had the ultimate choice. Not only was it available in many arrays and all types of genres, it was actually free. That was a fundamental misstep, a fundamental breaking of the contract that we as government have with artists, which is to say that we will help them protect their work.

Nabster has gone by the wayside, or at least the free version has, and other equivalent facsimiles of how that type of music is distributed, meaning peer-to-peer sharing. They have disappeared but there are business models out there. I personally purchase music at 99¢ a song, and I am fine with that. I do not have a very large collection but I do have a collection that is big enough that I gleefully pay for it.

One of the issues that came from peer-to-peer sharing and one of the issues that has not been discussed yet is the information out there about what is illegal. This is something that has been dear to my heart as an issue. As my colleague pointed out earlier, in the United States right now this is incredibly litigious. The lawyers are running overtime when it comes to areas of copyright. A lot of the rules that are put down in America right now are really laid down by court judgments throughout the court system. To a certain degree that has happened here as well, but not to that extent.

In America there were several illustrations where children downloading music in their basements were being sued by major companies in multi-million dollar lawsuits. Obviously they cannot be involved in multi-million dollar lawsuits because there is no way they can get the money. Instead, the companies felt compelled to make a statement and made their statement by taking the most vulnerable in society to court. I will not come down too hard on companies for doing that as they had a legitimate concern about people stealing their product. However, at the same time, they did it with a great deal of haste and aggression that I would not agree with. I think that we, as government, should address that issue.

However, the result of that was the introduction of Bill C-60 in 2005, which, as I stated previously, created a lot of input and for all good reasons. The government changed in 2006 and we found ourselves going back in 2008 with Bill C-61. Bill C-61 went off in different directions from Bill C-60 in many cases but some of the fundamental aspects remained intact.

However, the problem was that in many cases people felt that it had been rushed through too quickly or that it had never received the right debate within the House. Many of the stakeholders thought Bill C-61, because it was illustrative, was maybe too illustrative because it set out certain examples and put people in corners. Basically it was too smothering, as someone told me. Bill C-61 found itself it to be too much for everybody to handle. At this point it went back to the drawing board. As we have heard this morning, I think “technologically neutral” was the response that came back.

Bill C-32 is the latest version of this and hopefully with the agreement of members of this House it will actually make a fulsome attempt to put this into law, and that way the next time we deal with this will be as something that comes way down the pipeline.

One of the issues that keeps being raised is peer-to-peer sharing. I have always made the comment that the problem with having legislation that is too stringent and too detailed in nature is that it becomes oppressive to the point where it just does not adapt. I have said it before and I will say it again. It seems that whenever there is a technical measure by which people are not allowed to get to a certain piece of art, roadblocks are put up around it. Governments do it through regulation to keep people out for access reasons.

However, once that it is put in, I have a 16-year-old son who could get around it within 48 hours. I am not exaggerating because I have seen it happen. I would not want to say that it was my son because I would get him in trouble since this is a public forum, but I have seen it happen. Teenagers do not like to be told that they cannot access certain material for whatever reason.

In the old days, when we were told that we could not access certain material for whatever reason, we would get upset if we could not access certain art or music because it broke Canadian laws or regulations on content. Nowadays, when roadblocks are put up to deny teenagers access, they laugh. It is a big joke. In essence, they find that it is not a big deal because they will find it and get to it in 48 hours. They have done it before and they will do it again.

The concept is that they are breaking the law. Artists have protection around their material that they need to make a living. If a particular parent is sitting at home and is not familiar with the new ways for children to attain music, movies or any type of entertainment nowadays, a parent would be horrified. Parents would be horrified if someone were to call them at home and say that he or she had just caught their child shoplifting at HMV and that the child had tried to walk out of the building with a CD in his or her pocket.

Some kids can download about 20 to 25 CDs from their computer in the run of five minutes. That is okay. Some kids tell their dads that they just downloaded the new movie that is out in the theatres onto CD. A lot of parents just do not pay any attention and just say “Okay, that is great. Let us go watch it.” It is illegal.

I hope part of the debate elevates copyright infringement and how the protections in place for artists are there for a reason, which is to protect the artists' work. It is stealing. We can call it that. In the end, artists are unable to make a living if their material is not protected.

On the other hand, one of the provisions in the bill talks about digital locks. We have all talked about this. We have all heard about this. Is it too stringent in this particular bill? It needs to be discussed. Is it a situation where digital locks cannot be touched? I am not so sure.

I said earlier that I have a concern about the fact that one particular company may have a digital lock in place over certain material. If someone downloads a piece of music or a movie, that piece of music or that movie can only be listened to or viewed by that company's equipment. I have concerns about that because the individual probably purchased the movie legally but is locked in a corner as to how he or she can use it. That deserves to be revisited.

I refuse to believe that the digital lock issue is cut and dried. Educators have said that the digital lock provisions would be too harsh on them now that they have an educational exemption. We have one group weighed off against the other. That involves a full debate. That has to be talked about because many people have a point. I met yesterday with the Canadian Federation of Students who brought that issue up.

On the other hand, some artists are happily ensconced and making a good living by the fact that digital locks allow their material to be protected. Software companies are a case in point.

Canada has a fantastic software industry for games, the intellectual property of video games, Xbox, PlayStation. We have a great industry here and it certainly deserves protection. We need to look at this material with open minds and consider debating it.

Unfortunately the debate earlier was going in different directions regarding the levy that was imposed upon CDs, DVDs or DVDRs and the way artists are able to achieve money to protect their livelihoods. They came up with a solution in the late nineties but it is not within this bill. The government does not agree with it but it deserves to be discussed. I hope the government will be open to revisiting that issue once again when we get this legislation in committee.

There are other issues as well in these changing times. I mentioned the downloading, or making a copy, of music or movies. This is copyright.

This debate started back in 2005. It is not that long ago, if we think about it. We started out with P2P, or peer-to-peer sharing. Nowadays we have live streaming, where no copy is involved. An individual just logs on and live streams what he or she wants. YouTube is a classic example. This technology is going at a blistering speed in the digital age and now we have to keep up.

I was happy to hear the minister talk about a five-year review, and I congratulate him on that. That goes a long way toward looking at legislation once again. Personally, I feel that is the way we should be going.

Bill C-32 contains a number of other measures such as those regarding mashups and the creation of a new exemption for user-generated content, which broadly written, could create an opening for abuse. That is true. We have to consider that.

Statutory damage is another issue we have to look at.

Fair dealing in general has to be looked at, fair dealing for access for consumers, fair dealing for parody, satire, but fair dealing for education. We have had a lot of input on that. Some people are very concerned about it, artists in particular.

Some artistry groups have said that an open-minded, fair dealing provision puts in the hands of the courts what should be determined by Parliament. That is something we have to consider. Again, it becomes incredibly litigious. Fair dealing has that possibility so we have to consider that. We have to draft legislation to make sure that does not happen, in my humble opinion. Artist groups are saying that the full impact of an open-ended fair dealing provision may be difficult to predict but the fact that there will be unintended consequences is wholly predictable.

The intent of the education provisions put forward by people from the University of Ottawa and by the Canadian Federation of Students is not to destroy the livelihoods of people who write textbooks. So again we have the interests of one weighed off against the interests of the other. We have to come down the middle in what I consider to be fair copyright legislation.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / 11:30 a.m.
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NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, I am proud to rise today to speak to Bill C-32, which is legislation to update Canada's Copyright Act. I speak as someone who has actually tried to feed my family off copyright as an artist, a writer, a broadcaster, and a publisher.

The New Democratic Party has been clear about its desire to ensure that Canada's copyright regime is updated, and New Democrats place copyright reform at the centre of what must be a much broader innovation agenda for Canada. This includes codifying protection for net neutrality, committing to national benchmarks for broadband access right across rural and northern Canada and into the urban areas, and enhancing our digital cultural programs to ensure that Canadians are able to participate as international citizens within the democratic, culturally vibrant, public commons that is the Internet.

In respect of copyright reform, New Democrats have been consistent. We told the government to bring WIPO into the House and have it ratified. If we had done that, it would have taken some of the international pressure off Canada. We have been telling the government that we fundamentally support the principle of remunerating creators for their content and oppose criminalizing consumers.

The Conservative government had five years to ratify WIPO and bring it before the House, but it stalled. The previous bill was so poorly constructed that it pretty much died the day it was brought in. The first lesson to know about copyright is that it has to be balanced, and getting it balanced requires broad-based consultations with every stakeholder.

