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House of Commons Hansard #123 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was copyright.

Topics

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the comments made by my hon. colleague earlier today.

On our side we have been fighting every step of the way for a balanced approach to copyright, an approach that balances the needs of consumers with the needs of artists to be paid, and also in a framework that looks forward, that looks to new business models that would create a climate for innovation, a climate whereby we could build a middle class of artists. We saw this as a great opportunity. What my friend opposite has been talking about does not really address this.

I am wondering how his government can justify, for example, the wiping out of $21 million due to a loophole that is created in the bill that would allow broadcasters to avoid paying the broadcast mechanical. This right was not just plucked out of the ether. It was adjudicated by the Copyright Board and the government has managed to eliminate it through the back door.

We have not heard from the government why this happened. How can the government justify it?

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Goguen Conservative Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, the $21 million has been eliminated. However, it is our feeling that the equilibrium which will be struck between the rights of the consumer and the rights of producers and, of course, musicians, will more than compensate for that $21 million in benefits to the consumer and also as protection for the artists.

Many of the artists are very happy with this, whether they be musicians, painters or photographers. There have been initial rights extended to photographers, who did not have those rights before.

It is all a matter of balancing and some things fall the other way.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was really glad that the member was so precise that the Conservatives took $21 million off the table, because that is not what they said they were going to do. They said they were creating a 30-day exemption, but that 30-day exemption is a loophole which then allows them not to have to pay that. It is an extraordinary thing to set up legislation that creates a loophole for one group to sneak through and not have to pay, yet when the Conservatives have been asked about it, they have said that they have no intention of artists having a right to be paid.

I would like to ask my hon. colleague why the government actually intervened directly into a system that had been adjudicated by the Copyright Board. These were rights in the same way that anyone has a right to receive compensation, but the government decided it would create a loophole and ensure that the large radio players do not have to pay it.

Why would he think that creating loopholes to rip off artists is good public policy?

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Goguen Conservative Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, the NDP call it a loophole. On this side of the House, we call it creating prosperity, balancing the interests of the consumer and the interests of the artists.

The Canadian Council of Music Industry Associations said that, from coast to coast to coast, Canadian artists have been hit hard by unchecked Internet piracy. That is why the council strongly supports Bill C-32 and our efforts to reform copyright legislation. And it is artists, particularly those who are just beginning their careers, who need these reforms to ensure that they can earn a living from playing their music.

Maybe some day, although Mick Jagger is not a Canadian citizen, he will be able to stop going on tour.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am wondering if the member can comment on why it is the government has not listened to consumers and consumer advocates with regard to their concerns on digital locks. Once people have purchased a digital song, for example, why is it that they will not be able to make copies for their own personal use? It is a concern that the Conservatives seem to have forgotten about.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Goguen Conservative Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, very simply, it is a matter of balance. If we do not have locks, it will wipe out the industry. If people have free access to all music with no holdbacks so that artists can get some money, artists will never be able to retire, perhaps like Mick Jagger.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to be in this place and to represent the great people of Davenport.

The folks in my riding care about this issue because there is a very high proportion of people who work in the arts and culture sector in my riding and Toronto in general.

We need to be very clear about a few things. There is really nothing in this bill that is going to help most artists in this country get a pension. In fact, the government has done nothing since I was elected last year to help those who do not have a pension get one. There is nothing in this bill that will help create a middle class for artists in this country. The government has taken an issue, which is piracy, and used it as an excuse to take away money that was there for artists, up to $50 million, if we include some of the other issues.

The government needs a quick primer on how artists in this country make a living. The Conservatives like to talk about small businesses. The Conservatives like to think and say that they are the champions of small business. We are talking about artists who contribute greatly to the economy of this country. The arts and culture sector makes up a significant part of Canada's GDP, and yet individual artists, on average, make under $13,000 a year. The Conservatives did not even do it in an honest way, but they created a loophole. They said that they were not changing the rights, that they were not saying that broadcasters should not pay, and then they brought witnesses into committee from the broadcasting sector who said exactly that. In fact, they complained that the loophole on the broadcast mechanical was not big enough for them.

