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House of Commons Hansard #124 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

Noon

NDP

Marie-Claude Morin NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Madam Speaker, as I said at the beginning of my speech, this bill is more or less a carbon copy of Bill C-32, which was rejected by many artists' groups and by the opposition.

Now that the Conservatives have a majority, they are marching in, imposing this unacceptable bill on us once again. As the hon. member said, there is a lack of innovation. In addition, there is no openness on the part of the government, which does not listen to artists, writers, musicians and all those whose work reflects our Canadian culture and identity. The government's lack of vision in modernizing copyright is a real problem.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

Noon

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and for Western Economic Diversification

Madam Speaker, I am honoured to speak today in support of Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act. As many of my colleagues know, we are the closest we have ever been in the last 15 years to modernizing the Copyright Act. We are on the verge of having a Copyright Act that is responsive to the realities of both today and tomorrow, a Copyright Act that will give creators, innovators and ordinary citizens the confidence they need to take advantage of the opportunities of the digital world.

The fact is the Copyright Act in its current form is not responsive to many of the realities our digital world has brought forward. Our government is committed to fixing this.

The last time the Copyright Act was substantially updated, VHS tapes, discmans and pagers were commonly used. For many, the flip phone was the trendy gadget of the day. Text messaging and mobile Internet were just beginning to be introduced on the market. In fact, dial-up modems were still quite common. That was only 15 years ago.

It would be a gross understatement to say that technology changed considerably since then. What was once considered cutting edge is now almost obsolete. In fact, it seems like something newer and better is popping up every day.

Just the other day I was reading about all the speculation around what consumers could expect from upcoming versions of Smartphones. It is hard to predict what the high tech world will look like even 10 years from now. Digital technology has changed how Canadians access, use and share copyrighted content. Today, Canadians expect to be able to enjoy legitimately-acquired content where and when they want. Copyright laws need to respond to this reality.

Our government is committed to ensuring that Canada's copyright law is flexible and adaptable to change. We are also committed to ensuring that appropriate protections are provided for both creators and users. Bill C-11 would establish clear rules that would be flexible enough to allow the Copyright Act to evolve as technology continues to advance. It is balanced in that it provides new rights for creators, while providing new exceptions for users.

Let me tell members about some of the exceptions in Bill C-11. Bill C-11 would give Canadians the flexibility to record broadcast programming to enjoy at a more convenient time, often referred to as time shifting. It would also give individuals the freedom to copy music, films and other content onto any or all of the devices they owned, such as MP3 players and tablets, something that is often referred to as format shifting. Canadians would also be able to legally back up copyrighted material they purchased.

Our government believes it is important that all Canadians, including those with disabilities, have access to copyrighted materials in a format they can easily use. That is why Bill C-11 would allow Canadians with perceptual disabilities to adapt legally-acquired material to a format that would be more accessible. It would also clarify the law regarding the importation of adapted material into Canada and explicitly would allow the exportation of certain adapted materials, including Braille and audio books.

As I mentioned, digital technology has fundamentally transformed the way many Canadians work, play and learn. For example, in the digital world, consumers are no longer passive audiences. Large segments of the population are interacting with content in new and innovative ways. Bill C-11 recognizes this new reality by including new exceptions that respond to it.

Bill C-11 includes a user-generated content provision which would allow Canadians to incorporate existing copyrighted material in the creation of new non-commercial works. An example of this would be posting a home video on YouTube of a bride and groom dancing to their favourite wedding song.

This exception recognizes that these new uses of creative content contribute to Canada's cultural sector. For example, these uses can enhance interest in the original when videos of user-generated content go viral on the Internet. This innovative form of creation can also shed light on emerging talent from across our country and showcase it to the rest of the world. Of course the digital age does not just offer opportunities for creation; it also offers many unique opportunities for learning and education.

Bill C-11 recognizes the immense opportunities that new and emerging technologies present for education. Digital technologies can enhance the traditional classroom experience and encourage new models for education outside the physical classroom. This can increase access to education and communities big and small across our great country.