Bill C-61 was pretty much ditched as soon as it was brought in and that sent the Conservatives back to the drawing board. Here we are two years later and five years into the government's term.

Unfortunately, I do not think the government has yet gotten the message. We will be more than willing to work with it on addressing problems, but we want a clear understanding from the government that it is willing to work with the other parties to fix this bill.

Many international observers are looking to Canada. They think this is a country that can actually get it right when it comes to copyright. Like every other nation in the world, we are in the midst of unprecedented technological change. What we have seen over the last dozen years is a cultural copyright war that has been played out internationally, and some jurisdictions have gotten the mix wrong.

If we look at the history of copyright, we can see that the push for copyright has always come from technological threat. There are certainly those who are threatened. Some older business models would use copyright to make sure that new, potentially difficult platforms for distribution are stopped from going forward.

What we have learned in Canada from watching other countries trying to bring forward copyright is that no amount of legislation or legal action will force consumers to return to dead business models. Nowhere is this folly more clear than in the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the DMCA.

The U.S. entertainment industry has used both the courts and legislation to try to criminalize consumers, and the result has been a scorched-earth policy that was waged by the Recording Industry Association of America against its own consumer base. After 35,000-plus lawsuits against kids, single moms, and even dead people, the so-called digital genie has not gone back in the bottle, and it is not going to go back in the bottle.

The one thing I would say to the Conservative government is that, for all of its dumbed-down approach to social policy, it seems to understand that suing kids is not going to be a constructive, long-term solution. That might be one of the only positive results coming from what we have witnessed south of the border.

Does this mean that digital technology has simply trumped the principle of copyright, and endless downloading can simply erase the rights of creators? Certainly not. We need to look at the Internet and digital innovation for what it is. This is an exciting new distribution platform and new models are emerging.

We have the opportunity in Canada to come forward with something that is forward-looking rather than backward-looking. I found it unfortunate this summer when the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages denounced citizens who questioned the bill as digital extremists. If copyright reform is to succeed, we have to move beyond this self-defeating culture war, because the choice in the end is whether we support regressive or progressive copyright.

Regressive copyright is based on attempting to limit, control, or punish users of creative works. Regressive copyright is ultimately self-defeating, because the public will find ways to access those works.

Progressive copyright, on the other hand, is based on two time-honoured principles: remuneration and access.

The digital age has shown us that consumers of artistic works want to be able to access them how and when they please, and they will do so. To them the Internet is not a threat; it is an amazing vehicle for participation in exciting cultural exchange. The question is, how do we monetize it?

The balanced approach represents the mainstream of Canadian copyright opinion. I refer to the judgment in the case of Théberge v. Galerie d'Art du Petit Champlain inc. The Supreme Court said that the purpose of copyright was to strike “a balance between promoting the public interest in the encouragement and dissemination of works of the arts and intellect and obtaining a just reward for the creator”.

So the role of copyright is not simply the enforcement of property rights. It is, however, a public construct. That is what copyright is. It ensures that there is public access to artistic works and a public interest in remunerating the creator.

Unfortunately, I do not think Bill C-32 manages to strike this balance. It offers the public a series of rights in the same way a roadside carny offers good odds in a shell game. Attempting to access those rights under the digital lock provisions will prove that none of these rights actually exists. That is fundamentally problematic, because all the rights that are guaranteed in this bill can be erased by a corporate piece of software saying that consumers cannot access the works they have legally purchased.

Support for digital locks exists internationally. I think everyone in this house would agree that digital locks exist to protect a piece of copyrighted material from being stolen, or, as the Minister of Heritage said, from someone ripping it off and putting it on BitTorrent. However, it is another matter to use those digital locks to prevent access for educators or consumers who actually bought a product that they would normally be able to time-shift or format-shift.

As for the remuneration of artists, the other fundamental principle in copyright, this bill consistently undermines the revenue streams that artists have relied on. We can see this in the government's full-on political assault on the private copying levy. The government's attack on the levy is emblematic of its attempt to turn copyright into a political battle in which it gets to rant about taxes and go after them. The government, however, is really going after one of the time-honoured principles that Canadian copyright is based on, which is the remuneration of artists.

Before we get into the fundamental problems of this bill, let us put it in context. Technological change has always driven copyright reform. Music is a very good example. In 1906, John Philip Sousa denounced the threat of mechanical music, which was actually the roller piano. He felt that if people started buying roller pianos they would not need live musicians anymore. I do not know how many people bought a roller piano, but it was not quite the threat they made it out to be.

The Association of American Publishers picked up the threat of technology when the record player appeared. They thought that if there were record players nobody would buy sheet music. Sheet music was actually one of the great copyright-drivers for artists. If people listened to records, they would not have to play the piano in their parlours. This was clearly a case of a new business model threatening an older one.

In 1923, record companies, which had been considered a threat a few years before, suddenly found that they were being threatened themselves, because the radio appeared. The record industry thought that if people listened to music on the radio for free, they would not buy records.

By 1928 it appears their fears may have been realized. Record sales dropped off by about 80%. By 1931, they had dropped off over 90%. I would argue that perhaps some of that had to do with the Depression, but the argument could have been made by record company lobbyists that the appearance of radio had also had an effect.

Were the radio listeners criminalized? Did they put locks on access to radio? No, they learned to monetize radio revenue, and the record industry never looked back until it came across a kid who invented Napster.

Napster was enormously successful, not because the music was free, but because it offered a young generation almost unlimited access and the ability to choose what they wanted when they wanted it.

That was a phenomenal change in how music was accessed. Steve Knopper wrote an excellent book Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age.The recording industry made a fundamental and colossal error when it decided to try to shut down the technology through losses rather than monetizing. At that point, digital music went underground for a number of years, and the market has never quite recovered. I went through this history because I believe it is important to put the issues of digital monetizing and technological change in perspective.

These are some of the fundamental problems with the bill and how it works. We believe that the government has declared war on one of the principles of Canadian copyright, which is collective licensing. To demonstrate this, one does not have to look any further than the government's attack on the levy. The levy was a made in Canada solution that allowed for format-shifting while providing a badly needed stream of revenue to the artists. The levy worked on consensus. It worked on writable CDs. However, when we tried to update it to the MP3, we saw the Conservatives misrepresenting the levy, misrepresenting the costs. They have used it as a straw man in numerous political mailings.

Let us see what the national media had to say about this Tory attack on remuneration of artists. The Edmonton Journal said that the New Democratic Party's support for the levy seemed to be a “perfectly reasonable compromise” and that the industry minister misrepresented the contents of what was actually a “thoughtful compromise that upholds basic Canadian values of straight dealing”.

The National Post was even blunter. It said that the government's nonsensical boo, hiss, no new taxes response is just plain dumb.

Bill C-32, as long as there are no digital locks, will allow for all manner of copying and backing-up on the pretense that it is technologically neutral. But it is clearly not technologically neutral, because it is going after one of the few revenue streams that exists for artists.

The government is saying it has all these fair-dealing exemptions for education, but let us look at some of the glaring irregularities of the bill. Under Bill C-32, students who are taking long-distance courses will be forced to destroy their class notes after 30 days. Teachers will be forced to destroy their on-line classes. This is the digital equivalent of telling universities they have to burn their textbooks at the end of every session. What kind of government would force students to burn their class notes in the name of protecting copyright? No writer benefits from this, and no student benefits. This provision shows how badly out of whack the government is when it comes to understanding the potential for digital education.

We see these same punitive measures brought to bear against librarians. They will be forced to destroy inter-library loans after five days. We saw the government's full-on assault against the long form census and its opposition to knowledge and data. But to go after students and librarians with such dumbed-down, regressive approaches is something the New Democratic Party will not support in any way.

Let us look at the issue of the digital lock provision. The digital locks make a mockery of any claim of giving fair rights. The government says that we will get fair dealing rights for education and for reproduction for private purposes. People can make back-up copies; there will be copying rights for the print disabled; there is the so-called YouTube mash-up provision. But if there is a digital lock in place, all those rights are erased.

Clause 41.1 lays out very clear technological protection measures, which supersede the rights that citizens would otherwise enjoy. Thus Bill C-32 offers citizens' rights that they will not actually be able to access. What the government is doing is creating a two-tiered set of rights between digital and non-digital products. Instead of legal certainty, Canadian citizens will face arbitrary limitations on what should be their legal right of access.