The government has said time and time again that it stands up for artists, but the Conservatives are not walking the walk in this regard. When the government takes $21 million out of the pockets of artists, this is what happens. Artists who are writing songs and are trying to produce records and small labels that are trying to get their businesses off the ground need every dollar they can get. We are not even talking about grants. We are talking about remuneration for a right that the Copyright Board has already adjudicated on. That is what we are talking about. We are not even talking about public money being transferred to arts groups. We are talking about the private sector paying for the right.

There was so much misinformation in committee it went to the throat of the issue, which is that on significant issues around music, the government chose not to listen to just about every major stakeholder. Copyright is complex and we accept that. We know there is a great balancing act. However, there was one issue on which all stakeholders in the music industry agreed. One would think if there was unanimity on one issue, the government would listen. That issue was the broadcast mechanical. There was no reason for that, other than, of course, the big broadcasters.

We have a government which is not listening to the voices of small business. If it were, it would be listening to the voices of artists, because artists are small business people. Instead, it listened to the singular voice of big broadcasting in this country. Those companies do not want to pay a very small royalty. They will spend billions buying each other, but they do not want to pay for the arts. In fact, the committee heard testimony from broadcasters who said, “I know we play music on our radio station, but that is just part of what we do”. In other words, they do not place too much value on the music that is played on the radio.

To me that is fundamentally untrue. It misrepresents the entire business model of the music industry, including broadcasting, unless we are talking about radio that is not as committed to Canadian artists as it should be.

We have made it very clear, as well, in our position that we need to link the prohibition on circumventing digital locks to acts of copyright infringement, in other words, allowing the circumvention of digital locks for lawful purposes, lawful purposes that are already set out in the act. In fact, what is happening in this bill is that the clause that disallows any breaking of a TPM, a technical protection measure, would take precedence over the rights that are already granted.

We presented amendments that sought to redress this imbalance in the act. One of them was the issue that if we are breaking a TPM to allow persons with perceptual disabilities to use something that we would not be required to put that lock back on. It does misrepresent the whole notion of what a technical protection measure is and that somehow if a code were broken in order for someone to, for example, put closed captioning on a film for someone who is hard of hearing or deaf, that somehow would then need to put that technical protection measure back on and, in a sense, put Humpty Dumpty back together again. It underlines a certain willingness to present the issues of technical protection measures in a light that is not clear. On our side, we were willing to work with the government on these issues.

I want to double back to the issue of those in the arts and culture sector. Many people who work in this sector require micro-payments just to get by. So, a $200 cheque here, a $100 cheque there, a $50.00 gig there is the difference between whether an artist will be able to pay for that next recording, which could potentially end up in a song that may get on the radio or get in a film and, if that happens, his or her career gets a major boost. It is these small payments that help to nurture the Canadian arts and culture sector and it is these small payments that have been wiped off the table.

The government says that it will compensate that by all the other fantastic measures that are in the bill. However, what it has done here, and it has not been honest about it, is that it has essentially wiped out a revenue stream for artists. In fact, it has wiped one out and, with the private copying levy, it is willing to stand by while that one starves.

The government has decided to attack the income for everyday working artists in this country. It has listened to the voices of big broadcasters, big business, big media and big Hollywood and it has left the voices of regular, average Canadians, those artists who are trying to contribute to their communities and to this culture, twisting in the wind.

These are some of the many reasons that we are not supporting this bill and why we will be voting against it in the next round.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Tyrone Benskin NDP Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague touched on a couple of things that I would like him to expand on.

I heard a member across the way mention Mick Jagger and say that Mick Jagger would not be hurt by this. That is absolutely true because the Copyright Act itself is about protecting the small members, the guys who do it on a daily basis, who collect those $100 cheques here and those $4 cheques there. I am one of those people. For the movies that I do, I get a $4.50 cheque for something I did 10 years ago. It is that cumulative thing that would be affected.

Taking $21 million out of the pockets of those people with that $200 cheque, which would be what he or she needs to pay the rent, is what would be harmful here.

I wonder if my colleague would care to expand on that a bit?

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, ACTRA, estimates that Canada's arts and culture sector contributes about $85 billion a year to our country's economy, 7.4% of Canada's gross national income. One would think that artists did not contribute to the Canadian economy in such a hefty way by the treatment that they are getting in this legislation.