Bill C-11 includes exceptions that would allow teachers and students to make better use of digital technologies and of copyrighted materials. For example, Bill C-11 would amend existing educational exceptions so that they are technologically neutral. No longer would we see references to specific technologies like flip charts and overhead projectors.

Bill C-11 also introduces a number of new measures that would enrich the educational experience. For instance, teachers would now be allowed to digitally deliver course materials to students. Students would be allowed to use material that they find on the Internet.

There are a number of other educational exceptions in Bill C-11 that I could describe, but all of these recognize the potential that the digital environment holds for teaching and learning in Canada.

I have spoken about how Bill C-11 recognizes the opportunities that the digital environment offers for learning and creation in Canada. It is also important to note that Bill C-11 recognizes the potential this environment holds for creative and innovative businesses.

Bill C-11 includes a number of provisions that would strengthen the ability of copyright owners to control the online use of their works. This would help promote innovative and legitimate business models and prevent widespread illicit use.

For example, Bill C-11 includes new protections for copyright owners who choose to use digital locks to protect their works. For a number of copyright owners, the use of digital locks can allow for the monetization of creative content and the protection of potentially significant investments made during the development phase. By providing protections against the circumvention of these locks, our government is supporting the ability of creators to advance new digital business models and compete on the international stage.

Bill C-11 also includes a number of provisions that would allow creators and innovators to compete in the digital age with confidence. This includes legal protections for rights management information and a new category of civil liability that targets those who enable online piracy.

All of these measures would help attract new investments which would, in turn, promote economic growth and help protect and create jobs in Canada. In short, they would help position Canada as a leader in the digital economy of today and tomorrow.

It is clear that Canada's copyright laws need to be modernized to respond to the challenges and opportunities of the digital age. The bill we have before us would do just that. Bill C-11 takes a balanced approach to copyright modernization. It considers the needs and interests of all Canada. Furthermore, it would bring our copyright law in line with international standards. It is very much in keeping with our government's commitment to promote innovation, productivity and job creation.

Of course, we cannot enjoy any of these benefits until we pass the bill. Therefore, I urge all of my colleagues to join me in giving these benefits to Canadians by passing Bill C-11.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Madam Speaker, I listened with interest to the member opposite and I wonder if he recognizes that this is a very complicated area and a very complicated piece of legislation.

The proposed legislation has not received unanimous support from participants within the industry. The impact of the changes that are being proposed would be significant and difficult to change. It would bring forward some very onerous restrictions on users, artists and others and could, frankly, take away millions of dollars from the creators.

Would the member not agree that the matter being proposed is of such importance that it requires we take every opportunity to examine each and every piece and listen to any Canadian, especially those involved in the industry, to ensure we are doing this correctly the first time?

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, yes, the government does recognize that this is a very complex and complicated matter. It is for that reason that we are continuing our review of the copyright modernization act, which actually began in the last Parliament.

Before being dissolved, the legislative committee studying the bill heard from more than 70 witnesses and received more than 150 written submissions. Over the course of the hearings there were two clear messages that emerged. First, that the bill balances the interests of the various stakeholders, and second, that Canada urgently needs to pass legislation to update the Copyright Act.

By re-introducing this bill without changes, the government is reiterating its support for a balanced approach to copyright reform and enabling parliamentarians to pick up where the last committee left off.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Madam Speaker, I would like to pick up where my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour left off. When I was listening to the parliamentary secretary's speech, I kept hearing this phrase over and over again, “creates new...”. He said that the bill creates new rules about this and new rules about that. He said “creates new” quite a number of times, although I did not actually keep track.

My colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour raised an excellent point when he said that there was a lot happening with this bill. It would create new powers, new rules and new regulations. It essentially would create a new way of doing business.

Therefore, I do not know how the parliamentary secretary can stand up and justify, with any credibility in the House, why it is that there has been time allocation moved on this and why it is we are not doing a proper and thorough study of this review. I would like him to comment on the fact that the very words in his speech contradict the position that his government is taking.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, as I mentioned just previously, we do recognize the complexity of the bill and that is the very reason we are continuing from where the review left off in the last Parliament. As I mentioned, there were more than 70 witnesses and 150 written submissions have gone to committee. Extensive work has already been done on this particular bill in the previous Parliament and we will continue that work in this Parliament.

