Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House today to speak to the government's bill to amend the Copyright Act. Bill C-11 fulfills a commitment we made in the last speech from the Throne to reintroduce and seek swift passage of legislation to modernize Canada's copyright laws.
It has been more than a decade since the last major update of the Copyright Act. In this time, the Internet and other forms of new media have radically transformed the way in which Canadians produce and access copyrighted material. This transformation is ongoing. Technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Apps for mobile devices continually improve our access to content. Tablet devices allow readers to access e-books, e-magazines and all kinds of other content. They also allow doctors to access online services to offer diagnoses for their patients. These are just a few examples of how content moves quickly to newly adopted technology.
It is important to point out that all of these services involve copyrighted material. That is why the government would modernize Canada's Copyright Act. The reforms that we are proposing would go a long way to strengthening the tools that Canadian creators and innovators need to protect their work and grow their businesses in this digital economy. This legislation would update the Copyright Act and bring it in line with advances in technology and current international standards.
We are taking a common-sense approach to these updates. I am proud to say that both content creators and Canadian consumers would benefit from the proposed amendments. With these changes we would ensure that the Copyright Act supports innovation and attracts investment and jobs to Canada.
The government first introduced the copyright modernization bill in June of 2010. Before being dissolved, the legislative committee that studied that bill heard from more than 70 witnesses and received more than 150 submissions. Over the course of the hearings two clear messages emerged. First, the committee heard that the bill balanced the interests of various stakeholders. Second, the committee also heard that Canada urgently needed to pass legislation to update the Copyright Act. Therefore, our government is proposing a uniquely Canadian approach to copyright reform. The approach takes into consideration the views of all Canadians.
Canadians from all walks of life understand the importance of copyright. They are concerned about the impact of copyright on their daily lives. They recognize the importance to the digital economy and Canada's global competitiveness. The bill before the House reflects a common-sense approach. It reflects the interests of consumers and of rights holders alike.
Canadians have told us that Canada's copyright regime must take into account technology that does not even exist yet. This is a challenge that the copyright modernization bill addresses. It recognizes the importance of responding to the ever-changing technological landscape with amendments that are drafted in a technologically neutral way.
The proposed copyright modernization legislation would recognize the many new ways in which Canadians use technology. It would provide clear policies that would enable them to increase their participation in this digital age. We would be establishing new provisions that are technologically neutral that can be adapted to constantly evolving technological environments while ensuring appropriate protections for both creators and users alike.
Let me remind my colleagues that the bill includes the flexibility to respond to future realities because we have built in an automatic review process. It would require that a five year review of the Copyright Act be undertaken by Parliament.
Canadians want to make reasonable use of content that they have legally acquired. That is why the bill would legitimize many commonplace private or non-commercial uses of copyrighted material, uses that are not allowed, or that have unclear status under the current Copyright Act. Canadians would be able to record television, radio and Internet programming in order to enjoy them at a later time, with no restrictions as to the device or the medium that they wish to use.
Canadians would also be able to copy any legitimately acquired music, film or other works onto any device or medium, like an MP3 player, for their private use and to make back-up copies of these works.
Canadians would also be able to incorporate existing copyrighted material in the creation of new works, such as Internet match-ups, as long as it is not done for commercial purposes and the existing material is legitimately acquired.
Canadians with perceptual disabilities would be permitted to adapt legally acquired material to a format that they can easily use. The changes would also clarify the law regarding the import of adapted material into Canada and would explicitly permit the export of certain adapted materials, including Braille and audio-books.
The bill would also extend fair-dealing provisions to permit the use of copyrighted material for education, parody and satire. Furthermore, the bill would facilitate access to content for educational institutions, libraries, archives and museums. It would do this with exceptions that would allow for uses of copyrighted material that are reasonable and serve the public interest. It would do this in a way that would be responsive to the challenges and opportunities of the digital age. These exceptions have been carefully designed to ensure they are restricted to the activities that they were intended to permit. We believe that all Canadians, users and creators alike, would be well served by more clarity and predictability and sufficient flexibility to adapt to new technologies and take full advantage of them.
I will now tell my colleagues about the benefits of some of these exceptions. Students, particularly those in remote locations, would benefit from new exceptions that accommodate the use of technology for live or on-demand learning. They would be able to reproduce lessons for use at a more convenient time. At the same time, educational institutions would be required to adopt measures to prevent abuse.
Our government wants to encourage innovative companies to continue to develop new products. This bill would provide such companies with the legal tools to protect the investments they have made. This would allow them to invest in future innovation and jobs.
With this bill, our government has introduced important measures that would acknowledge the importance of our creators, those industries whose success depends on copyright, for example, software companies, filmmakers, musicians, writers and publishers. We believe that these changes would encourage greater online participation in the virtual marketplace, an area that is experiencing dramatic growth with global e-commerce transactions that have become so vital to the growth of so many companies.
Our government recognizes that Canada's Copyright Act must help Canadian businesses remain competitive. We realized from the outset that our approach to modernizing the legislation had to balance the interests of a wide range of stakeholders. I am proud to say that we have achieved that goal. I look forward to the day when this proposal becomes law. It demonstrates our government's continued commitment to fostering creativity and innovation and supporting Canada's creative economy.
Our government has sought a balance in our copyright legislation and reforms. We sought a balance between protecting creators and ensuring that consumers' rights were also protected. Over the course of two Parliaments, there have been a number of attempts by our government and a lot of debate and discussion, both in this chamber and in committee, to refine those proposals. I strongly believe that we have found that balance. We certainly sought and received input from Canadians. I believe this bill is one that finds that balance and seeks to move forward in an appropriate manner to allow for the future, for new technologies that will be developed and those that exist now, and ensure that the balance is created. We have done that and I am very proud of that.