My colleague makes an excellent point. This is not about Mick Jagger, Bryan Adams or Celine Dion. Those examples should not be used because that completely obscures the issue. It is like saying that one is for small business and then saying how great things are going for CIBC. It completely obscures the issue.

We need to be talking about how artists make a living in this country, how small entrepreneurs in the arts and culture sector make a living in this country. Wiping $21 million out of the pockets of artists, producers and creators is not the way to go.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I rise to put a question for the member opposite because it pains me to see such a well-informed representative of this country's cultural industry cutting off his nose to spite his face.

Would the member opposite not agree that whatever the number that may be lost to some artists, $21 million, larger or smaller, the bigger fight that is being undertaken in this legislation is against piracy? It is in favour of the rule of law in cultural industries, in the arts. This legislation is in favour of the little guy, the struggling folk singer, the visual artist, the broadcaster, who does not have the ability through our current copyright legislation to control the fruits of his or her labour and to receive remuneration for them. This legislation is in favour of putting piracy on the ropes and having the rule of law enforced in this sector. The stakes are much higher for the little guy and the benefits could run into possibly billions of dollars.

Would the member opposite not grant us that? Will he stop cutting off his nose to spite his face?

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I hate to see the real time cutting off a nose to spite one's face but that is what I just witnessed.

It is like being told that I need to go to the dentist because my teeth need fixing but that, by the way, the dentist will break my legs at the knees at the same time. The two things do not relate.

We are not arguing the piracy issue. We understand that there are issues in the bill that have been toughly fought out and that it is a tricky file. However, the government is trying an end run around the truth. The truth is that whatever measures it has around piracy have nothing to do with taking $21 million. Are the Conservatives trying to say that in order to deal with piracy they needed to wipe $21 million out of the pockets of artists? That argument does not fly.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in my place today to speak to Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act, and the important provisions that this bill would give to help Canadian users take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the digital economy.

Since our government first began to address copyright modernization early in our mandate, we have been committed to ensuring that our approach be one based on balance. The Copyright Act as it stands today is woefully out of date. It was last updated in 1997 at a time when VCRs and Discmans were found in every household.

Like all MPs, for example, I make significant use of my BlackBerry. When I meet with constituents, most of them are connected as well. Moreover, we are all using new technologies to stay in touch with the people on the ground in the riding, whether it be through mobile devices, Facebook, Twitter or other online tools.

We are all seeing new and innovative ways in which our constituents are using digital tools to create, innovate, better their communities and strengthen their local economies. This kind of activity has surpassed the copyright legislation that we currently have on the books. That legislation does not reflect the world in which we live today.

As a result, it does not adequately protect copyright works in the digital economy nor does it respect the everyday uses of modern copyrighted works by users across the country. This has to change and that is why we have a bill as we do today.

It is no secret that copyright is a contentious issue. We had to be diligent in ensuring the myriad stakeholders had an opportunity to contribute and provide the perspectives on the way forward. That is why we engaged in an unprecedented online consultation in 2009. It is why our government has been working hard to tackle this issue since coming to office.

I know it has been said before but I think it bears repeating that it is why the legislative committees sat for over 20 days and heard from over 100 witnesses. The goal was to deliver a final bill that effectively takes into account the important and diverse views and balances the many competing interests.

Through this process, members on both sides of the aisle have learned a lot. In Bill C-11, we have achieved this balance. I think it is fair to say that the legislative committee has returned to this House a bill that is ready to be moved to the Senate.

As we have been discussing throughout these debates, the legislative committee, both in this Parliament and the previous one, has done tremendous work in maintaining this balance. With respect to what the bill does for consumers, our government believes that we have struck the right balance. We have brought into the copyright law many legitimate everyday activities, like recording a television show to view later and changing the format of a CD or music file, that have been long overdue.

Let us think of an iPod, not to tax it like the NDP would, but to imagine that downloading something onto these types of devices is illegal under the old law. I cannot think of a more crystal clear example of why change is necessary.

From those educators teaching their classes from a distance to creative people at home putting together mash-up videos and sharing them online, we have ensured that legitimate uses of copyrighted material are permitted under the law.

Finally, through this bill, we have updated provisions in the law that allow for the adaptation of copyrighted material for use by people with perceptual disabilities. The legislative committee tasked with reviewing this bill has made a number of targeted amendments to better deliver the government's intent without affecting the balance of the bill. The provisions relating to the perceptually disabled are an example.