It is simply not credible to say that this is WIPO-compliant. If we look at the WIPO treaties, digital locks are not guaranteed copyright rights. They are simply enforcement measures. At most, technological protection measures may be thought of as an adjunct to exclusive rights, but they cannot trump the rights that exist by law. In fact, if we look at how other countries have implemented WIPO, we see that there is no reason the government and this Parliament cannot set up a made-in-Canada provision that represents a balance on the digital locks provision.

In article 10 of the WIPO Copyright Treaty, it says that limitations such as the TPMs may be supported as long as they “do not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work”. That is exactly what the bill would do. It would override the normal exploitations of this work.

The other problem with this jailhouse approach to digital locks and digital issues is the question of whether it will even be able to pass a constitutional challenge. Dr. Jeremy de Beer raised this issue when he looked at the previous bill, Bill C-61. He said that the digital rights provisions were a:

—poorly veiled attempt by the Government to strengthen the contractual rights available to copyright owners, in the guise of copyright reform and the implementation of Canada’s international obligations.

He said that further iterations of Bill C-61 that did not take the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright Act into account could fail constitutional scrutiny. In fact, there are questions whether the bill with the digital locks provision will actually be able to succeed in a charter challenge.

Fundamentally, we can make the digital locks provisions work in order to protect copyright data, but if the government thinks those locks can simply override the existing rights that are guaranteed in the rest of the bill, it will have problems. The New Democratic Party certainly has problems with that.

At this point in going forward, the New Democratic Party is willing to work with all members of the House, all four parties, because we believe we must update Canada's copyright laws. We need to find a way to do it and we think it can be done.

We are looking for a sense from the government that it is willing to work with us. If it is willing to address some of the fundamental problems, we can deal with this in committee. However, if it takes the approach that any suggestions or implementations slightly different than the government's are somehow a threat and that it will not work with us, then we will not support Bill C-32 at third reading.

The New Democratic Party is willing to take this to committee. We are willing to work on these issues. We believe we can make very good made in Canada copyright legislation that will not only stand the test of this year and next year, but that will be looked at in other jurisdictions around the world as a way to find the balance that has so far been elusive in the digital copyright wars of the 15 years.

May 11th, 2010 / 11:45 a.m.
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Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Conservative Peterborough, ON

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you to the witnesses here today.

Mr. Engelhart, first I want to get something out of the way. You talked about network PVRs and Bill C-61, and I just want to mention to you that I personally support your view on that. I think if the content owners or creators and the cable companies can come to an agreement on how they should be reimbursed for that content, I can't understand what the difference is between a network PVR and one on top of the television screen. I think the Copyright Act should be flexible in recognizing that as well. I think it's a very important innovation. As we move forward, we don't want to see Canada becoming a laggard, so you have my support on that.

Some of the things that really stifle innovation and that we don't talk enough about are things like fees and taxes. You talked about how we're paying substantially more for copyright. We're paying for format-shifting at the radio stations; in some cases, four times. To me that's not a support of Canadian content; in fact, it's stifling the actual promoters of Canadian content. It doesn't help them get that Canadian content message out. If anything, it keeps them in old formats. It prevents them from doing things like you're speaking about, such as launching Internet radio stations that would literally assist us in blasting this out around the globe. It's hurting our innovation.

I want to get your opinion of the value-for-signal decision, which you mentioned. To me, I don't think there has been a bigger assault on Canadian content than that specific decision; it puts all of the value in an over-the-air network that's going to come to you and want to negotiate the value of their signal and the ability to shut off the U.S. network. That's their trump card. And it's only the U.S. content they can shut off. So it seems to me this is a huge shot at Canadian content, something the CRTC is actually charged to protect.

I also think it's a violation of section 27 of NAFTA, which indicates that if a signal isn't broadcast by a Canadian rights holder, the U.S. signal must prevail. I'm really dumbfounded, to be honest with you, by the decision—which is now supported solely by CTV. It doesn't benefit the CBC at all; the CRTC put them on the sidelines. CanWest and the owners of CanWest have specifically come out and said they didn't want it. Shaw said they didn't want it. CORA said they didn't want it. The Jim Pattison Group said they didn't want it.

Can I get your views on this? We haven't heard you at our committee since the decision of the CRTC, and I'd just like to hear what you have to say on it.

May 11th, 2010 / 11:05 a.m.
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Senior Vice-President, Regulatory, Rogers Communications Inc.

Kenneth Engelhart

If Rogers succeeds in harnessing digital technology to modernize its cable television service, it means that the CRTC can continue to impose the Canadian content regulations it imposes today. These have served Canadian cultural industries well. For example, 55% of a television network's content has to be Canadian. However, if all television content migrates to the Internet, Canadian television will lose the benefit of Canadian content quotas.

We need the CRTC to adopt flexible policies to aid us in this transition, and with one notable exception they have. They have allowed us to put television programs on video-on-demand and to insert fresh ads so that broadcasters will have an incentive to provide programming to us. They have not imposed taxes or fees on our Internet service. They have indicated a willingness to allow us to sell ads on our U.S.- originated cable programming to pay for a targeted ad system, as U.S. operators do.

The one area of concern we have is the CRTC's recently announced value-for-signal decision. This will require us to pay large amounts for linear television at a time when customers are increasingly moving away from linear TV to watching on-demand and online.

There are also policies the federal government could adopt. For example, pursuant to section 19 of the Income Tax Act, Canadian firms cannot claim advertising expenses as an income tax deduction when they advertise in U.S. magazines or border TV stations.

The same rule should apply to U.S. websites. This will make it more expensive to place ads, for example, on Hulu, if it comes to Canada. The aim should be to make sure that Canadian advertisers prefer Canadian-owned and -operated services.

Federal tax credits should also be available for online content. The existing rules only allow credits for filmed entertainment production. Some provinces have moved in this direction, such as B.C., Ontario, and Quebec.

Canadian copyright payments are also out of control. We pay more copyright both for online and traditional media than U.S. media companies pay. This makes it hard for us to adapt and compete. For example, digital copies of music are more costly to download online than if purchased on a CD because of copyright tariffs and levies. Piling on additional copyright payments for digital media will continue to drive consumers to acquire music and other copyright products through unlawful file sharing on the Internet and to unregulated U.S. over-the-top providers like YouTube.

It is also a mistake when copyright discourages broadcasters from modernizing their operations. For example, if a radio station plays CDs, they face two different copyright payments. If they load the CDs into a server, they could have to make four more payments. Canadian radio stations pay twice as much in copyright payments as American radio stations. This is particularly disturbing since over half of the copyright payments go outside of Canada.

Canadian copyright payments need to be kept in check or Canadian radio broadcasting will not be able to compete against the Internet or other new technologies. This is one reason why we don't have Internet radio stations, and are now inundated with foreign services from more cost-effective territories.

In the U.S., PVRs are becoming more cost-effective by using the network PVR. A PVR is just a digital cable box with a hard drive in it. The network PVR centralizes the hard drive at the cable company's primary headquarters. This means that all digital boxes can be PVRs, giving all customers the flexibility of the PVR at a greatly reduced cost.

The last version of amendments to Canada's Copyright Act, Bill C-61, specifically prohibited the use of the network PVR by cable operators. We think this a mistake that should be corrected in the next copyright bill.

Rogers recommends a balanced approach to copyright reform and implementation of the WIPO treaties that will continue to reward innovation and creativity.

If we succeed in our vision of providing customers with television on any platform, it clearly will be good for our business. As discussed before, it will also allow the continuation of the Canadian content regulatory system. It will also allow creators of artistic and cultural content to be compensated for their works. An environment where all content is available free on the Internet does not provide the creator the ability to be compensated for their works. Our model will preserve the existing value chain and allow all providers to be compensated.

We do not believe changes to foreign ownership rules will have an impact on Canadian culture and content. Canada's foreign ownership rules can be changed for telecommunications carriers and cable companies. These businesses are primarily pipes that carry content. The foreign ownership rules can be preserved for the content providers. Radio and TV stations and specialty channels can remain in Canadian hands. This would provide the capital-intensive distributors with lower-cost access to foreign capital while ensuring that the vital content producers are Canadian.

Thank you.

April 20th, 2010 / 12:10 p.m.
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General Counsel and Director, Policy and External Affairs, Access Copyright

Roanie Levy

When you create an exception where a copyright holder, a user, a rights holder, is not paid for the use of the work, I think you need to be sure that you create parameters on what the use is, because you are encroaching on someone's ability to be compensated for the use of the work. It's a question of whether the 30 days should have been 30 days--should it have been there or not?

