Copyright Modernization Act

An Act to amend the Copyright Act

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in March 2011.


Tony Clement  Conservative


In committee (House), as of Nov. 5, 2010
(This bill did not become law.)


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

This enactment amends the Copyright Act to

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

(b) clarify Internet service providers’ liability and make the enabling of online copyright infringement itself an infringement of copyright;

(c) permit businesses, educators and libraries to make greater use of copyright material in digital form;

(d) allow educators and students to make greater use of copyright material;

(e) permit certain uses of copyright material by consumers;

(f) give photographers the same rights as other creators;

(g) ensure that it remains technologically neutral; and

(h) mandate its review by Parliament every five years.


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.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / 11:05 a.m.
See context


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

Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois believes that Bill C-32, whose goal is apparently—I repeat, “apparently”—to update the Copyright Act, does not achieve that objective. The Bloc also believes that it needs to be amended in committee in order to do justice to artists, copyright holders and copyright in the truest sense of the word. Without amendments, this bill will be unbalanced and will favour large corporations at artists' expense. I will explain this.

The approach in this bill is disheartening. The government says it is helping artists, but it is not putting its words into action. Yesterday, in the House, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages said that on May 10, 2006, the Bloc had voted against the Conservatives' budget, which included a 20% increase in the Canada Council's budget, but that is an error. I do not know whether it is unparliamentary to use the word “error”, but the fact remains that the Bloc voted in favour of the Conservatives May 10 budget that included a 20% increase. It was not an increase so much as a cut to the increase previously announced by the Liberals. The Liberals had announced a $150 million increase, which was then reduced to $30 million. We see that the minister is twisting words and passing himself off as someone who is helping artists. He says he is helping them, but he is not. The Bloc Québécois obviously voted against the bill the government introduced in 2009 to take money away from artists.

My point is that the principle has not changed. What the government and its ministers are saying and what they are doing are two different things. It is all well for them to keep saying that they are helping artists, the fact remains that the approach in this bill is totally unbalanced. In fact, what this bill does is help major U.S. companies.

It is too bad that people are not listening because some interesting things are being said. Madam Speaker, can you please ask the hon. members to be quiet? Thank you, I think that calm has been restored.

This bill is totally unbalanced because it benefits major U.S. companies and major computer gaming software companies to the detriment of artists. There are two totally disheartening approaches in this bill and seven deadly sins, if I can put it that way.

The first approach is one using digital locks. Sure, we can say that digital locks are necessary, and that they must be respected, but to base an entire bill on them is a bit much. With this bill, the government is telling artists that if they want to make money, all they have to do is put digital locks on their musical works to prevent anyone from copying them. If people want to make a copy for themselves, or to transfer the music to another format, it would be absurd to make them buy the original work again. That makes no sense, and it will not work. We are talking about the survival of artists and their art here, and this is important for many reasons. An approach based on digital locks is completely ludicrous.

This bill was developed for the big American film and video game companies, and digital locks meet most of their needs. For these big American and European film and video game companies, the government did a good job.

But the bill does not address the needs of artists. Artists do not want to put locks on their musical works. They do not want to restrict the distribution of their works; they want people to be able to enjoy them. But for that to happen, we need to modernize the Copyright Act and maintain the royalties and levies in the existing act. But that is what the government does not understand.

I spoke about seven deadly sins. The first should come as no surprise, since I was the one who moved a motion in the House to modernize the current Copyright Act in order to maintain the levy on digital music recorders, a motion that was adopted by a majority in this House.

Not having these royalties is like depriving artistic creativity of oxygen. Not having these royalties means that artists will no longer earn enough to continue doing what they do. I am not making this up. Earlier, the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Canadian Heritage spoke about taxes. It is incredible that ministers who should be sensible and should understand the meaning of words are using the wrong words and giving disinformation in order to reach their goal, which is to help American companies.

The system of copying for personal use needs to be updated. This system exists already; it is already in the law. We just need to add “digital audio recording equipment” to “cassette” and “CD”.