The bill as it was introduced would allow a non-governmental organization to adapt and export a copyrighted work by a Canadian author or an author of another country to which the export will go. This is an important provision that would enable perceptually disabled people to access works that are not already available in the marketplace.

The committee heard testimony that it was not always easy to determine nationality. As a result, an amendment was made to ensure that mistakes made in good faith should not result in financial liability for the organization. That is a fair compromise and one I think members can support.

As with all the provisions in this bill aimed at consumers, this technical amendment helps to ensure fair balance on copyright. Through this and other technical amendments my colleagues have adopted, the bill represents the best way forward to modernize Canadian copyright for the modern 21 century digital economy.

A modern and balanced copy right regime is long overdue in our country. I urge hon. members to join me in supporting this bill and helping move it to the Senate. We cannot delay any longer. The day-to-day activities of Canadians and the digital market itself are changing and growing fast for our outdated copyright regime. We must act and we must act now to pass the legislation.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I guess the big issue is that members of the Conservative government do not want to address the obvious flaws that could have been fixed in the bill. They have taken a very belligerent attitude toward fixing those flaws.

For example, if people have a perceptual disability, perhaps they are blind and they need to access something for work, they should not be criminalized and treated like pirates. Yet, under the bill, they can only access the work if they do not “unduly impair the technological protection measure”.

I do not know if my hon. colleague deals with technical protection measures, but they are not like a lock that gets picked and then everyone gets to run in. It is a complex code of software. The fact is the government refused to deal with very clear, simple amendments that would protect students with perceptual disabilities to access works that they had a right to access. The government refused to work with them and would treat them the same as they would a pirate.

Why would the government not show a little decency and a willingness to work with the opposition to fix the obvious flaws of the bill?

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, the premise of the question is that we did not work with the opposition in terms of bringing this together. We had hearings for 20 days that heard over 200 witnesses. Prior to this, in past Parliaments with previous iterations of this bill, there were hundreds of witnesses. The insinuation is that we are not working to strike the right balance, which is absolutely false.

As I have said in my speech, we have put in provisions for those who are visually disabled. We have put provisions in that would allow copyrighted materials to be properly protected.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, one of the things I find troubling with this, which I think my colleague for Timmins—James Bay alluded to, is the consultation process where, at first glance, the numbers present what the Conservatives consider to be a fair way to go about this. However, let us look at some of the facts which could be easily rectified, but are not in the bill.

First and foremost, let us look at the education exemption. I have a direct question and a scenario that maybe the member could address.

If a financial institution like a bank decides to educate its employees, would that fall under the exemption as well, or is it just for other institutions?

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I understand it, the education exemption applies to formal education situations and formal teaching environments. It would be for primary, secondary and post-secondary education purposes.

One of the things that is difficult to determine in striking a balance is with those who would choose to violate copyright and call it something it is not, which is a real possibility. In fact, many legal professions are based on those premises.

We are trying to ensure that there is ample protection. We can be flexible in situations down the road when we review this legislation to ensure that those legitimate situations are properly protected and those that are not would be caught, as discussed earlier, with the piracy provisions. We have to ensure that people who have copyright interests are protected.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 14th, 2012 / 4:05 p.m.

NDP

Tyrone Benskin NDP Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, my head spins sometimes when I hear the commentary from the other side. It is disturbing to me that the bill is coming out from a collection of individuals who have shown very little understanding of the process of creation and have decided to look at the end result and make the law based on the end result without looking at the effect of how we got there.

The current bill in its form now does a great disservice to the very people copyright legislation is supposed to protect. Either the government realizes this and does not care, or it is unaware of it. However, being the eternal optimist that I am, I believe there are some members over there who do care about these people, the creators. Therefore, I speak on record in hopes that in the future those same people will realize the changes needed to make the bill work.

Copyright starts with the creator and ends with the creator. Therefore, my focus is on the independent creator. I define “independent creator” as a freelance individual who is neither commissioned nor employed by an organization to create or develop a work in that organization's name. These individuals who depend on copyright law are the vast number of individuals that this law would affect. They depend on copyright law to ensure their rights to their work remain in their hands. It gives them the right to choose how the work is used and, through the Copyright Board, determine the value of that work and the determination of how it is used.