But what I would like to point out is that since Bill C-61, the rights holders have gotten together and have filed a tariff that covers exactly the same uses. When you let the market determine how the uses are going to be made, you're going to see that you don't need as many parameters. So--

April 20th, 2010 / 11:45 a.m.
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André Cornellier Co-Chair, Chief Executive Officer of La Maison de l'image et de la photographie, Canadian Photographers Coalition

My name is André Cornellier. I'm an artist and a photographer. I'm also a director of UMA, La Maison de l'image et de la photographie, and I represent the Canadian Photographers Coalition, which represents 14,000 workers in the photography industry.

Thank you to the distinguished members of the committee for hearing us today.

You are asking about what is affecting our industry in the digital age and what you can do to help us. I will talk about one thing you could do to help us and one thing you should not do.

First, let's talk about how you can help us. Photographers from here do not have the same rights as other Canadian artists or other photographers in industrialized countries. Subsection 10(2) of Canada's Copyright Act provides that copyright belongs to the person who owns the negative. There is no negative in the digital age. Furthermore, why would copyright belong to the person who buys the film rather than the artist who created the work? Is copyright given to the person who supplies the guitar or the artist who composes the work?

The present government introduced an amendment, in the spring of 2008, in Bill C-61, which repealed subsections 10(2) and 13(2) and restored copyright to the photographer. We would like the present Conservative government to make the same amendment in the next bill, particularly since the Liberals also proposed that amendment in 2005 in Bill C-60.

Now let's talk about what the government should not do. The government should ensure that the Internet is accessible to everyone everywhere. It should ensure that the information highway is accessible everywhere at an affordable cost. That will assist in the development of commerce and Canadian culture. At the same time, it must resist the idea of making content free of charge. When the government builds roads and highways for goods and services to be accessible everywhere, what is transported on them is not free of charge. Making something available does not mean making it free of charge. It means that what is not available in a region is now available there and that people can now buy it.

What is the interest in building a refrigerator if it becomes free of charge because you transport it on a highway? Does selling shoes rather than giving them away undermine the shoe business? Does that make it so no other companies create new shoes?

The same is true for the Internet. Creating the information highway does not mean that what is transported on it must be free of charge. The right to own and enjoy one's inventions and creations is a fundamental right for a fair business. This actually encourages creation. Is the claim being made that you encourage creation by making everything free of charge? Where then is the encouragement?

When we advocate compliance with copyright, we're told that we are undermining creation, that we understand nothing, that we should deal with the new ideas and new needs of the digital revolution. A seminar was held in Toronto on April 29 and 30, 2008. It was attended by all segments of Canadian culture, representing all opinions on copyright. More than 140,000 creators in all fields were represented there: music, visual arts, performing arts, writing, film and video. There were also promoters of a free Internet, those who are opposed to copyright. There were the promoters of the Creative Commons. There was Mr. Geist, there were “appropriationist” artists and a number of representatives of the next generation, the young generations. All ideas and all ages were represented there.

One young artist, in his twenties, made a presentation on one of his creations. It was a three-minute video. He had taken hundreds of images off the Internet and had assembled them in layers. His creations consisted of numerous recombined images. The video images were collages. Hundreds of collages one after the other composed a symphony of highly coloured images. He explained that, if he had had to request copyright permission for each of those images, it would have taken him months and cost tens of thousands of dollars. He therefore asked that copyright be abolished on the Internet and that an exemption be introduced so that he exempt from copyright since it was holding back his creativity.

We told him about a hypothetical case. If a company, such as Ubisoft, for example, created a new electronic game and, liking his pictures, decided to take them off the Internet and include them in their software, to use them to package a product or whatever else, that shouldn't be a problem for him. He answered without hesitation that he would sue them.

On January 30 last, I was in the offices of a young design firm in Montreal. During a conversation, the two designers, knowing that I worked for the recognition of copyright, told me that I didn't understand the needs of their generation. One of them told me he was making music and that they preferred to distribute their music on the Internet so that people could download it free of charge so that they could make themselves known. As a result of that, the old models that I supported were no longer valid. There should be no more copyright.

I asked him if there would be a problem if a group in Canada or the United States liked their music and wanted to record it and distribute it on a CD and over the Internet. He answered without hesitation that he would sue them.

There are hundreds of examples of this kind. They all say they don't want copyright so as not to inhibit their creativity or the distribution of their creations, but they all want to sue those who appropriate their works. How could they sue if there was no act protecting them?

This doesn't show that they don't want copyright; it shows only one thing: ignorance of copyright. When you carefully listen and try to understand their thinking, you understand that they want to be able to decide when to share their creations free of charge and when to profit from them. The right to decide where, when and how you want to share your creations is called copyright.

Current copyright effectively achieves its mission and protects creators old and new, those of yesterday and those of tomorrow. It enables them to give away their works free of charge or to profit from them and to create new original works. Do not open the door to all these exemptions that are asked of you. The exemptions you create today to allegedly facilitate creation will in future turn against those who requested them and they will not be able to protect their own works. Giving permission to plagiarize encourages plagiarists, not talent. Real artists have never been afraid of any constraints. Respect for rights encourages creation. If you give in today to requess for exemptions, in 20 years, they'll be the first ones to criticize you, and rightly so, for not protecting their creations and their property.

Thank you.

April 15th, 2010 / 12:20 p.m.
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Documentary Filmmaker, EyeSteelFilm Inc.

Brett Gaylor

Viva Google.

Homelessnation.org is another project that my colleagues have embarked upon to try to bridge the digital divide. We work with homeless shelters, and other people who work with Canadians who are homeless or living in poverty, to help them to train themselves in digital literacy, more or less. We help them blog, we help them create short films, we help them create audio works.

Now, this is clearly a project that does not have, nor is intended to have, a business model. This was supported through initiatives from wings of our government that no longer exist. I believe they have been put into Service Canada and the National Film Board.

The challenge was that funding for it eventually ran out; however, that website is now self-sustaining. The folks who we helped to learn those skills have now taken this site over on their own. It's a very vibrant website of over 5,000 active users. A lot of the challenges that Mr. Anders described, in building a community and outreach, they've done themselves. It was through that runway that we were able to get there. So it's an interesting example of social innovation.

With opensourcecinema.org, that's the website we created to build Rip. This was a website where I was, in an unconventional way, releasing the source material--if I can say it that way--of my documentary, inviting others to participate and create it together. We wanted to create a Wikipedia-type process for creating a documentary film.

Again, we had some support through the Canadian Film Centre and a fund that was set up by Telus. Then we had some other private funds in there. The challenges of that have certainly been those of incumbency, so with a lot of the funds we're only allowed to access them once we have a broadcaster, and that's an evolving model.

It's interesting that Jeff brought up Flattr, because I think a lot of people would recognize that as a very reasonable way to compensate some authors. It's interesting to note that this project was started by the founders of The Pirate Bay. Again, those are people who a lot of us in this room, especially as creators, would have a lot of beef with.

In making Rip, I had to study the history of copyright law and its intersection with technology. In pretty much every generation there is one group called “pirates”, and in the next generation they are called “admirals”. This debate was fought over radio, this was fought over the player piano, and of course it was famously fought over the VHS recorder, which spurned an entire industry. I think we're in the process of fighting that out over the Internet.

There are some really smart people who have put a lot of thought into how to compensate authors in an age when books are going to be digitized and music is going to be available. It is not a matter of “if”. We are already living it--right now. As much as we want to discuss in this room whether it's appropriate, it is happening.

I feel that your responsibility is to help us create environments where the proper business models can emerge rather than constantly trying to stop it...or in fact, as in the case of Bill C-61, the breaking of technological protection measures. Now that was protecting a technology that the industry had actually abandoned, in the case of audio recordings.

So I think we need to create environments that are very nimble. We need to have a fairly light touch, but we do need a touch.

April 14th, 2010 / 7:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Conservative Peterborough, ON

Madam Speaker, the member had an opportunity to apologize for an outrageous allegation, suggesting that the Minister of Industry has stolen music, but she did not. That is outrageous and I wish she had taken the opportunity to apologize.

In fact, her party did not support Bill C-61 and neither did the other opposition parties. If they had, we would have had a new copyright regime in this Parliament instead of using it as a wedge issue.

With respect to my not understanding the file, I understand consumers. I understand people at home are working hard and paying a lot of money in taxes. I think they pay too much tax, but all the opposition members see is opportunities to tax: here a tax, there a tax, everywhere a tax, tax. I understand that, and I will not be party to a regime that thinks we can tax people as much as it wants and there will not be implications. It is nonsense.