The exception known as the “YouTube exception” allows a mother to post her son's first steps on YouTube along with music, used in good faith. That seems nice enough but it opens the door to a whole slew of music piracy. The scope of this clause needs to be reduced, and these so-called works created from other works should be banned. That is exactly what it means to respect artists' rights.

In addition, Bill C-32 should require broadcasters to pay for ephemeral copies. Again, this clause is poorly written, unbalanced. It benefits broadcasters and, again, takes money from artists. It takes away royalties that would come to them.

And the damages that a copyright owner could be paid should definitely not be capped at $20,000. That is like saying that any pirate can put $20,000 on the table and can make millions of dollars with a copy they have made. It makes absolutely no sense to cap damages for a work that has been copied.

We must also make Internet service providers more accountable. There are two ways of doing so. On the one hand, they could contribute to content costs, as called for by AGAMM, an association that maintains that free music is a myth. This Quebec artists' association wants Internet service providers to pay them royalties. On the other hand, we must also make Internet service providers more accountable by forcing them to be proactive to stop piracy. I am not convinced that the notice and notice system—as it is commonly known—is working. That is, when people realize their work has been copied, they inform the Internet service provider, which simply sends a letter. I am not convinced that this works. It would be very interesting to examine this aspect in committee and look at the consequences of an escalating response. We definitely need to examine this aspect very seriously. However, it is clear that the status quo is not enough.

As I said earlier, the seventh deadly sin of this bill is the digital lock, which cannot be the cornerstone of a bill to protect copyright. This would mean that consumers could no longer make copies for their own use on their MP3 players. The minister said earlier that everyone supports digital locks. That is false. Consumers' associations do not support digital locks. The following quotation is from a news release dated June 4, 2010:

The Canadian Consumer Initiative or CCI [an umbrella group of consumer protection agencies] deplores the fact that, with this bill to reform the Copyright Act introduced earlier this week [on June 2], the federal government is once again abandoning consumers and giving in to the demands of corporations.

The members can read it. It was dated June 4 and can be found on the Canadian Consumer Initiative website and the Union des consommateurs du Québec website. It is quite interesting and explains why this will not help consumers. When the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Industry say that no one opposes protection measures, they have it all wrong, because in fact, many people object to these digital locks. Once again, the Conservatives are denying reality.

The Bloc Québécois wants to amend this bill in committee. We think it needs to be amended according to four basic principles. First, we have to find a way to compensate artists and copyright owners. Musical works are not free. Music is not free.

Music belongs to artists, and artists have the right to be compensated when people listen to their music in different formats. We have to encourage creation and dissemination. That is the Bloc Québécois's second principle: supporting dissemination.

New technologies improve access to the things people create, and consumers should be able to benefit from that. I doubt that digital locks will support that. We have to promote the dissemination of artistic works on all existing platforms. Through its subsidy programs, the government must support dissemination via new media without negatively affecting conventional media, which are often where new works appear in the first place.

As I said earlier, music is not free. That is why the government must launch an information and awareness campaign for large, medium-sized and small consumers, who need to understand that music belongs to artists. People can buy CDs, they can buy music online and they can listen to it on, but they must respect artists when listening to music. If they do not, creation, production and design will suffer, and we will be overtaken by culture from other countries, especially by American music.

We also have to crack down on what I call professional piracy. We know there are websites where piracy professionals make multiple copies or allow point-to-point or peer-to-peer transfers. This allows people to download and listen to music online for free. We have to crack down on this. We cannot just tell these pirates that it will cost them only $20,000 in damages every time they use a work of music. The bill, as written, may not be harsh enough. As far as damages are concerned, it is quite clear that we cannot limit the price of a work of music to $20,000.

In the upcoming debates on the so-called Copyright Modernization Act, it is clear that the Bloc Québécois will defend its principles any way that it can. We saw yesterday in the House with regard to the TradeRoutes and PromArt programs that this government does not defend artists and does not help them. In fact, the government does more harm than good. Bill C-32 will do more harm to artists than good. A number of groups are going to lose a lot, particularly in the publishing community. With the addition of a fair dealing exemption, some francophone publishers will end up closing their doors. What textbooks will we find in schools? They will be textbooks from other countries that have protected their culture and the copyright of their creators.

