Evidence of meeting #136 for Industry, Science and Technology in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was content.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Gerald Kerr-Wilson  Partner, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright
Scott Smith  Senior Director, Intellectual Property and Innovation Policy, Canadian Chamber of Commerce
David Fewer  Director, Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic
John Lawford  Executive Director and General Counsel, Public Interest Advocacy Centre
Dan Albas  Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, CPC
David de Burgh Graham  Laurentides—Labelle, Lib.
Michael Chong  Wellington—Halton Hills, CPC
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Michel Marcotte

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Dane Lloyd Conservative Sturgeon River—Parkland, AB

I appreciate that. Thank you.

My next question is for Mr. Smith. In your capacity, are there any recommendations from other countries on how they've dealt with the issues that you've raised today? Would you have any recommendations from what you've seen abroad, in terms of what has been effective at protecting your stakeholders?

4:30 p.m.

Senior Director, Intellectual Property and Innovation Policy, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Scott Smith

I refer to it in my testimony, so you can go back and look at those specific reports. I think the European Union and Australia are both good examples of where the site blocking and the de-indexing approach have had some success.

I wouldn't want to limit the idea that we only need one tool in the quiver. I think there are multiple approaches to this. Having as many tools as possible to manage the problem is what's going to solve the problem.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Dane Lloyd Conservative Sturgeon River—Parkland, AB

One of the other recommendations was opening up the CRTC for more people to be involved. What's your view on opening up the CRTC? Do you think that would be harmful or helpful for the process?

Mr. Wilson, you can also jump in on that if you want.

4:30 p.m.

Senior Director, Intellectual Property and Innovation Policy, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Scott Smith

In terms of how we've approached this, the FairPlay submission asked the CRTC to be an arbitrator of online content. That was rejected and has moved back to this forum.

We're suggesting a competent authority now. Obviously, that is the courts.

4:30 p.m.

Partner, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright

Gerald Kerr-Wilson

Can I get some clarification? Do you mean opening up the Copyright Board process?

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Dane Lloyd Conservative Sturgeon River—Parkland, AB

Yes, I mean opening it up to more litigants and groups like public interest groups.

4:30 p.m.

Partner, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright

Gerald Kerr-Wilson

I think the challenge is that the Copyright Board was conceived as a replacement for market negotiations. You have a monopoly. You can't have a market negotiation, so you bring the buyer and the seller together in a regulated price. There really wasn't any room for public interest intervenors in what was really a buyer-to-seller transaction, because the board wasn't supposed to do policy. It was just an economic rate-setting tribunal.

I think we've seen that the board now does policy. It is the tribunal first instance for a lot of important copyright questions.

I actually agree with David. I think there is a role for more input from a broader range of groups on issues of public policy. I don't think you necessarily want to have groups weighing in on every price-setting mechanism—on whether the price per square foot for background music is fair or unfair—but where the board's interpreting copyright law for the first time, other perspectives are useful.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Dane Lloyd Conservative Sturgeon River—Parkland, AB

I appreciate that. Thank you.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Dan Ruimy

Mr. Jowhari, you have five minutes.

November 5th, 2018 / 4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to the witnesses. It's good to see some of you coming back here, and welcome to the rest.

I'm going to start with Mr. Smith. In your testimony you talked about piracy site-blocking tools available that could deal with some of these offshore sites. You talked about multiple approaches.

Can you share one of those leading approaches that's being used to effectively deal with piracy through site blocking?

4:35 p.m.

Senior Director, Intellectual Property and Innovation Policy, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Scott Smith

Do you mean one with site blocking that is working? Australia's a good example.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

What is the tool, specifically?

4:35 p.m.

Senior Director, Intellectual Property and Innovation Policy, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Scott Smith

Essentially, where there is an order going to an ISP to block a site coming through their systems....

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Is that order through legislation? What is the criteria for the ISP to—

4:35 p.m.

Senior Director, Intellectual Property and Innovation Policy, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Scott Smith

It's a demand order.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Is that demand order given through the legislation?

4:35 p.m.

Senior Director, Intellectual Property and Innovation Policy, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Scott Smith

I think it's an injunction through the courts.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Someone makes the complaint to the court. The court gives an injunction to the ISP provider and the ISP provider blocks it.

4:35 p.m.

Senior Director, Intellectual Property and Innovation Policy, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Scott Smith

The ISP executes it.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Let me go to Mr. Lawford. What are your thoughts on that one? I understand you object to site blocking.

4:35 p.m.

Executive Director and General Counsel, Public Interest Advocacy Centre

John Lawford

Right.

You could do what you're suggesting in the Federal Court. You could have a site-blocking order. I think the reason it was brought into CRTC was that there was this idea that if they did it in CRTC, the CRTC could issue an order to block all ISPs, whether that ISP came and asked to be able to block or not. In Canada, if Bell comes and asks to block, you can be pretty sure TekSavvy's going to not want to come and block.

Do we want that blanket regime—which I think is what is being proposed, although I'm not quite sure from what people are saying today—or do we want to have it in court? In court, generally, you can't get that kind of across-the-industry order. I think what's going on with this administrative version is that they want to have a wide net. That's my theory.

You could do it. It is being done in other countries where there is a blocking order. I know they tried to institute it in the U.K. and backed off from it. Now they just use the copyright law.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

In general, how long does it take to get a blocking order?

4:35 p.m.

Executive Director and General Counsel, Public Interest Advocacy Centre

John Lawford

I don't know exactly how long it takes to get a blocking order. I've seen that there are a couple of cases where Bell Canada has gotten them in Canada. I believe one of the witnesses came and said it took two years in one case. I think that would be on the long end.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Lawford, in your testimony you suggested that piracy is being driven by broadcasting market power. Can you expand on that?

4:35 p.m.

Executive Director and General Counsel, Public Interest Advocacy Centre

John Lawford

Sure. The theory is that if content on the traditional platforms is priced at a fairly high level because the companies are vertically integrated and there's not much competition, Canadians are just frankly fed up with paying so much. That makes it more tempting to cut some of your costs by pirating a bit here and there. I believe some Canadians fall into that group. They're paying prices that are probably due to market power in that sector, and they may be too high and it's their protest vote, if you will.