This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

Evidence of meeting #11 for Bill C-11 (41st Parliament, 1st Session) in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was amendment.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Robert DuPelle  Senior Policy Analyst, Copyright and International Intellectual Property Policy Directorate, Department of Industry
Mike MacPherson  Procedural Clerk
Anne-Marie Monteith  Director, Copyright and International Intellectual Property Policy Directorate, Department of Industry
Gerard Peets  Acting Director General, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Strategic Policy Sector, Department of Industry
Drew Olsen  Director, Policy and Legislation, Copyright and International Trade Policy Branch, Department of Canadian Heritage

9:05 a.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

Good morning, members, ladies and gentlemen.

Welcome to the 11th meeting of the Legislative Committee on Bill C-11. I'd like to welcome our officials from yesterday, who will be with us until the end, and I'd like to welcome back all members.

Again, just a friendly reminder that we are televised and that where we left off yesterday when the bells occurred was on clause 35 and we were discussing amendment LIB-10. From what I can recall, the Conservatives were speaking at that time, so I could hand it back to you, Mr. Del Mastro, if you are interested in speaking a little more on Liberal amendment 10.

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Conservative Peterborough, ON

Mr. Chairman, I wanted to thank the officials for their comprehensive answers to my questions. I'm now satisfied that I can vote against LIB-10. Thank you.

9:05 a.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

Great. Thank you, Mr. Del Mastro.

(Amendment negatived)

Moving on to the second amendment, government amendment 5, I want to mention, as I mentioned yesterday, that there is a line conflict with Liberal amendment 11. So if this amendment is adopted, then Liberal 11 cannot be proceeded with.

With that, I'll ask Mr. Lake if he is moving the amendment.

9:05 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

I am, and I will turn to the officials and have them explain how this impacts the bill.

9:05 a.m.

Robert DuPelle Senior Policy Analyst, Copyright and International Intellectual Property Policy Directorate, Department of Industry

This is a series of technical amendments that amend clause 35, which provides safe harbour provisions for Internet service providers.

Specifically, there are three safe harbour provisions: for mere conduit services; for caching services, which is copying done for network efficiency; and for providing hosting services.

The first two technical changes relate to conditions in caching content. Specifically, there is a change in relation to the requirement that the ISP respond to directions from the content provider as to whether to cache the material or not, and we're proposing to change the amendment so it ensures these are in line with industry standards.

A similar amendment is applied in relation to the ISPs' obligation to not interfere with the collection of user data.

The third change has to do with a specific carve-out in relation to those who are liable under the new enabler provision. There was a concern that this carve-out might only apply to the first safe harbour. We're moving that clause so it will now apply to all three safe harbours. As a consequence, there is a re-numbering.

9:05 a.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

Thank you to the officials and to Mr. Lake.

(Amendment agreed to) [See Minutes of Proceedings]

(Clause 35 as amended agreed to on division)

(On clause 36)

9:05 a.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

Is there any discussion on clause 36?

9:05 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

We have an amendment.

9:05 a.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

You have an amendment, okay.

Mr. Angus, will you be moving it, or will Mr. Benskin?

9:05 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

I'll pass it over to Mr. Benskin.

9:05 a.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

Mr. Benskin, will you be moving NDP-10?

9:05 a.m.

NDP

Tyrone Benskin NDP Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Yes, I will.

As with all of our amendments, this is a really straightforward amendment that we believe everybody can support. What it will do is bring additional clarity to the new rights accorded to Canadians with perceptual disabilities without undermining the core intent of this law or unduly disadvantaging rights holders.

We propose the creation of a specific exemption under clause 36 in BillC-11 to clarify that it does not constitute copyright infringement for an individual with perceptual disabilities or someone working with a recognized non-profit organization on their behalf to break a digital lock for the sole purpose of making the material perceptible to someone with a disability.

The rationale for this proposed change is fairly simple. We've heard from groups like the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, educators working with Canadians with perceptual disabilities, and individual concerned citizens about the potential for this flaw in the legislation to be exploited to wrongly criminalize work done on behalf of Canadians with perceptual disabilities.

The CNIB cogently makes the point that this committee should not be in the practice of enshrining in legislation business models based on technology frameworks that restrict accessibility. We agree and believe that this change can assist Canada in developing a more balanced, inclusive system of content distribution for blind citizens.

This is a relatively simple change that will provide better clarity to people working on behalf of the blind and open new opportunities for them to enjoy a relatively limited field of literature, film, and text adapted to the formats they require. It is our sincere hope, on their behalf, that the government will entertain and accept this modest but important change.

9:10 a.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

Thank you, Mr. Benskin.