Believe it or not, because the delivery system has changed it does not mean copyright owners, or creators, should be penalized on the remunerated access to their work. They should still be paid for the work they do. It has taken a lot of decades to get to a point where artists can monetize the work they used. This is what I believe is being missed, especially on the mechanical rights. It is not a trade-off between piracy and remuneration; they both should be worked on and protected. Therefore, if we have individuals who wish to own a copy of a work created, whether they purchase it at their local music store or they purchase it online, it is still purchased.

Something I will share is that the changing of platform has existed since radio has existed. Back in the day, it was not as easy with digital records, where we just plop our MP3 player into our computer and transfer it onto the unit. Back in the day, it was a little less classy, a little less stealthy. We stood there with our portable tape recorder, held the mike up to the speaker and put it on a cassette so we could walk around with it. That was platform shifting back in the day.

The industry caught onto that and came up with eight-track players so people could listen to it in their cars. Unfortunately, the eight-track player did not go very far. Then cars started coming in with cassettes and the recording companies started making music available on cassettes so people could play it in their cars. Individuals would purchase the LP and/or the single and they would buy the eight-track and/or the cassette. They would pay four times so they could have their music where they wanted it.

Therefore, platform shifting existed from the beginning. I would like people to keep that in mind.

In the case of access for commercial use, one has access currently to a file or we purchase the file once. Now we have broadcasters asking why they should have to pay for things twice. They are not. They are paying for it once. After that, the commercial entity pays for each use, so we have an access fee and we have a use fee. Why use fees? Why should artists not just be thankful that their work is being played? Times have changed.

When radio first came into play, it was a medium of communication. We had live radio dramas and so forth. Then recorded music hit the ground. Rock and roll came about. Radio stations realized there was money in it, that if they played it, people would listen to the radio station and they could flog products that people would buy and the radio stations would get money from the advertising companies.

Once upon a time it was like this. Radio broadcasters seemed to feel that songs and artists would not exist if not for them. There may have been at one point a modicum of truth to that. Once upon a time, record companies could go to radio stations and give them little goodies so they would play their songs. That resulted in the payola scandal back in the day.

In recent years, we have seen self-releases through personal websites that have proven quite effective in raising the profile of an artist to the point where an artist is already famous. Take Metric, for example, which won a number of Junos about two years ago, having not signed a major recording contract and doing all its publicity and sales through the website. It got to the point where radio stations were looking for it because people wanted to hear the band's music. Therefore, one has to question who benefits whom, in terms of whether radio needs the artist or the artist needs radio. For me, I think it is a very symbiotic relationship.

That being said, a few broadcasters appeared in front of the last legislative committee. They said that they would rather pay whole departments year round to erase a piece of music every 30 days and then re-record it, or re-download it, rather than pay the access fee, the mechanical right, once. It does not make a lot of business sense to me that someone would pay employees to sit there and erase every 30 days so they do not have to pay it and then re-record it, or re-download it so they have access to it, just to avoid the one time only payment for access, the purchase of the piece. They then went on to say that they had to pay for it twice. No, they pay for access, they pay for use fee.

Content is king. We have creators and it seems the government members have the idea that a hit song, any song, just appears out of the blue, that artists sit on a bus, get an idea for a great song and write it on the back of a ticket, or on a napkin. Napkins seem to get lambasted in the House quite a bit. Great ideas have been created on napkins. Then the song ends up on the radio.

Let us look at it from a different perspective, one that the government seems to understand, the perspective of a small business. An entrepreneur has an idea, a song. The entrepreneur develops the idea. The entrepreneur needs capital investment for both prototype and to move from concept to reality, which is the demo phase. This costs an artist a lot of money, either in renting recording space or in buying the equipment. This includes hiring individuals, a project manager, staff, equipment, facilities, delivery systems, marketing, packaging and there is distribution and the product of these sales.

Artists need to be remunerated. Artists depend on the back end to get remunerated. The back end is things like the mechanical rights, $21 million, private copying $30 million. It is not a question of choosing piracy over remuneration. It is a question of developing a bill that respects the rights of creators and ensures they are remunerated for the work that they do.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeMinister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, the member talked about the creators. The minister worked to ensure there was a balance between the creator and the users. Modernizing the act was key to updating our laws and meeting international standards.