This government does not protect artists. It does not protect copyright and it does not protect copyright owners, which is consistent with its long “anti-artist” history. The Bloc Québécois truly hopes that, throughout Quebec, the jurisdiction of arts and culture will be transferred to the Government of Quebec. There is an overwhelming consensus on this. Quebec takes care of its artists, and one way it does that is by helping them tour internationally.

The Government of Quebec helps artists and copyright owners. The education sector is treated very well by the Government of Quebec, which pays royalties to publishing companies and artists when schools use their artistic works.

For the Bloc Québécois, the transfer of responsibility for arts and culture to the Government of Quebec would be a step towards what we really desire—our own country. Not only do we want to manage all our areas of activity, but we also want to support and help our artists.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / 11:20 a.m.
See context


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

Madam Speaker, in the tone of this debate, there seems to be two sides arguing vehemently against each other about the right for picking up for artisans and groups. I thought the minister of heritage made some good points earlier about how the government intends on doing that through Bill C-32, the copyright legislation.

On the other hand, however, the Bloc seems to think that it has the best points by which it will protect artists when it comes to this legislation. I do not doubt the Bloc on that, but I wonder where she thinks the government has gone off the rails when it comes to supporting artists regarding this legislation.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / 11:25 a.m.
See context


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

Madam Speaker, what I said and what I have noticed since becoming the heritage critic is that this government says it helps artists. However, when we take a closer look, we realize that this is not true, especially since it did not want to modernize royalties on musical works in Bill C-32. This means that artists will lose millions of dollars every year.

In the current legislation, there is a system of royalties for private copying. People can copy a musical work onto a blank CD, which is legal and helps artists. In fact, when purchasing a blank CD, a consumer pays a royalty of a few cents that goes to a collective society, the Canadian Private Copying Collective. This is a complex but rather fair system. The collective pays out to the artists the royalties it collects year after year. In good years, these royalties can amount to tens of millions of dollars.

However, under the current legislation, royalties are paid only on four-track audio cassettes, which few people use anymore, or blank CDs. It would be easy to include digital recording devices. It would truly modernize this bill and allow the Canadian Private Copying Collective to collect these amounts on every purchase and to distribute them. The consumer could make a copy at home on an iPod or MP3 player, no matter the brand, responsibly and lawfully.

That is the spirit of the existing law. If we want to make that spirit relevant to our times, we must add recording devices. It must be done. If we want to continue helping artists, that is how we can do it. A little help often lets artists do a great deal. This bill drains the lifeblood from artists, who will have a great deal less income and who will suffer.


Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / 11:25 a.m.
See context


Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague seems to be focusing on the fact that the government is not looking for the remuneration of artists in this bill. In fact, key areas where remuneration has existed in the past seems to be undermined. The Conservative government's argument is that by simply having sacrosanct protection for digital locks, the market will rebound, artists will be fed and everything will continue on.

I am at a loss to understand how simply codifying absolute legal protection for digital locks, even when it overrides rights that exist within the bill, would actually make the market rebound and how artists would be able to make a living, because, as we know, anybody can pick any digital lock that exists now if they so choose.

Does my hon. colleague think that the balance is missing here? On the one hand, we need to protect works from being stolen and pirated, which is why legal protection for digital locks was sanctioned. It is very clear and it is very important to have to that. However, simply putting digital locks across the board is not a substitute for having a clear monetizing stream for artists so that artists can continue to do what they do and can continue to benefit from the copyright and the rights of their works.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / 11:25 a.m.
See context


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

Madam Speaker, I have a two-part answer.

First, some artists' rights agencies got together recently and asked their boards of directors what advantages Bill C-32 had for them. It became clear that there were no advantages. Not only were there no new royalties or levies, but the old ones were being taken away. Obviously this bill cannot be balanced.

When we asked a group of people involved in the cultural sector whether they prefer Bill C-32 exactly as it stands—we still need to modernize the Copyright Act because it has not been updated since 1995-96—or whether they prefer no bill at all, the answer was unanimous and came from the bottom of their hearts. They do not want Bill C-32 as it stands, because it will take away the royalties and rights they already have. I would say that the publishing community has no idea that the new exemption will cause it to die slowly.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

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

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.