April 14th, 2010 / 7:20 p.m.
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Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, the comments made by the member are borderline. They are ridiculous and certainly inflammatory. The member alleges that the Minister of Industry has illegally downloaded songs on to his iPod with absolutely no evidence. I would guarantee the minister has paid for the music on his iPod, because he is a pretty upstanding guy and he understands these things.

This is nothing but a smoke show. Where was this passion for artists when we brought in Bill C-61 in the last Parliament for copyright? If the same members who stood tonight in favour of the iPod tax or the tax on digital memory would have stood up for copyright to protect the artists that the member now claims to support, we would have had a regime to protect them, to protect intellectual property and to protect cultural creations like music. However, the member did not do that, neither did her party and neither did the other opposition parties. They used it as a wedge issue.

Now she stands up and says that she is here to support artists. She is not here to support artists. She voted in favour of a tax. All the opposition parties voted this evening in favour of a tax, a tax on digital memory, a tax on iPods, a tax on PDAs, a tax on anything that stores digital memory.

Here is some news for the people at home. If people have devices that not only store photos, but also store music, 100% of the opposition members think those people should pay a tax for the music, even if they bought it for photos. However, that is their solution because they like taxes. They think they can wave a wand over things and make money appear, and it does not harm anyone. We could take millions and millions of dollars from Canadian consumers, create a great fund to hand out and take credit for, but it would not harm anyone. It is nonsense. When will those members stand up for consumers?

Instead of making outrageous allegations against the Minister of Industry, why does she not talk to the consumers in her riding and find out how much more they think they should have to pay for these devices. What do they think would be fair? It is nonsense and it is ridiculous. She should get in touch with her constituents. I can guarantee her that they do not support an increase in tax on iPods and all forms of digital memory devices.

Let us put it this way. I will give the member the opportunity to apologize for the outrageous allegations she made against the Minister of Industry.

Canadian HeritageCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

April 13th, 2010 / 7:10 p.m.
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NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The iPod levy was not in Bill C-61, so again I think she is mistaking it. She needs to explain what the complaints were because it was not in the bill.

Canadian HeritageCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

April 13th, 2010 / 7:05 p.m.
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NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, I do not think it would be unfair to say that the government is probably the greatest group of underachievers we have seen in some time. I do not know how many times we heard that the Conservatives discovered an interactive website and got consultations. That would not have been bad five years ago, but if that is as good as it gets five years on, that is pretty pitiful.

I remember the very first Conservative heritage minister coming before our committee on the very first day. That minister made one really clear promise. She said that we would have new copyright legislation by Christmas. We all grew long beards waiting and it never happened. Then Bill C-61 came along. Bill C-61 was the government's response. I have never seen a piece of legislation brought forward with such great fanfare that was then pulled so quickly because it was ridiculed as a dog's breakfast.

Now we are in “consultations”. I am concerned about the consultations because the member does not have her facts right. She keeps calling the levy a tax and saying that it would impose an $80 fee. Who is writing her notes? I want to know, because when the Federal Court looked at the issue of the iPod levy in 2005, that $80 figure was not anywhere to be seen. We were talking $2 to $5 to $10.

Maybe the government's consultations have gotten mixed up, or maybe it is a case of what the Edmonton Journal said about how the industry minister misrepresented facts and the heritage minister misrepresented facts.

I would like to ask a simple question. What was wrong with Bill C-61 that the government felt it had to go back and engage in thousands and thousands of hours of consultation? What was it specifically about Bill C-61 that the government was so embarrassed it had to pull it off the table?

Canadian HeritageCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 26th, 2010 / 1:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary is right. The empowerment of the individual through the computer mouse is incredible. It is at a stage now where I cannot fully comprehend it.

At this stage in the game though, he and I are kind of looking at this from two different directions. I look at this motion as a vanguard, or that beginning spark, in this House to say, “What is it that we are going to do?” We are going to be left behind in legislation, just like we are left behind on WIPO, so the copyright legislation that we are talking about here has to look at all this.

One of the things that Michael Geist talked about in his intervention was that we need copyright legislation that is flexible, one that is illustrative, not exhaustive. That is a valid point. That is where Bill C-61 went wrong because it was overly prescriptive in nature. There are 12 ways in which one can break the law in certain areas, when in fact it should be illustrative, as to say, “This is what we need. This is the spirit of the law, which says that one is stealing something as opposed to using it fairly”.

Canadian HeritageCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 26th, 2010 / 12:45 p.m.
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Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is a very pertinent question. Indeed, yesterday, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage heard the well-known Michael Geist, who gave an extremely astute presentation on the comprehensive digital strategy. While he said some very pertinent things on some points, on others I would say that he is out of touch with artists.

I agree completely with Mr. Geist when he says that we need a comprehensive digital strategy. In the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, only the Conservative members did not get that. We could see it again this morning with the Canada media fund. This is a new patch for digital because the government has no strategy and no vision for the transition to digital or for digitization. There is only tinkering around the edges while Michael Geist thinks, like me, that we need a comprehensive vision.

Mr. Geist is completely right about copyright, as well. Bill C-61 was already obsolete the day it was introduced. It talked about videocassettes when everybody was already using MP3 files. Bill C-61 created all kind of problems and was already obsolete.

I also agree with Michael Geist when he says that we need new copyright legislation. I totally agree with him on that, but I do not agree with his reluctance to give the royalties on iPods to artists on the pretence that they have other sources of income like live shows. I consider that everybody has a right to be paid for what he or she does when he or she does it.

Canadian HeritageCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 26th, 2010 / 12:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I was at committee yesterday when we spoke to Michael Geist. In her speech the member gave the impression that she did not really agree with what he was saying. However, there is one aspect of it with which I think she would agree, which is to say that he did go on to say that further debate is needed on this. I believe in that as well and here is why.

The copyright issue has never faced a full debate in the House even though several bills have been introduced. It was debated back in the early part of the last decade but since bills C-60 and C-61 there really has not been a full vetting of what is going on. I think that is what Mr. Geist was also saying and I am sure she would agree.

Would the member agree that furthering the debate certainly would be beneficial for us as parliamentarians?

Canadian HeritageCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 26th, 2010 / 12:20 p.m.
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Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I move that the 1st report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, presented on March 17, be concurred in.

I will discuss the issues related to the motion. Today, the Bloc Québécois is moving adoption of the report.

I will begin by reading the motion passed by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

That the Committee recommends that the government amend Part VIII of the Copyright Act so that the definition of “audio recording medium” extends to devices with internal memory, so that the levy on copying music will apply to digital music recorders as well, thereby entitling music creators to some compensation for the copies made of their work.

There can be no doubt that people must be paid for their work. All workers have the right to earn wages, even my colleagues and me. Artists and craftspeople have the right to be paid for what they do and create. Consumers have the right to load the CDs they have legally purchased onto their iPods without feeling like they are breaking the law every time, without feeling like criminals.

The motion I presented to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, which was adopted, sought to update existing legislation. Since the 1990s, there has been an exception in the Copyright Act to do with private copying.

The exception allows consumers to copy material for their personal use. In return, they are asked to pay a tiny fee when purchasing the blank medium they use to make copies. Everyone here has paid this fee, and I am sure that I have too. It is 24¢ for audio cassettes, although very few people buy those nowadays. For CDs, the fee is 29¢.

The problem is that CD sales have declined dramatically, but consumption of music has not. There is a problem. Video cassettes are not included in the Copyright Act's private copying exception and never have been. Some might think that is too bad, but it took a long time to update this 1997 legislation.

Two years ago, the Conservative government introduced Bill C-61. The bill proposed adding video cassettes to the list. Unfortunately, the process took so long that nobody was even using them anymore, or at least, very few people were back then, and even fewer still use them now. The technology has become obsolete.

To avoid having the same thing happen with MP3 players and iPods, the Bloc Québécois is proposing, by means of the motion I had adopted by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, that we act swiftly to keep up with advances in technology and add iPods and MP3 players.

Unlike what the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages claims, this has nothing to do with BlackBerrys, laptops or iPhones. The minister is using scare tactics. We are talking about MP3 players, and the most well-known brand is the iPod.

This is not complicated. We are not trying to wage a new war. We do not want to change a principle. The principle is already there; it exists in the legislation. We are not trying to create a new one. We simply want to modernize the Copyright Act and add this temporary solution while we wait for a new Copyright Act. Since technology is developing quickly, we are worried that a new technology could already be invented and in use before we have a new Copyright Act and that it will be too late. As I mentioned earlier, we must act quickly.