Would the member elaborate on how important it is to have us in step with international standards?

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4:15 p.m.

NDP

Tyrone Benskin NDP Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is hugely important to have a Copyright Act that is in step with other countries. Many of our artists have their works played in other countries and, due to treaties that exist between Canada and the music-collecting agencies here and abroad, the money that is made by our artists in other countries is collected and sent back. It is important, but one cannot look at elements of this bill that do work and ignore the parts that do not, and there are elements that do work. We are looking to find the balance in what works for everybody, not at the cost of creators.

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4:15 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague, unlike some of the members across the way, actually understands what it is to be an artist, and that is what is missing here. Artists do their work not because of the pay they get, often, though a few do; they do it because they have a passion for it. It defines who we are as a country.

My question to the member is this. Why does he think the government forewent the opportunity to support artists, particularly the $21 million he is referring to, which would go directly to support artists? This bill would take that way. Why does he think the government did that?

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Tyrone Benskin NDP Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, I cannot read minds, unfortunately. It would be a great skill, and I sure as heck would do a whole lot better in this place. All we can do is assume.

I think that the business aspirations of the government took over from the need and the focus on what copyright is. Arts and culture is big business. We have heard many times how it contributes $85 billion to the economy. Why it chose to side with big business as opposed to artists, with the same result, is beyond me. It thinks that if there is no piracy, artists will get more money. In the computer world, the minute any kind of lock is established, somebody is working to get around it. Will we ever end piracy? It would be a wonderful thing. I do not know if we will. To take away money on that hope does not make a whole lot of sense to me.

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4:20 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is a very famous Canadian artist himself, so he knows what he is talking about.

I am thinking of independent artists in my area, Guilty About Girls and FERA, and venues like the Libra Room. I am thinking about how they are going to be affected by this bill and what changes the member thinks should be made to this act to make them benefit more fully.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Tyrone Benskin NDP Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, independent artists like the two he mentioned depend on the Copyright Act to protect their work, so they can sell it in a way that works for them. All the different little revenue streams that artists access, such as private copying, mechanical rights and user fees by broadcasters, go to making sure an artist can, one, live and, two, continue to create.

This bill strikes a lot of that with the vague premise that because piracy is going to end, artists will get more money. The revenue streams that exist now were developed over a number of years and had nothing to do with piracy. They were ways of making these small businesses, these entrepreneurs, more self-sufficient and able to gain more money from the work they do.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I want to take just a moment to congratulate a constituent of mine by the name of Sandra Benedetto, who did the Sporting Life walk this weekend to raise money for cancer research. She raised a lot of money, and I just wanted to take the opportunity to congratulate her and some of her neighbours for taking on that initiative.

We are back here yet again talking about copyright reform. This is something we have been doing a lot. We did it in the last Parliament and we resumed it in this Parliament. It was one of the mandates, one of the things we earmarked in our throne speech as being extraordinarily important to the economy.

As members know, the government has been focused on jobs and the economy since it was first elected in 2006. We knew, as we went through the global economic downturn, that we had to start modernizing a number of the things that were holding back the economy. Of course, the Copyright Act was one of those pieces of legislation that was holding back our economy. We knew Canada had some international responsibilities that we were not able to live up to because Parliament was unable to modernize the Copyright Act.

I am very excited that we are at a point where we are actually seeing progress on this and that very soon a modernized Copyright Act will make it through this place and hopefully through the Senate, and Canadian creators, producers and those who create wealth and jobs in this country can continue to do that and continue to have the confidence that their government will support them and that legislation will be in place to help make sure they can continue to prosper.

I had a great opportunity this weekend to visit the Toronto International Film Festival, which had what was called the Next Wave film festival for Ontario's young filmmakers. It was a collection of the finalists from across the country. It was young filmmakers who were given the task of creating short five- or six-minute films in all kinds of different categories.

I cannot tell members how impressed I was by the quality of the productions I saw there. I am even more impressed that two constituents of mine made it to the finals, Joseph Procopio, a grade 12 student, and his two sisters in another category, Susan and Katherine. They won in their category. I want to congratulate them, as well.