James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Madam Speaker, I would like to respond to the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay, and perhaps the hon. member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert could add her thoughts on this matter.

We are not suggesting that artists and creators should not be supported by a government regime to protect what it is they have created and to find ways to monetize that. That is not at all what we are saying. We are saying that in the consultations that we had with regard to this legislation, no effective proposal came forward with regard to the private copying regime in this country. It, frankly, does not make sense.

My colleague from the Bloc Québécois keeps talking about downloading and MP3s. She does not mention applications like Stitcher and streaming online services. People do not download music now and then pay for the download. People are now streaming media online. There are whole new services now for streaming music.

Therefore, the proposals that she has talked about but has not written down so we cannot see the details of it, does not actually fit the current regime of how people are consuming music. It does not work. It is a solution for 1995. It is not a solution for 2010 and 2015. What she is proposing is window dressing. It is not actually substantive in dealing with the issue of the private copying regime. It does not actually substantively do it.

We are not pretending that this legislation fixes all things at all times. However, first, it does mandate a five-year ongoing permanent renewal of Canada's copyright regime, but, second, we tried to stop the bleeding.

We can disagree about how the music industry may or may not be monetized because none of us have owned software companies or video game production studios. We cannot pretend that we know how other companies will decide to monetized but we can agree and I hope we can all agree that we need to stop the bleeding. We need to make pirating and theft illegal in this country. We need to ensure that those who are creating in an effort to make a living out of what it is they love doing, which is music, software and video game publishing, are not being ripped off. That is article one.

We can agree to disagree on the issue of the private copying levy and the iPod tax, or however we want to talk about it, but let us agree with one thing, which is that Bill C-32 gets it right. We are going to make piracy illegal, protect those who are creating and ensure that they have an opportunity to move forward in this new economy. That is the first thing that we need to do and I hope the member will agree with that.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

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


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

Madam Speaker, digital locks are not a response to requests from artists. I would like to challenge the minister to show me what aspect of Bill C-32 benefits artists. It cuts their royalties and it creates exemptions for education. And numerous new exemptions make it so that artists, copyright owners, people and authors who would be entitled to revenue are now losing it.

Some have even said that this goes against the WIPO treaty because there is a section in that treaty saying that a country does not have the right to take away benefits that artists already have.

Second, I would like to know how artists will make more money with digital locks. Once, I bought a CD. I downloaded it because, no matter what the minister says, 90% of people still download their music. I tried to download it, but there was a digital lock on it. What happened? I listened to it once and that was it. That is what will happen.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

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


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.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / 11:50 a.m.
See context

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.


James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Madam Speaker, first, I agree with the point on which my hon. colleague began and ended his speech.

Yes, we are open to suggestions on how to improve this and ensure this goes forward. I appreciate the NDP's support to send the bill to a legislative committee. The reason why we would want to send it to a legislative committee, as I said, is so we can be open to receiving ideas that make sense.

I did want to push back and perhaps disagree with my hon. colleague, and he will have the last word to disagree with my disagreement. I have a couple of points.

First, I agree with him. Obviously the DMCA experience in the United States is something that we chose not to do as a government. We chose not to go in that direction.

There is one key element of the DMCA in the United States that he and I agree on and that we do not think is a good Canadian policy, and that is the idea of notice and take-down, which is in the American dynamic. We have proposed in the legislation notice and notice. We think that is pro-consumer and errs on the right of individual citizens rather than the presumption of guilt. We think that is the right thing to do.

His private member's bill with regard to the private copying levy is badly written. It is one thing to criticize the government for what is in the bill and another to criticize it for not putting things in the bill. There is a reason it does not address the private copying levy in the legislation. The proposals that came forward in our consultations were just unworkable. They did not make sense in the modern era.

The member's private member's bill is, with respect, badly written and it would not pass through the House of Commons even though the member may have some allies on the other side of the House of Commons who agree with him in principle. The member's own proposal is, frankly, unworkable.