There's a small error in the amendment. The first word, "to", does not need to be there because it's in the preceding paragraph, in subsection 32(1). We don't need to say "to" twice.

If you can move that, we can just say that we've removed that extra "to".

9:10 a.m.

NDP

Tyrone Benskin NDP Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

So moved.

9:10 a.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

Perfect. We'll do it that way.

Is there any further discussion from the New Democrats? Seeing none, I'll move to Mr. Regan.

Mr. Regan, you have the floor for five minutes.

9:10 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

I agree with this amendment. It seems to me that for a person with a perceptual disability, as we heard from witnesses, they're going to have a tough enough time accessing any material. They'll have a tough enough time accessing the means to circumvent a digital lock. So if they can pass all those hurdles, to say that they still aren't allowed to do it.... To say that it's basically criminal, if they proceed in that fashion in order to be able to access it, makes no sense.

We heard very clearly that for a person in that situation, let alone to be able to access it, to be able to put it back in the condition it was before they circumvented the digital lock is next to impossible.

How many times is that going to happen? I ask my colleagues on the government side if they foresee this being a problem if they don't pass this amendment. Can they describe for us the situation in which they feel that it would be a problem for someone who had managed to circumvent the digital lock because they had a perceptual disability and they couldn't put it back on? What kind of a problem would they see that creating, and how often do they think it's going to happen?

9:10 a.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

Thank you, Mr. Regan.

(Amendment negatived)

We'll move on to the next amendment, NDP-11. Will this amendment be moved?

9:10 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Yes. I'll turn it over again to Mr. Benskin.

9:10 a.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

Mr. Benskin.

March 13th, 2012 / 9:10 a.m.

NDP

Tyrone Benskin NDP Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Thank you.

Further to the same point, the issue of accessibility, Canada's official opposition has been clear throughout this process that we believe copyright laws should be fair to all implicated parties, taking special account of the needs of Canadians with disabilities.

At the core of the grievances expressed by Canadians with perceptual disabilities and their advocates is the relative scarcity of materials available in a format that is usable by their community, both at home and abroad.

Mr. Workman, from the Alliance for the Equality of Blind Canadians, on February 27, for example, reminded this committee that less than 10% of published works available in Canada are ever adapted to a format suitable for use by his clients.

This limited availability represents a defining reality of the market for alternative format culture products, which has led to the development of elaborate and mutually beneficial cooperative networks for the production of, sharing, and making available cultural materials across international borders for persons afflicted by perceptual disabilities. For example, Canadians with disabilities benefit tremendously from access to American and British repertoires of translations, adaptations, recordings, and reproduction of materials in formats suitable to their distinct needs.

Our proposed amendment is therefore a simple one: that a specific protection be accorded to Canadians with perceptual disabilities and their legitimate advocates for the practice of importing and adaptation of protected work, which they would have legally been permitted to create had it originated in Canada.

This amendment reflects the stated needs of blind Canadians without opening the system to abuse. It has potential to greatly enhance the availability of adapted material for our citizens here at home and open new markets for adapted Canadian content abroad.

We respectfully ask that our colleagues consider supporting this amendment. .

9:10 a.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

Thank you, Mr. Benskin.

Mr. Regan, the floor is yours for five minutes.

9:10 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to speak in support of this motion as well.

People who are at home and may be hearing this and not watching it may not understand that the last motion was defeated because the Conservatives voted against it. It strikes me that this again is an obvious motion. If we apply some common sense, we can see the need for it.

I hope my colleagues in the Conservative Party, when they signed up to be a Conservative candidate, didn't promise to check their brains at the door and just do whatever they're told. I've certainly seen in past governments when Liberal MPs would in fact oppose what ministers did and ignore what ministers wanted, and proceed to using their common sense. That's the role of members of Parliament.

We have an amendment here that would make it possible for groups like the CNIB to distribute materials to their members. If this motion is defeated, it is because the Conservatives voted against it because they don't agree with ensuring that the CNIB and groups like them can provide these kinds of materials. I find that most unfortunate, if that's their view, Mr. Chairman.

9:15 a.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

Thank you, Mr. Regan.

Mr. Del Mastro.

9:15 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Conservative Peterborough, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I'll try not to get too offended by the comments by Mr. Regan, as baseless as they were. He's new. He never sat on Bill C-32, and perhaps he's unaware of the features in the bill. But Mr. Regan should know that the bill does very specifically have a carve-out under digital locks, allowing for circumvention for the very individuals he's speaking of.

With that, I'll pass it off to Mr. Lake, who I believe has a question for officials.

Mr. Regan is either knowingly or unknowingly causing confusion and disseminating facts that are in fact incorrect.

9:15 a.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

Thank you, Mr. Del Mastro.

Mr. Lake.