I bring up the Toronto International Film Festival and our young creators because it is one of the things that helps define the city of Toronto and helps to define Vancouver. The importance cannot be understated of the entertainment industry to both Toronto and Vancouver, and to smaller towns across this country, for the hundreds of thousands of jobs that this sector creates.

This sector has been asking us for increased protections, not only so that we could live up to the international treaties we have signed but so that the works and the investments they put in could actually be protected in this country. That is what this bill would do. This bill would enable or increase some of the protections that the industry has been requesting for the longest time.

When we talk about large films, often we talk about the stars. A couple of years ago in my riding, in my hometown of Stouffville, one of the final episodes of the West Wing came to town. They were pretending my hometown was New Hampshire. Everybody was excited to see Jimmy Smits there as the Democrat nominee, but what struck us most was the hundreds of other people who were in support of the production, the hairstylists, carpenters, electricians and security personnel who were there. These are the people who are part of these productions, and these are jobs across this country, hundreds of thousands of jobs that are at stake if we do not actually get our act together.

Now 400 film, television and interactive media companies across Canada represent 130,000 jobs, and that is $5.2 billion. They support this legislation. They support it because they know it is the right thing to protect them. It is the right thing to protect our producers, creators and the people who actually create wealth and jobs in this country.

Who else supports this legislation? There are the 38 multinational software companies, including Corel, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Apple, IBM and Intel, and 300 of Canada's business associations and boards of trade support this legislation. The students of 25 universities across Canada support this legislation. The entertainment software industry, representing 14,000 jobs, supports the legislation and is wondering why it has taken so long to get the legislation passed.

When we talk about the process, until recently, until we brought the budget forward, I do not know of any other piece of legislation that has received more input than this particular piece of legislation, over two Parliaments. We have heard from hundreds of witnesses. We have heard dozens of speeches in this place. It became almost ridiculous, on the opposition side, that they were actually recycling the same members and some of the same speeches two and three times on this particular piece of legislation. That is how ridiculous it became, the effort to try to stop us focusing on the economy.

We are not just seeing it on this particular piece of legislation, unfortunately. We are seeing it on a whole host of legislation, which is targeted toward improving the economy, creating jobs and helping bring even greater investment to this country. What we see from the opposition, time and time again, whether it be on this legislation or on the government's economic action plan, is that its main focus is not to help Canadian business, not to help Canadian consumers and not to help those who invest in this country and create wealth in this country. Its main job, it seems, is to do whatever it possibly can to try to get to this side of the House.

That is all it cares about. Its members will say anything, they will do anything, they will misrepresent the truth any way they possibly can, in the hopes that Canadians will not pay attention. That is one of the massive disrespects that side has done with respect to this particular piece of legislation.

We have heard from the opposition that students would be visited by the copyright police and their notes would be somehow gathered up and burned because of this piece of legislation.

Of course, that is not true. It has never been true. It will never be true. The legislation would do no such thing. In fact, through this updated legislation we would actually provide even more help to our students. However, we would protect the content producers as well. By ensuring that digital locks are respected we would be protecting our creators. That is what this legislation would do.

We are also going to go after those people, the enablers, who take the hard work of our creators and of our artists and then put it over the Internet. Those are people who absolutely provide no benefit, who basically steal from the creators. The legislation would update that and would ensure we go after those people.

Our notice and notice, which is another important piece of the legislation, would also help ensure that those creators' copyright is not being infringed.

Ultimately, what would the legislation do? The legislation would bring more investment to this country. It would bring more opportunity. It would protect the people who have worked so hard to create all the things we use, be it an album or a piece of music, be it an artist like these two young students I talked about. It would facilitate even greater investment in our economy.

It is about time this Parliament passed this piece of legislation, because our creators have been waiting a very long time. One of the things we heard from them is that the Canadian culture is strong. It can compete with anybody. All they need is the protection in place from the government to protect their hard work. That is what this copyright legislation would do. I hope the opposition will join with this side of the House and continue to focus on jobs and the economy and get this legislation passed as soon as possible.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Since he is convinced that this bill will protect Canadian jobs in this sector, in both music and publishing, can he provide us with any arguments that illustrate how this bill will in fact protect Canada's music and publishing industry?