With regard to education and libraries, the member criticized some elements of the bill. By the way, this is a perfect example in this very debate about the balance that our government has tried to strike. The Liberal critic for industry has said that our government has gone too far in support of students and suggested that we had not done enough to allow people who wrote textbooks to be compensated. My hon. colleague is saying that the things we put in place in the legislation with regard to education materials after a course is done go too far in the other direction.

Therefore, we have tried to strike the right balance. Did we get it right in the end? Well, time will tell. We think we have given a real genuine effort here to try to get it right.

With regard to libraries, the member said that librarians were upset about the legislation. That is factually not true. The Canadian Association of Research Libraries said, “we applaud the government”. It said that it had responded to the copyright reform concerns expressed by the library and education community. It said that the government had clearly listened to what the library and education community had said.

This is what we have tried to do with the bill. We have tried to get it right. If the member has a reasonable proposal, he should bring it forward. We tabled the legislation five months ago. We are waiting for substantive, specific amendments to it, which will actually improve it and ensure that Canada stays on the cutting edge of intellectual property law.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / 11:55 a.m.
See context


Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, I was interested in my hon. colleague's suggestion that the idea of updating the levy did not make sense. This levy has been in existence in Canada for years. What does not make sense is the Conservative government's full on attack on it. Even the backbenchers, the guys who sit over there in the cheap seats, still send out mailings ranting about the killer iPod tax. The Conservatives have decided to use this for personal ideological means and misrepresent what the levy does.

I was surprised to hear the member's suggestion about getting it right on digital education. The government is creating a two-tier system. Students who take long distance education will have to destroy their notes. That is not a balance. That is just plan whacky and bizarre.

The member says that librarians support this. Librarians do not support it. The Canadian Library Association said that it was disappointed that long-standing rights, the heart of the copyright balance, as well as new rights, were tempered by the overreach of digital locks. The same position was taken by the Canadian Booksellers Association and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

The member said that every artist in the country supports the legislation. They do not. I have spoken with SOCAN, ACTRA and AFofM. I have also spoken with Quebec artists. These groups have told me that the bill is wrong because it does not get the balance right.

The minister can wave around the names of his so-called friends who support the legislation, but until we address the digital lock provision, until we address the issue of remuneration, the bill will remain fundamentally flawed.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / 11:55 a.m.
See context


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

Madam Speaker, in the heritage committee, we heard input from individuals about new copyright and the new digital age. One artist, Loreena McKennitt, talked about her struggle in this business. She had to lay off people in her own production house and the like.

According to the member's speech on digital locks and the like, in order for artists like that to recover would they not have to be incredibly litigious? Would they have to constantly go to court to do this if the law is made more flexible? It is just a question. I am not speaking on behalf of any particular point of view because that concern comes up constantly.

I would like my colleague to comment on something that Sara Bannerman recently wrote in an article about copyright. She said:

—Bill C-32 includes some made-in-Canada solutions on narrow issues but, on broader issues, abandons made-in-Canada solutions in favour of a more American maximalist approach.

Does my colleague agree with that?

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / 11:55 a.m.
See context


Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, if we talk to any of the travelling musicians, at the end of the day they will not have the resources to go after people who break a digital lock on their CD. They are interested in the monetizing stream whereby a collective licence will be in place so they can get paid for their work.

In terms of the made in Canada solution, we have to look at this issue closely. The government has recognized that as a result of the real lawsuits, the heavy duty fines and so on, that going anywhere near that approach would be political kryptonite. Even the Conservatives will not go there. However, they are sticking closely to the U.S. DMCA model on absolute protection for digital locks. We do not see that as a balanced approach. Even the U.S. backtracked this summer on the DMCA provisions for exemptions.

We had a made in Canada solution, which was a monetizing stream for artists through the levy. The Conservatives have waged total scorched earth war on that. Yet they are drawing a line in the sand on digital locks, which is very similar to the U.S. Ironically, this has put them further out in the field than the U.S. DMCA by the fact that no exemptions would be allowed for rights that would normally be accessed under the bill. That is fundamentally problematic and we will have to deal with that if this bill is to go forward.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / noon
See context


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

Madam Speaker, my question is clear. The member for Timmins—James Bay has read the bill, just as I have. He has met with a number of cultural organizations, so he knows what he is talking about. Can he tell us what there is in Bill C-32 that is good for artists? What benefits will artists get from this bill?