I would like to give a bit of history. I remind members that in its 2003-04 decision on the private copying tariff, the Copyright Board of Canada approved the application by the Canadian Private Copying Collective, the CPCC, to have levies collected on flash memory cards embedded in iPods and other MP3 players, which the commission designated as digital audio recorders.

The Federal Court then ruled that the commission had erred in its decision and threw out the CPCC's case. Since then, this collective has tried to speed up the modernization of the act and to have it changed to include MP3 players, which is a good thing. The goal is essentially to ensure that artists are paid for their work.

I have an example to show that artists are not always paid for their work. On December 3, the Minister of Industry, a Conservative minister, gave a radio interview with CBC. During that interview, he bragged to host George Stroumboulopoulos that he had downloaded 10,000 songs to his iPod. He bragged about it.

The interviewer, Mr. Stroumboulopoulos, asked him twice whether he had obtained all those tracks legally and the minister started laughing. The interviewer repeated the question and asked the Minister of Industry again whether all the tracks had been obtained legally and he laughed again. He was unable to clearly state that he had acquired all the tracks legally and that all the music he had downloaded onto his iPod had been paid for in accordance with the Copyright Act.

Yesterday, in the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, a respected university professor, Michael Geist, told us it is not so bad if artists, singers and musicians do not get paid for all their recordings because they can make up for those losses by putting on shows and earn money in other ways. He was reluctant to agree with a levy on MP3s.

I asked him whether he would agree to being hired as a university professor, but not paid. I told him that he is now known as a university professor and he could give talks and find other sources of income. He did not answer my question. In any event, it was not the best of questions; comparisons are always clumsy. Nonetheless, people have to get paid for their work and not just for things they do on the side.

When an artist makes a recording they have to rent a recording studio, and the recording studio does not give shows all across Quebec, Canada or the world. Professionals, sound engineers and the producer make the recording. I am talking about music, but there are also visual artists and authors whose work ends up on iPods and MP3s. The photographers, the printers and the cover designers all have to get paid for their work.

How can we expect all those people to earn an income any other way? It is unthinkable.

Last Friday we got some surprising support from the Edmonton Journal. I want to bring this editorial to the attention of the House. It ran last Friday, one week ago today. I will read the editorial in French. I tried to translate it, but I am not a professional translator. I have a lot of respect for translators. This is more of an interpretation, and I did the best I could. I chose certain sentences, so it is not a word-for-word translation and I hope that you will not judge my translation skills. Please do not think that I am bragging.

The title is Creative content must be paid for, which I translated as On doit payer pour le contenu artistique . I hope that that is correct and that I started off on the right foot.

Before I begin reading, I should say that the same day I managed to have a motion adopted authorizing a levy for artists on the purchase of iPods, the member for Timmins—James Bay, my NDP colleague, introduced a bill containing exactly the same proposal. Obviously, the Edmonton Journal is talking more about the actions of a federalist member than a Bloc member. It is surprising enough that it would support someone from the NDP; we would never have expected it to go so far as to support a motion from the Bloc. But the objective is what counts, and the Edmonton Journal supports it and ran a whole article about it. This is what it had to say. Once again, this is not a translation but, rather, an interpretation.

It's not surprising, says the Edmonton Journal, that the people of the world have warmly embraced the idea of getting creative content for free. Most of us understandably prefer not paying for something whenever possible, even when securing the product gratis technically breaks a rarely enforced statute.

And the editorial in the Edmonton Journal continues.

Downloading music, it says, is a good example because everyone does it. It's true that some of us always dutifully buy our music online, from sources such as iTunes—I would say, rather, sites like Archambault in Quebec—which do distribute royalties, however imperfect the system.

And I would add that this is true for all systems everywhere.

But millions either don't do this, or share with others what they have purchased, making crooks of 11-year-olds, at least in the eyes of the law.

That is how the Edmonton Journal puts it.

Recognizing this reality some years ago, the Canadian government, along with others around the world, began levying a small fee on all blank recording media used to copy music, such as CDs.

Canada's private copying levy—that is its name—was introduced by the Canadian Private Copying Collective, which is a non-profit, independent organization founded in 1997 to distribute monies collected from retailers and consumers to musicians, record companies, publishing firms and other copyright holders.

The sky hasn't exactly fallen in over that legislation, although some retailers, unrepentant pirates and libertarian types have continued a bitter fight railing against the fees for years.

On the other hand, the tough-talking record companies and their agents, who beat the garbage can demanding severe penalties for perceived offenders, must also be taken with a mine shaft of salt.

I repeat, that is the opinion of the Edmonton Journal.

What has changed over the past 13 years is digital technology. These days, most of the file-sharing taking place—and expanding exponentially—involves the next generation of devices. Royalties would be added to the purchase price of only MP3 or IPod players, not computers, tablets or phones. The new legislation would help balance the interests of both consumers and creators.

In this editorial published in the Edmonton Journal, from which I am quoting rather freely, as I said, our colleague from the NDP, the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay, is quoted as saying that artists have a right to get paid and consumers have a right to access their works. That is important. Digital locks and suing fans are not going to prevent people from copying music from one format to another. By updating the legislation—I am still quoting the hon. member—, we will ensure that artists are getting paid for their work, and that consumers are not criminalized for downloading their legally-obtained music from one format to another. The comment by the member for Timmins ends here, but the Edmonton Journal editorial continues.

While all this seems like a perfectly reasonable compromise, to hear the Conservative government tell it, it is the Boston Tea Party circa 2010. Personally, I would talk about a revolution. The Minister of Industry, misrepresenting its contents, denounced the bill as “total nonsense”.

One might have thought that the Minister of Canadian Heritage would defend creators, but we know that he defends many causes which are not that of creators. This minister also distorted what was suggested in the proposed legislation, talking as if it included a levy on BlackBerrys, iPhones and laptops, railing oddly that consumers deserve lower, not higher taxes.

According to the Edmonton Journal, it is true that the royalty distribution system in Canada is far from perfect, but record companies have not exactly always been a paragon of fair-dealing when it comes to honestly compensating artists.

The system overlooks lesser known artists. The system is not perfect but it is about time that we, as a society, face the fact that those who create cultural content should be given fair compensation for their work, something we all desire.

The Edmonton Journal added that it usually does not support NDP bills, but that the bill introduced by the member for Timmins—James Bay is fair and balanced and worthy of everyone's support.

As I stated earlier, the bill introduced by the member for Timmins—James Bay is identical, word for word, to the motion we are presently discussing and that I was able to have the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage adopt.

The Edmonton Journal concludes that the Conservatives are clearly playing pandering politics, and that hopefully the opposition parties and independently-minded Conservatives will sign on to a compromise that upholds basic Canadian values of straight dealing.

That is the end of my quotes from the Edmonton Journal,, and the end of my translating. You will have realized that it was a very loose translation. The main ideas are there but I am obviously not a translator.

The Edmonton Journal is not the only one to agree. In general, the public feels that artists should be paid for their work.

A nation-wide poll conducted in June 2006 by Environics Research Group confirmed that 60% of Canadians believe that creators should be compensated when unauthorized recordings are made of their music. The same poll indicated that of those Canadians who make private copies of recorded music, 80% feel that a royalty of 30¢ for CD-Rs and CD-RWs would be fair and reasonable. it currently stands at 29¢.

In a similar vein, 79% of Canadians who make private copies stated that a $40 levy on iPods—which is a lot—or other 30GB digital audio recorder would be fair and reasonable. We should remember that a 30GB iPod costs several hundred dollars and that a $40 levy on an iPod has never been considered. What had been suggested previously was an amount between $2 and $25.

A 30GB digital audio recorder can hold up to 7,500 songs or the equivalent of 500 CDs. That is much more than can be listened to in one week unless that is all you are doing.

On the weekend, in Quebec City, when the Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert riding association presented this same motion to the Bloc Québécois general council, it was our executive's youth representative, Frédéric Burque, who presented it. He is not even 30.

Who supported this important motion presented by the riding association executive? The Forum jeunesse, a strong, energetic, realistic youth wing that is in touch with the concerns of young Quebeckers. It was the Bloc Québécois Forum jeunesse who supported the Bloc motion.

Who voted in favour of the motion recommending royalty levies on iPods? Everyone. It was unanimous. The 75 riding associations, the citizenship committee, the national bureau, the leader of the Bloc Québécois—everyone in the Bloc Québécois, from young to old, agrees with this motion.

