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

4:45 p.m.

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

Gerald Kerr-Wilson

I guess. Could you restate the question?

4:45 p.m.

Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, CPC

Dan Albas

The question is this: Are we encouraging, by not having.... Is it a market failure, that we are...because we are driving people to seek the content they want in the format they want, but it's not available unless they apply for these other services.

4:45 p.m.

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

Gerald Kerr-Wilson

I think players operating in a legitimate market, without unauthorized and illegal alternatives or competitors, will have to respond to consumer demand. Any licensee will have to respond to consumer demand or they risk not getting a return. If you can't sell enough subscriptions or sign up enough subscribers, then you're not going to get a return, and you have to rethink your marketing, but if every product and every service is marketed based on that supply and demand mechanism, what's the alternative?

You don't artificially constrain a pricing system because there's unauthorized or illegal alternatives in the market. That's a distortion.

4:45 p.m.

Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, CPC

Dan Albas

I think the music industry certainly has.... If you look at piracy, that's no longer an issue, because they've easily—

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Dan Ruimy

We're going to move on.

4:45 p.m.

Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, CPC

Dan Albas

That was a seven-minute one.

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Dan Ruimy

We're really over time on that one. Amazing how that happens.

Mr. Sheehan, you have somewhere in the neighbourhood of five minutes.

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Terry Sheehan Liberal Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Thank you very much.

I appreciate the testimony, and it's great going towards the end because we have an opportunity to discuss some things that perhaps we haven't discussed.

The first question will be for the Chamber of Commerce. I'm from Sault Ste. Marie and we have a very large chamber of commerce, with a diversity of membership and cultural mediums of every kind. We have the IT players and there's always a great discussion around copyright. One of the discussions—and it's poured into this committee and also into the heritage committee—is about compensating those in the cultural trade in our community. In particular, I think of the visual works of art and resale rights that would allow creators to receive a percentage of subsequent sales of their work.

Do you have any comments or a perspective on that? Let's say a painter sells a painting once, and then the painting is resold but the original artist does not receive compensation. In other cultural industries, they do receive some sort of royalty or compensation. Have you guys explored that?

4:45 p.m.

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

Scott Smith

We don't have very many members in the visual arts space, so it's a difficult one for me to comment on, other than if there were contractual arrangements when the artist sold the painting, for instance, that any future copies made of that painting...and copyright should follow the work. If there are prints made of it in the future, yes, there should be some kind of royalty for that.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Terry Sheehan Liberal Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Some other things were brought up, like a revisionary right that would bring the copyright holder's work back to an artist after a set amount of time, regardless of any contracts to the contrary. Then, of course, there's granting journalists a remuneration right for the use of their works on digital platforms, such as news aggregators. Have you guys explored any of those changes to copyright that would be able to compensate those creators?

4:50 p.m.

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

Scott Smith

Compensating journalists for...?

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Terry Sheehan Liberal Sault Ste. Marie, ON

It's something that has come up over a few testimonies. We heard it in Vancouver. We heard it in different places. It's granting journalists a remuneration right for the use of their works on digital platforms, such as news aggregators. Are you familiar with any of that?

4:50 p.m.

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

Scott Smith

We haven't explored that at all.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Terry Sheehan Liberal Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Overall, though, in a general sense, I'm trying to figure out how you feel. How do we balance Canada's innovation agenda, which is encouraging people to explore and use new technologies in the marketplace, versus people—and we've heard from both sides—from the cultural community who want to see fair and just compensation? Any suggestions on how we deal with that or strike that balance, whether a copyright law or something outside of the copyright regime?

November 5th, 2018 / 4:50 p.m.

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

Scott Smith

I think a lot of that balance already exists in copyright law. I know the last round has addressed a number of concerns that you're referencing. In terms of compensation back to rights holders and the ability to enforce their rights against infringement, it has much more to do with the relationship between businesses and consumers than it does with researchers. The fair dealing in Canada is fairly robust in terms of the ability for researchers to access the material they need.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Terry Sheehan Liberal Sault Ste. Marie, ON

To Mr. Fewer, you were talking about it during your testimony. You felt that subjecting digital locks to the fair dealing regime would be a sufficient balancing of rights and user rights. Could you comment on that?

4:50 p.m.

Director, Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic

David Fewer

It would be a sufficient balancing. Looking at the anti-circumvention provisions themselves, I think it's useful. Is it sufficient? Probably not.

If you take a look at the legislation, there are ample, specific exemptions for libraries, archives, museums. These are institutions. They are not piracy sites. These are organizations that operate in the public interest, by definition, and they rely on fair dealing, but they also have other exemptions built into the act that benefit them to deal with their specific issues.

Why should those be stripped away in the digital context, merely because the content is distributed on a DVD with regional coding?

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Terry Sheehan Liberal Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Referring to some of the comments that were made in questions earlier about piracy, most of us around the table remember when Napster and BearShare were there. There was a lot of piracy. With the new platforms out there, whether it's Spotify or Netflix, have we seen a decline in piracy as a result of these new platforms?

4:50 p.m.

Director, Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic

David Fewer

Both privacy and piracy, I would say both. Was that question for me?

I'll answer quickly, and I'll refer to John's submissions that he has promised to give the committee on the FairPlay proceedings. Yes, it makes sense. Provide consumers with useful, affordable services that give them the content they want, and they'll pay for it. It's common sense.

4:50 p.m.

Executive Director and General Counsel, Public Interest Advocacy Centre

John Lawford

The evidence that we have isn't conclusive that we're in this top category of infringers and that Canadians are using this to the extent it's being alleged, either in the reports or by the coalition, whichever coalition it is. That's the first thing for the committee to consider. What's really the hard evidence? That's hard to get.

Honestly, a reality check, of course, is that some people will always pirate. The goal is to keep it to a very low background noise.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Dan Ruimy

You're way over. Thank you.

Mr. Masse, you have the final round.

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

I know we've been talking about piracy. It reminds me of the 10 years that I've spent trying to get single-event sports betting to this country. On this phone, I can bet on a legal game, right here, yet our government practices here provide all the barriers necessary to keep it as an organized criminal activity. Basically, the technology that we have and that's out there, I mean, we have to look to close the gaps.

I don't really have any questions at the end of it, I just wanted to prove a point, though. When we look at these issues, we have to start looking at what's really out there, at least. Aside from the fact that we seem to be an outlier still on this, the government's almost irrelevant in this debate and organized crime and others benefit from it.

I would say they are the same thing, when you look at piracy and other types of activities with it. There's some type of a balance somewhere in there, but the technology's changed and that requires us to do something different from before.

At any rate, I'll leave it at that.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Dan Ruimy

Okay.

That takes us to the end of our session. I'd like to extend a thank you to our panellists for giving us many things to think about, as we continue on this journey.

We're going to suspend for one quick minute. You could say your hellos and then we're going to get back into what we were doing.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Dan Ruimy

At the last meeting, we were prepared to continue the debate on this motion. Unfortunately, we got held up by votes, so here's where we are today.

5 p.m.

Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, CPC

Dan Albas

Okay. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Now that it's been received, I'm sure the clerk will find it in order, so we can have a debate on this.

That the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology study Statistics Canada's plans to collect “individual-level financial transactions data” to develop a “new institutional personal information bank” and invite Statistics Canada officials, the Privacy Commissioner, representatives of the Canadian Bankers Association among other witnesses and report its findings to the House of Commons and that the Government provide a response to the report.

I so move.