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / noon
See context


Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, in fairness, one of the things the bill has moved further on is some of the provisions in the former bill. In the previous bill, people could format-shift to a VHS, but not to an iPod, which was just crazy and cracked. The government has cleaned up some of the problems, but I do not see anything for artists and how they will benefit from this.

There is a great concern within the artistic community that some of the few revenue streams artists have enjoyed will be erased by this bill, and that is not a balanced approach. At the end of the day, copyright is always based on a balance between the ease of access for the consumers, for the users, and the fact that artists are remunerated for their works.

The government has taken away the remuneration. It has offered a chimera of rights of access, but those rights can be erased by a corporate imposition of the digital locks. Will Sony love this? Perhaps. Will the Hollywood movie industry like the bill? Perhaps. However, artists who I talk to in the field, the actors, the musicians, the writers, are very concerned because they see their traditional revenue streams disappearing. They have no interest in limiting the access to their works. They want to support students and consumers in enjoying their access. They just want to get paid for it. Until we fix that, we will have problems with the bill.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

November 2nd, 2010 / noon
See context


Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the constituents of Mississauga—Streetsville, I am happy to join the debate on Bill C-32, the copyright modernization act.

The last time we significantly amended the Copyright Act was in 1997. Like other countries, Canada continues to transition to a digital economy. This transition has had a profound effect on our artists, writers, musicians, software developers, filmmakers, photographers and other creators of copyright material.

For years, file sharing of music and video and large media storage in general has been possible, yet still a difficult task for most Canadians to accomplish. Today, transferring gigabytes is as easy as opening up the Internet browser. The world has changed and it is obvious Canada needs to keep pace to modernize its copyright legislation.

What has changed? Not long ago we were listening to eight-track tapes, cassettes and Sony Walkmans. We communicated through voice mail, not email, and fax, not instant messaging.

Today it is difficult to find children or adults alike who do not own an iPod or portable musical device. BlackBerrys, iPhones, laptops, iPads are seen everywhere and society has become dependent on them. Checking email and Facebook, sharing pictures and video, listening to music through one means or another have become integral parts of everyday life. Digital media is pervasive and omnipresent.

At one time Canada was a leader in the digital economy. In recent years though, our laws have fallen behind and we lag in global best practices. Our copyright laws are dated and we have received international criticism because of it. On this side of the House, we welcome modernization, but we want to do it right. We will agree to send the bill to committee at second reading. However, let me be clear. The bill needs work. It has numerous flaws and requires revisions and amendments at committee stage. The Liberal Party wants to make sure this work gets done.

Record labels, libraries, students, artists, authors, publishers, photographers, collective societies, video game creators, professors, consumers, film producers, educational resource centres to name a few have all come forward to show their discontent with the current status and structure of the bill. I have met with numerous stakeholders on this matter, and as my colleague from Westmount—Ville-Marie mentioned earlier, I have never had more requests for meetings and discussions than for Bill C-32.

In summarizing the complaints, I heard the following: “The bill tries to deal with piracy, but instead, it strips the industries of millions”. Also, “Intellectual property is not only a legal right, it is a human right”.

According to Jim Fleck, chairman of Business for the Arts:

Hill Strategies reports that Canadian consumers spent $25.1 billion on culture goods and services in 2005, more than consumer spending on household furniture, appliances and tools ($24 billion)....The output by the culture sector totalled: $46 billion in 2007, which was 3.8% of Canada's real GDP. If we were to include the induced and indirect impact, the value-added climbs to $84.6 billion.... The Conference Board estimates that 1,000,000 jobs are created by the cultural sector, representing 7.1 per cent of Canada's total employment in 2007.

Liberals understand that the rights of creators need to be protected and maintained, yet the fundamental rights of Canadians to access digital media must also be respected. Our goal is to find that middle ground.

Today I will be addressing some key flaws of the bill, primarily: one, a ratified collective licensing regime; two, technological protection measures, TPMs; three, file sharing; and four, statutory damages.