I will outline what else the bill would implement. It would implement the rights and protections of the World Intellectual Property Organization. Internet treaties give Canadian creators and consumers the tools they need to remain competitive internationally.

Through this legislation, the government will modernize the Copyright Act to bring it in line with advances in technology and international standards; advance the interests of Canadians, from those who create content to the consumers who benefit from it; provide a framework that is forward-looking and flexible and that will help protect and create jobs, stimulate the Canadian economy and attract new investment to Canada; and establish rules that are technologically neutral so that they are flexible enough to evolve with the changing technologies and the digital economy, while ensuring appropriate protection for both creators as well as users.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak for a few moments to this important legislation. I will focus my intervention on a couple of points in the bill that I find quite troubling. I know my intervention must be focused on this bill and it will be.

I am particularly concerned with the way the government is prepared to move things through at a pace that is contrary to the rules of this House and that, frankly, fly in the face of the concerns that are brought to this House by members of Parliament on all sides as a result of discussions we have had with Canadians.

What we saw with Bill C-11 today was the government House leader introducing a time allocation motion, in other words, limiting debate once again. I believe it is the 23rd time that such closure motions or time allocation motions have been brought to this House in just a little more than a year.

There are not very many pieces of legislation that the government has been prepared to say to members of the House that they were elected by Canadian voters, just as the Conservative members were, and that it recognizes the role of Parliament and the rights of all members of the House, not just the government members, to represent their constituents and bring their concerns forward, and to use their own intellect, advice and experience to examine each piece of legislation within the confines of the general rules of practice and procedure.

Unfortunately, however, the government, and we are seeing it again with Bill C-11, does not believe in a parliamentary democracy but in something different. It believes in something that is almost leaning toward a dictatorship by the PMO. The PMO decides, and not the rules that govern procedure in the House, when there has been enough debate or discussion about a particular issue.

The Conservative member who spoke previously listed off the number of witnesses who have been heard and the number of people who have intervened. When the government House leader introduced limitation on debate on Bill C-11 this morning, he talked about how many hours we have already talked about this. He said that a similar piece of legislation had been here in a previous Parliament and therefore we have already been there and done that so we should get it over with and just run it through.

What that ignores, of course, for the 23rd time that the government has brought in some restriction, imposed with its majority, on my right and the rights of my colleagues who have contrary positions to fully debate each and every stage of a bill. The government has said that it will decide whether a bill is good.

I have heard many members opposite in committee and in this chamber say that they think this is the way things should be done and that although we think the other way and are going to listen to experts who do not agree with them, frankly, it does not matter because they have the majority and they will have their way.

The Conservatives very much begrudge our taking any time in this House to offer opinions which are in any way opposed to the government. We have seen how the government deals with opposition.

The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy had the audacity to offer positions based on evidence, facts and science, which are contrary to the PMO's vision of the world. Therefore, the body that did all that good work, all the evidence and science, the body that spent time and energy discussing important issues about the environment and the economy with Canadians will no longer be there.

Yesterday, the member for Halifax said that the government, the Minister of the Environment and the Prime Minister's Office very much believe that they do not need expert panels, expert advice and scientists because they have the Internet and Google. They can get answers to their questions from Wikipedia. The beauty of that is if they do not agree with what is on Wikipedia, they will just change it. It does not have to be based on evidence or science; they will simply change it.

I find it extraordinarily distasteful. Frankly, it is creating bad policy.

I have some experience in dealing with legislation and I know that if we do not take the time, do not consider alternative opinions, do not pore over the various provisions within legislation with a fine-tooth comb, inevitably there will be mistakes. We have seen examples of that already. The government has had to withdraw legislation because it was so bad. The Conservatives passed legislation in this House without entertaining any amendments or changes. They would not listen to any of our arguments or arguments in the other place which suggested that piece of legislation needed correction. As a result, the Conservatives ended up having to make changes afterwards, because they did not want to make changes here. They did not want to show this place any respect. They did not want to admit that they may have been wrong on something, that they may not have considered all sides of a particular argument. They therefore rammed the legislation through and then had to make changes afterwards.