In the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, who voted in favour of this motion? How did we manage to adopt this motion in this committee? I moved the motion and my Bloc Québécois colleague from Drummond, who, of course, has the interests of artists at heart, supported it. The member from the NDP was also in favour of such a bill since he introduced a similar one the very same day.

Two of the three Liberal members also voted in favour of the motion; the third abstained. Who was the sixth voter? A Conservative, the chair of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage himself. The hon. member for Perth—Wellington even wrote a letter to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and a letter to the Minister of Industry to ask them for changes that would modernize the legislation. The words he used are exactly the same ones used in this motion.

In closing, I hope this motion will be adopted. Unfortunately, it will not become law, but if adopted, it will send a clear message to the Conservative government to change the Copyright Act and make this correction as soon as possible.

This message also means that the new Copyright Act the government is cooking up will have to include an exception for private copying, with levies not only on obsolete audio cassettes, but also on CD-Rs, CD-RWs and digital audio equipment such as MP3 players.

March 25th, 2010 / 11:35 a.m.
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Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I certainly appreciate being here.

Mr. Geist, I always find it interesting to listen to you. Thank you very much for your comments here today.

I very much appreciated it when you talked about the silos of telecom broadcasting. I think you're fundamentally right on that. With respect to young people being active on copyright, I can say that's certainly true in my riding. I know a lot of people became active on Bill C-60 and Bill C-61.

I know you were quite a strong opponent of Bill C-61. Some people had the impression that you oppose any copyright measures. But as you've said this morning, you in fact support copyright policy in terms of implementing WIPO “notice and notice” of fair dealing. I appreciate those comments. I think you're recommending to the government that it be a smaller and more streamlined bill that's technologically neutral.

In the discussion on copyright, you also talked about creators and users. It's a real challenge in terms of the new online environment to ensure that creators are compensated for the work they do, including a person who writes a song, a producer, and all the way down the line for any field.

Could you comment on how to ensure that we actually compensate creators in the new online environment?

March 25th, 2010 / 11:25 a.m.
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Prof. Michael Geist

We're in absolute agreement that there is a desperate need for a national digital strategy. I would note that the five areas that I highlighted aren't designed to be comprehensive. When we talk about a digital strategy, I think digital strategy involves a number of other areas as well.

What I've heard from the government, paying attention to the Speech from the Throne and some of the things that the industry minister has said, is that strategy may be forthcoming. So I think a lot of us are waiting with bated breath to see precisely what the government has in mind.

I think you're right, that it is long overdue, and I don't think it's just this government. I think, in many ways, we've spent about 10 years going sideways, doing virtually nothing. If you take a look back, from a digital perspective, we had a very solid strategy in the late 1990s. At the time there was an industry minister, John Manley, who was in that same position for a long time. He took it as one of his issues, and it laid the groundwork for a whole series of policies, from privacy legislation to ensuring that all school were connected to a whole range of different things. I think it was a very positive development.

We have spent the last 10 years, through successive governments from both parties, not doing very much. I think the kind of declining rankings that we see, let's say in the telecom area, is a direct result of that. It's almost resting on our laurels, as it were. So I absolutely agree.

You mentioned the need to deal with copyright. I certainly agree with that, and I also hear from the Speech from the Throne that it's happening. I would note that one of the criticisms we saw when the last bill was introduced, in terms of Bill C-61, aside from the substance—I'm happy to talk about the substance, of course—was the lack of public consultation on this issue. In fairness, last summer the government conducted what was, I thought, the best, most open copyright consultation we have seen. More than 8,000 Canadians took the time to respond to that consultation.

If anything, it provides our elected officials with a clear indicator that this matters, certainly to creator groups and to industry groups but also a huge amount to individual Canadians as well. When you do a government consultation in the middle of the summer and 8,000 people turn up to submit their views, this matters.

March 25th, 2010 / 11:05 a.m.
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Professor Michael Geist Chair, Research in Internet and E-Commerce Law, University of Ottawa

Great. Thank you, Chair.

Good morning. As you heard, my name's Michael Geist. I'm a law professor at the University of Ottawa, where I hold the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law. I'm also a columnist on law and technology issues for the Toronto Star and the Ottawa Citizen. I was a member of the national task force on spam; I was on the board of directors for many years for the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, CIRA, which governs the dot-ca domain name; and I sit on the Privacy Commissioner of Canada's expert advisory board, but I appear before this committee today in a personal capacity and represent only my own views.

The committee posed several questions, but I think two capture the essence of the issue. First, how have developments in digital media changed the new media environment? Second, what can government do? I'd like to try to take a stab at least at opening some discussion on both.

First, how have things changed? As we move from a world that was largely characterized as one of scarcity to one of abundance, I think we're seeing Canadians play an important role. Record labels like Nettwerk Records in British Columbia or Arts&Crafts in Toronto are at the forefront of using the Internet to promote their artists and benefit from its great potential. Notwithstanding some doom and gloom, the Canadian digital music market has grown faster than the U.S. market each of the past four years. In fact, we rank seventh worldwide for digital music sales, which is virtually identical to our sixth-place ranking for offline music sales.

The Canadian entertainment software industry is growing at a breathtaking pace, with regular investments in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia. It's not legal frameworks that are dictating the investments but rather Canadian talent, creativity, and marketplace success. Smaller players are finding success in new markets as well, like iPhone and Facebook applications. The Canadian television network The Score is a North American leader for its online application. Companies like Polar Mobile now supply applications for the iPhone to a global market.

Canadians also play a key role in new book models. For example, Wikitravel is one of the Internet's most acclaimed travel sites. It was launched in 2003 by two Montreal residents, Evan Prodromou and Michele Ann Jenkins. They used the same Wiki collaborative technology that's proven so successful for Wikipedia, inviting travellers to post their comments and experiences about places around the world in an effort to create a community-generated travel guide. The site has accumulated more than 30,000 travel guides in 18 different languages, with 10,000 editorial contributions each week. Content is licensed under a creative commons licence that allows the public to use it, copy it, edit it, and freely work with it. Building on that success, they've established Wikitravel Press. It represents a new approach to the travel book publishing business based on Internet collaborative tools and print-on-demand technologies.

Now, the compelling stories aren't limited just to new entrants. Consider the National Film Board of Canada. I don't expect the NFB to replace YouTube in the minds of many when it comes to Internet video, but a series of innovations has highlighted the benefits of open distribution and the potential for Canadian content to reach a global audience. Last year, just months before the NFB celebrated its 70th anniversary, it launched the NFB Screening Room, an online portal designed to make its films more readily accessible to Canadians and interested viewers around the world. To meet its objective it committed to being as open, transparent, and accessible as possible, including making the films freely available and embeddable on third-party websites.

In January 2009, just over a year ago, it started with 500 films. Today that number has nearly tripled, with almost 1,500 films, clips, and trailers, and the growing selection has been accompanied by a massive increase in audience. There have been 3.7 million online film views just in that first year alone: 2.2 million from Canada and another 1.5 million from the rest of the world. That's set to grow as the daily views, just in January, were 20,000 Canadian films by the NFB. That's per day.

The site also uses mobile technology to increase public access. In October of last year, just a few months ago, it launched an iPhone application that was downloaded more than 170,000 times and led to more than half a million views on the ubiquitous mobile device.

Similarly, the CBC has experimented with new distribution models. In 2008 it released a high-resolution version of the program Canada's Next Great Prime Minister without any copy protection on BitTorrent, the peer-to-peer protocol that's often linked with unauthorized file sharing. The public was able to download, copy, and share the program without any restrictions.

The use of BitTorrent may come as a surprise to some who mistakenly equate file sharing solely with infringing activities. BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer technologies are finding increasing favour with legitimate businesses attracted to its ability to distribute content in an efficient, cost-effective fashion. It has become particularly important for Canadian independent filmmakers and creators, who see it as a cheaper way to distribute their work.

In fact, the CBC's model was inspired by what the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation had done. It had earlier used BitTorrent to distribute Nordkalotten 365, one of that country's most popular programs. It proved successful, with tens of thousands of downloads at virtually no cost to the broadcaster.

These are a tiny fraction of the success stories we see today. We could canvass sector by sector to see how the Internet is proving enormously valuable to creators, consumers, and producers. But I want to turn to the question of what the Canadian government should be doing. I point to five issues as a starting point for discussion.