First is collective licensing and fair dealing. In 2004 a Liberal government legislated to allow for institutions such as libraries, museums, schools, their teachers and students to have access to materials under a collective licensing regime for fair dealing. These institutions have rights to materials for studying purposes. Unfortunately, these rights can be taken for granted and misused.

While students are expected to use materials for a finite period of time, sometimes the temptation to keep music or video is too great and many times simply overlooked.

The bill as it stands lacks a clear definition of “fair dealing”. This is a key component for our party and we will seek that definition in committee. Our goals are to offer materials for educational purposes, eliminate abuse and allow authors, artists and creators of the materials fair compensation, but at the same time give our students fair and affordable ways to obtain that information.

Two is technological protection measures, or TPMs. The exact amount of losses due to piracy is anyone's guess. Some report it is a $5 billion loss to the music and video industries. For years, the solution was thought to be digital rights management, DRM. Billions of dollars have been spent on the creation of software embedded into digital files which monitor the purchase method, the date and the amount of times a file has been used and/or transferred. Although this practice appears foolproof for combatting piracy, arguments can easily be made about the anti-constitutional measures.

Bill C-32 does not address the fact that when consumers purchase digital files for personal use, consumers assume, and expect to have, complete usage of those files without limitations and without restrictions.

Digital locking, or TPM, in Bill C-32 seeks to go even further than DRM by using file lock mechanisms. The circumvention of TPM in this bill requires extensive review.

We believe the Copyright Act must allow Canadians who have legitimately purchased media files the ability to transfer their purchase onto personal devices for their own personal use or to format or time shift or to make personal backup copies on their computer as long as they are not doing so for the purposes of sale or transfer to others.

There has been a common ground between balancing the rights of the creator and satisfying the consumer. We do not believe that Bill C-32 does either one. We look forward to examining these options further and finding that common ground.

Three is file sharing. A fundamental right in the digital age is the ability to share files. The whole concept of the Internet at its inception was to do just that. Peer-to-peer, or P2P, connection is a standard business practice. It allows for large file sharing among co-workers, clients, developers and anyone with an Internet connection. P2P has become the single most effective way of sharing large digital media. Unfortunately, it has also become a means for piracy. When two computers can communicate with each other and allow for file sharing, there are no restrictions on what can be shared.

Do members remember Napster? The case was supposed to set the precedent in the world to combat abusive and illegal digital file sharing. Napster was forced to pay $100 million for its P2P methods and infringing practices. What followed was the birth of penalties for those who share copyrighted files over the Internet without paying for them, but as we know, the piracy continued.

As a way to disguise P2P connections, Bit torrents have become a common piracy technique. Torrents were designed to track multiple share points of files and help for fast and steady download. Torrents are easily found through any Google search.

How do we stop P2P? How do we stop bit torrents? Quite frankly, we cannot, but appropriate penalties are a start. Copyright laws are only as good as the enforcement that accompanies them. Certainly in the age of the Internet, until some of this is sorted out, it remains, as we say, the wild west.

Four is statutory damages. Bill C-32 defines new statutory damages for infringement of copyright, but once again it is regressive.

We have many concerns with this section. How effective can it be to decrease the statutory damages? The government is proposing to reduce infringement damages from $500 up to a maximum of $20,000, to as low as $100 up to a maximum of $5,000. A main focus of the damage is to target individuals who download music from a peer-to-peer file sharing service.

I have already made the argument that P2P cannot be stopped. If peer-to-peer cannot be stopped and it is being used for piracy, then damages must be commensurate with the severity of the infringement.

In conclusion, there is no easy solution for modernizing Canada's copyright laws. I will not pretend to have all the answers. However, I can commit to working with all stakeholders on one hand and looking after the fundamental rights of Canadians on the other.

Listening to music while on the bus, walking or jogging, or watching videos on a two-inch screen or hearing last night's news from a podcast have become a way of life.

At the end of the day, my colleagues and I on this side of the House understand that the rights of the creators need to be maintained and protected, yet the fundamental rights of Canadians must also be respected. Our goal is to find that happy middle ground.