My concern is that it was a most obvious and egregious weakness in that particular piece of legislation. With something like Bill C-11, which is so technical and wide-reaching in terms of its implications, the government will ram it through without considering our amendments. We brought in 17 amendments at committee that were meant to establish a balance, but they were ignored.

The members opposite like to suggest there is no opposition out there and there is no other way. If I had the time, I would read into the record some testimony from a couple of experts, and there are many, but maybe in response to members' questions I will have the opportunity to mention some of the people who have problems with this legislation.

I call on all members to take their time, recognize this is important legislation and give it the kind of scrutiny it deserves.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Madam Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's comments on this matter. It is a very technical matter that requires a good thorough discussion and a review by experts. In fact, I held a round table in my community with those concerned: artists, producers, creators, academics, locals, people who are very interested in this topic. I had great input, some of which fed back into the amendments which my colleague spoke about, which were put forward to the government to amend the legislation but were disregarded.

I wonder if my colleague could comment on what some of the experts had to say about this piece of legislation.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Madam Speaker, we should all take note of the work the member does. In his community he held a town hall meeting. He did not assume that he knew it all, but he went out into the community to get the advice of his constituents on how best to proceed. Should he not have the opportunity to stand in this House, at length and within the rules, to bring forward those concerns? Should not every member on this side and the other side have that same opportunity?

Michael Geist, a renowned technology commentator, is one person who has indicated some problems with this legislation. He said:

The foundational principle of the new bill remains that anytime a digital lock is used--whether on books, movies, music or electronic devices--the lock trumps virtually all other rights.... [This] means that the existing fair dealing rights...and [Bill C-11's] proposed new rights...all cease to function effectively so long as the rights holder places a digital lock on their content or device.

That is a very troubling comment by an expert.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. friend from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour for his presentation and for all the hard work of his colleagues in committee. I was not a member of the committee, but I know that the members of the official opposition on committee worked very hard to improve this bill. As he mentioned, they put forward amendments. They are not the same as the amendments that I have put forward on which we are now debating, but they were similar in some aspects. They were certainly similar in trying to reduce the draconian way in which digital lock provisions are included in Bill C-11.

We have heard a lot of members of the Conservative Party say that the music industry and other industry groups believe they will make more money or create more jobs based on passing this bill. I went through the evidence from the fall and found that two of the largest music industry collectives of copyright said that they did not see any evidence of this from the U.S., where there are WIPO rules regarding digital locks, and Canada where we do not. In Canada, we are able to sell legally online, where people are using the online availability of music and not downloading illegally but are paying for their music. Canada's digital industry of online music was growing faster than the U.S. industry. They simply reject the idea that they are going to make more money or create more jobs in the music industry based on digital locks. I wonder if my hon. friend has a comment.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Madam Speaker, as the member rightly recognized, there is no doubt that the member for Timmins—James Bay has been doing remarkable work on this issue, not just in this Parliament, but in previous Parliaments. He has been doing an amazing job representing our party caucus and the millions of Canadian artists and others who are deeply concerned about this.

Clearly, there are serious concerns facing artists and creators, as well as those who want to access this entertainment material for their own personal use. It is a serious concern—

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Westlock—St. Paul.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Storseth Conservative Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak to Bill C-11.

To start, I would like to note my support for the bill. I encourage others to support it as well.

The bill is a result of consulting, listening, and listening until we got it right. In fact, this legislation has come to this point through one of the largest consultations in Canadian history. By now, there should be no mistaking the message that we have received. Canada needs to pass legislation to update its Copyright Act and we should do so quickly.

As we have heard during various speeches delivered during the course of the proceedings on Bill C-11 and former Bill C-32, this legislation purposely balances both the rights of creators and the interests of consumers. It does so in a way that allows artists and creators to position themselves as they wish, but principally protects and enhances their ability to succeed as entrepreneurs.

By strengthening the protection of their intellectual property rights, we know that if we give our artists and creators, digital or otherwise, the proper legal and economic framework in which to produce work, a large number of them will succeed, prosper and grow.