The first is Canadian networks. Canadian telecommunications networks were once the envy of the world. That's no longer, as we now rank far from the top in virtually every international ranking. Ensuring that Canadians have access to high-speed networks that rival current leaders like Japan and South Korea should be a top priority. I acknowledge that this is often perceived as an industry issue, but there is a critical heritage dimension here. We need to recognize that policies on high-speed networks and competitive wireless pricing are directly linked to new media success, since they are key distribution systems of Canadian digital content. This involves addressing several issues.

We need universal access so that all Canadians can access this new media.

We need to promote investment in fast fibre-to-the-home services so that Internet-based distribution models can take hold and remove the bottleneck that sometimes arises from either limited screen space or limited channel availability that has hampered some Canadian creators in the past.

Assist Canadians to become part of the creative and participative process. Many of us recognize that the line between creators and users is increasingly blurred today, and we need networks that facilitate both participation as well as consumption.

Finally, we need to ensure that we enforce network rules of the road, including net neutrality and traffic management guidelines, so that all content is afforded an equal opportunity and doesn't fall victim to limited access based on the kind of content or the program used to distribute it.

The next issue is digitization. I think there are few issues more central to new media policy than digitization. Most countries have recognized the need to ensure that national content is both preserved for future generations and made more readily accessible to the public. But in Canada, plans have languished to the point that it feels as if someone has hit the delete key on the prospect of a comprehensive Canadian digital library.

Our failure to keep pace has become readily apparent in recent years. Just by contrast, in September 2005 the European Union launched i2010, a digitization action plan. Several years later Europeana debuted—a website that provides direct access to more than 4.6 million digitized books, newspapers, film clips, maps, photographs, and documents from across Europe. The plan is to host 10 million of these objects by the end of this year.

By comparison, Canada is still largely stuck at the digitization starting gate. Library and Archives Canada was given responsibility for the issue, but was unable to muster the necessary support for a comprehensive plan. The Department of Canadian Heritage would seem to be a natural fit for a strategy designed to foster access to Canadian works. It has funded a handful of small digitization efforts, but has shown little interest in crafting a vision similar to what we see in Europe with Europeana.

The next issue is government as a model user. In recent years many countries have embraced open data initiatives, including both the United States and the U.K. Others, such as Australia, have adopted open licences to make sure that government content is more readily usable and accessible. We have started to see some of those same things in Canada at the municipal level. Cities such as Vancouver, Edmonton, and Toronto are leading the way.

Open government data is consistent with government transparency goals, and holds great economic potential by inviting Canadian businesses to add value to public data. Canadian policy should encompass principles such as open government data, the removal of crown copyright, and more open licences for government data, including things like government video, as well as a commitment to at least equal opportunities for procurement around open-source software. We should be, as a federal government, much like we see at the municipal level, talking about open data, open standards, and open-source software.

Fourth is cultural policy. Canadian cultural policy has long focused on the creation and promotion of Canadian culture. The government has already begun to shift much of its support toward new media and digital platforms. As we move from a world of scarcity, with limited bandwidth and difficulties in accessing culture, to one of abundance, where there is nearly unlimited access to culture, Canadian policies must shift as well from what I think are increasingly unworkable regulations that limit access to foreign content, toward efforts that back the creation and promotion of Canadian content.

In many ways, cultural policy is more relevant than ever. What we have to do is ensure that it becomes relevant by being effective in the current environment. In fact, with a new spectrum auction planned within the next couple of years, I think strong consideration should be given to earmarking some of those proceeds for a digital strategy, including digital cultural funding. We can use some of that revenue directly in this area.

Finally and fifthly, I can't help but deal with it: copyright. It goes without saying that copyright policy is an important part of a government strategy on new media. As part of that policy, I think it's absolutely crucial to ensure that we maintain in the online world the copyright balance that exists offline. This means that creators receive appropriate compensation and have the flexibility they need to be able to create. It means that users maintain their user rights. It means that companies don't face an intellectual property thicket when they attempt to innovate in this space.

I'd point to three key areas here. First off, Canada should implement the WIPO Internet treaties. That said, the WIPO Internet treaties offer considerable flexibility in how they are implemented, particularly around the issue of anti-circumvention rules--digital locks--a fact that was recently confirmed in a Conference Board of Canada report on intellectual property. This means that we can implement the treaties and link it to circumvention where there is actual copyright infringement.

Secondly, there is the issue of intermediary liability, largely thought of as ISPs. Frankly, I think this should be an easy one. Both of the digital copyright bills that we've seen in the past, Bill C-60 and Bill C-61, adopted the same approach: notice and notice. This involves a copyright holder sending a notification to an ISP, which is then obligated to send on that notification to a subscriber.

These notifications work. The Business Software Alliance has noted their effectiveness, as many users receive the notification and alter their conduct accordingly. In fact, recently, the Entertainment Software Association of Canada pointed to its own study, which found that 29% didn't respond to the notice, leaving an impressive 71% that did. I think those are pretty strong numbers.

Thirdly, there is fair dealing. Today, we all recognize that there is a problem with fair dealing. Everyday activities such as recording television shows or format shifting aren't covered. Artistic endeavours like parody aren't covered. Some teaching activities aren't covered, and innovative businesses can't rely on the provision either. This goes to the heart of new media creation.

The solution I'd propose, which I think is a clean, simple one, would be to add two words--“such as”--so that the current list of fair dealing would become illustrative rather than exhaustive, and we would build in flexibility, but--this is crucial--not lose fairness. It is fair dealing, not free dealing. Incorporating a “such as” provision would incorporate all the restrictions that currently exist within the fair dealing framework to ensure the uses are fair, but at the same time would ensure it is not limited to the narrow series of categories we currently have.

This is an exceptionally exciting period of time, I think, filled with potential for creators, consumers, and Canadian business. The Internet and the digital world offer new ways to meet the challenges of yesteryear, such as a lack of screen time, barriers in reaching an audience, and, increasingly, the high costs of production, particularly around distribution.

I think it's great to see this committee grappling with this important issue. I welcome your questions.

CopyrightStatements By Members

April 27th, 2009 / 2:05 p.m.
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Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, illegal downloading is hurting artists. They get nothing for their work, while Internet service providers benefit from it.

The Copyright Act does not contemplate the impact of new technologies, such as the Internet, and it should be amended as quickly as possible. Everyone deserves to be compensated for their work, so we must ensure both that creators receive their due and that consumers can take advantage of this new way to access their work.

Bill C-61, which the Conservatives introduced in June 2008, demands no accountability from the industry. Instead, it attacks consumers, who pay Internet service providers for access.

In honour of World Intellectual Property Day, which was yesterday, the members of the Bloc Québécois will ensure that the new Copyright Act is fair and does a decent job of protecting creators' work.

February 9th, 2009 / 4:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Would you say that Bill C-61 was flawed or had flaws that you want to fix?

February 2nd, 2009 / 4:45 p.m.
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Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

The committee met for the last time on August 26 when we were doing some very important work on behalf of Quebec artists. You will see what I mean, Mr. Chair.

I am going to go right to my motion. It is not hard to find because it reflects the three last sentences of the August 26 minutes.

I move that the committee discuss the recent elimination of federal government funding programs for arts and culture, and that the committee hold a meeting on Wednesday, February 4 on the recent elimination of federal government funding programs for arts and culture, and that the members of the committee send the committee clerk a list of witnesses by a date to be decided, possibly next Friday.

As for copyright, this is dealt with in Bill C-61that the government tabled in the House of Commons last June 12. It is a government bill. We are all anxious to see this bill become law. It is a priority of the minister, it was in the Speech from the Throne, and we all appreciate it. The bill will most likely be studied by the Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, in whose area it lies. The government could also decide to establish a legislative committee.

August 26th, 2008 / 1:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

On a point of order, Mr. Chair, the employee of the month of the PMO should know that this is not about Bill C-61. This is about cuts to programs. It's specific. We don't have the legislation on Bill C-61, so I think he's out of order.

August 26th, 2008 / 1:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Conservative Peterborough, ON

I have so many good things to say. I'll try to slow down a little. I apologize.

Ms. Nash talked about artists, producers, commercialization, distribution, and so forth. I want to talk a little about Bill C-61 and how this government has moved to protect artists and conceptual property rights--to protect artists so they get value for their goods. That's something our government has moved forward on. Although the previous government signed on years and years ago to protect artists, they abdicated that responsibility and did nothing about it. We are moving on that, and I would suggest--

Copyright ActRoutine Proceedings

June 12th, 2008 / 11:20 a.m.
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Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Industry

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-61, An Act to amend the Copyright Act.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)