Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
We've been attempting to work with the government to fix the fundamental flaws of this bill, but we've seen no willingness on their part to address the two great downfalls of this bill. The first is the attack on the royalties and the attack on the creative community that we see throughout this bill. The second is the attack on the rights of average citizens to actually participate in the digital age without worry that they may perhaps be seen as criminalized.
This is on the digital locks provision, because under this bill the digital locks provision allows the corporate interest to override any of the rights that are guaranteed to an ordinary citizen. We're not talking about people who are breaking TPMs, technical protection measures, in order to steal content. We're not talking about undermining legitimate business models. What we're talking about is the ability of a citizen to extract through a TPM work for which they have a legal right to do so. The Conservative position is if you don't like it, don't buy the product. It's not the basis of the rule of law that a corporate algorithm decides if your right is accessible or not.
We had a very good example the other day from the archivist who said if a historic film is on a DVD and they don't know the owner of it, they're not allowed to extract that work because they're technically breaking a digital lock and therefore they're engaged in criminal behaviour. That seems to me a far cry from the legitimate need to ensure that, for example, the gaming industry is protected in terms of its right to make sure that its product isn't being stolen. We're talking about the legitimate legal rights of Canadians here.
Now, the bill does allow exemptions for network research, the interoperability of computer programs for policing and intelligence operations. But we would say the reasonable question is why don't we link the prohibition of breaking digital locks to actual acts of infringement, rather than presuming the criminality of every Canadian who engages in the digital realm?
Our amendment is as simple as it is important. In the first half it's a linking of the criminal penalties for violation of digital locks to copyright infringement, and (a) refers to the access to a work, while (b) refers to the use of the work. This is a crucial reform that has been endorsed by virtually every consumer advocacy group in this country, including several witnesses we've heard from, like the Canadian Consumer Initiative. They have talked about the need to clarify the difference between breaking locks for criminal purposes and for infringement purposes, and the ability to break a lock because you were extracting content for use in research, or for example in the creative community for documentary work.
We've heard from entrepreneurs who fear that a regressive digital locks regime will directly threaten innovation and significantly hamper Canada's ability to compete, and from creator groups warning that flawed lock rules may be as big a threat to their livelihoods as piracy itself. We've learned of the disastrous impact of such imbalanced measures that they've had in the United States. We actually see, even under the deeply flawed American DMCA legislation, they recognize the need that DMCA is not to override certain basic constitutional rights that citizens have in order to extract works.
We therefore say with our colleagues that we can amend this. We can be WIPO-compliant. We can ensure that we are protecting the new business models that are emerging and that rely on TPMs, while not unnecessarily interfering with the legal rights of Canadians and not leaving Canadians exposed as potential criminals through these onerous digital lock provisions.