Canada is home to a great number of global success stories in the visual and performing arts, as well as artists and creators who use new media to tell their stories and create their work.

Every year, new artistic innovators emerge and build upon the successes of those before them. It is important that the laws which oversee the protection of their work are up to date and flexible, so that as art forms evolve and change, the law still applies in a way that makes sense, common sense.

On the other hand, without solid intellectual property protection, the kind of artistic activity that we celebrate every year at events like the Junos is discouraged, and success is more difficult to achieve.

For instance, we should look at Canada's very successful video game sector. We all know that Canada is home to world leaders like EA Sports, a great company that makes games like Madden football and NHL, but there are a host of other companies that thrive here in Canada as well.

For example, when the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Industry visited BitHeads here in Ottawa, the owner of that company told the Toronto Star afterwards that he loses 90% of his company's revenues to piracy activities. That is why he supports this new legislation. We need to ensure that this kind of piracy stops.

I can also speak about the positive effect the bill would have on photography in Canada. The bill ensures that photographers are the first owners of copyright on their photographs, and that copyright will be protected for 50 years after the photographer's death. Taken together, what the bill aims to do is protect the incentive to create.

Provisions in the bill strengthen the ability of copyright owners to control the uses of their online work, therefore preventing piracy and infringement and promoting new and legitimate online business models.

For example, there are provisions creating a new category of civil liability which directly targets the enablers of online piracy. In the same light, the bill ensures the protection of technological protection measures, such as digital locks, to prevent unauthorized access to copyrighted material.

Artists and rights holders will not only benefit from these protections against circumvention, but they will also benefit from the creation of rules that prevent the manufacture, importation and sale of devices that can break digital locks.

The opposition has been critical of digital locks. The important point here is that digital locks are a tool in the box for creators who wish to protect their hard work. Rights holders are free to market their work with or without a digital lock. Fundamentally, they will respond to the market in which they are active in the way that best suits their interests and values. That is how it should be in a free market.

It is because of the measures I have just mentioned and more that I am happy to see the bill move forward, beyond the delay tactics we saw at second reading and through a productive committee session in the winter, to this stage today. In many respects this debate has given parliamentarians a strong appreciation for the economic contribution of artists and creators to the Canadian economy as people who innovate, create jobs and strengthen their communities as well as the economy.

We are also more aware of the opportunities that exist for Canadian artists in our new digital economy. Because of this appreciation and the promise created by these opportunities, what we are saying to artists across the country is that we understand this piece of legislation is important for their ability to profit fully from their work.

We will bring the full force of the law against organized commercial piracy to protect the efforts of Canada's creative community. The commitment met with stakeholders' support again and again.

The Entertainment Software Association of Canada said that the government is delivering on a promise to modernize outdated law and support new and innovative business models. It considers that this legislation would provide a framework to allow creators and companies to distribute their works in the manner that best suits them. This is the association that supports video games and other entertainment software creators. It is saying clearly that this law should be passed now.

The Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network is just as clear. It said that it strongly supports the principles behind this legislation, and that piracy is a massive problem in Canada, which has an economic impact on government retailers and consumers. It said, “We are pleased the government is committed to getting tough on IP crimes.”

The Canadian Publisher's Council said that “...we all benefit from strong and precise copyright legislation that provides incentives to protect rights holders” in this highly competitive economy.

It is clear that we have support to move ahead and that we are delivering with this legislation. With the kind of protection those stakeholders are seeking, it is clear that artists do not need things like an iPod tax, which the opposition supports again and again, and does so regardless of the market consequences and what it would mean for the ability of our creators to market their products in new and innovative ways.

The opposition should take a more positive and confident view of artists and creators. In essence, it should see them as the innovative entrepreneurs that they are and support copyright modernization in Canada as a way of enhancing their ability to succeed.

This is our third attempt at introducing copyright legislation. Thanks to the efforts of our government, as well as those who took part in the Bill C-11 committee, we will finally bring Canada's copyright laws in line with international standards. This legislation would strengthen our ability to compete in the global, digital economy. It would protect and create jobs, promote innovation and attract new investment to Canada. Moreover, this legislation would encourage new ideas and protect the rights of Canadians whose research, development and artistic creativity strengthen our economy each and every day.

For these reasons I am pleased to support the bill. I encourage all members of this great place to vote in favour of it.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Madam Speaker, I understand that the member across feels passionately about ensuring that we have a modern copyright law, something that our party supports.

The bill in front of us has a lot of glaring gaps and problems. We are asking that we take this legislation back to the table and make it the kind of legislation that it could truly be. What is the problem in doing that? We know there are problems. Many stakeholders have indicated that clearly. Let us get down to work and do the best we can as legislators.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Storseth Conservative Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Madam Speaker, it is true that this is important legislation for artists, creators and consumers in our country.

This is not the first time this legislation has been brought before this great place. It is not even the second time. This is the third time that the bill has been brought before this place, two of those times in minority Parliaments in which the opposition had more than ample opportunity to stand up and make some of the changes that it looked to make. The opposition actually had a majority on committee.

When I was in Edmonton a month ago artists told me that it is time that we do this, that it needs to be done now. The longer we wait the more we put their work and their creations in jeopardy.

We have looked at this not once, not twice but three times in this country. We have done a great job, taking in the committee's proposals. The committee received over 150 submissions and heard from 70 witnesses. It is time to move forward and get some work done on behalf of Canadians and Canadian artists.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, this bill has been before the House numerous times. In fact, the first effort at amending copyright legislation goes back to 2005 under a previous Liberal government. Members on all sides of the House and all parties understand that Canada has signed on to international conventions relating to intellectual property and is amending domestic law to meet those terms. Steven Shrybman, counsel for the Council of Canadians, once said that if the governments of the world took climate change as seriously as they take intellectual property, we would have all our laws in place to reduce emissions.

Does the hon. member not think this law should differentiate people who accidentally break the digital lock at home or download material without any intention to resell or in any profit from it, in other words, the kinds of things people are used to doing today? Does he not think an individual violation of copyright law should be differentiated from a commercial violation of copyright law? At this point, individuals are subject to the same penalties of up to $20,000 maximum as commercial attempts to circumvent copyright law.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Storseth Conservative Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Madam Speaker, I am glad that the hon. member recognizes how seriously our government takes copyright legislation and the modernization of it. She is a very thoughtful person, who puts forward very real amendments, unlike some of my colleagues opposite.

I am of the understanding through my reading of the legislation that this does differentiate people who are recording something at home, people who do not necessarily intend to break a digital lock. The minister has done an excellent job in balancing the needs of consumers while modernizing our copyright legislation so that artists, creators and photographers can have more modern standards in keeping with those of other countries.

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12:45 p.m.

NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his speech, which was very interesting.

I would like to ask him a question about the rights of communities, including remote communities and communities in our regions. The bill we have before us does not seem to provide artists in remote areas with the necessary rights to promote their craft.

I would like to know whether this bill will benefit them. Will it promote cultural development in our remote areas?

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12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Storseth Conservative Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Madam Speaker, I believe the question goes beyond just the copyright legislation and talks about the need for promoting culture and heritage throughout the regions of our country. I live in a rural region in Alberta that has strong Ukrainian and francophone communities. It is important that we address the cultural differences and promote culture in our country. That is why I am proud to stand behind the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages who does so much work on this file and continues to try to balance the needs of, in this case, the consumers and those creating the products.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Madam Speaker, we are going to see a diversity of people across Canada supporting this bill, from rural Alberta and urban British Columbia to the rural areas of the riding that I represent.

I am honoured to rise to speak to Bill C-11 and would like to begin by saying that I am proud that our government is getting closer to delivering on its commitment to modernize Canada's copyright law. I hope that all members will join me in ensuring the swift passage of this bill.

I would like to remind hon. members of all the work our government has done to bring this bill to where it is today.

The copyright modernization legislation was first introduced in June 2010 after extensive consultations that our government held across the country in 2009. During these consultations, we heard from thousands of Canadians. We listened and responded with a bill that would balance the interests of all Canadians. This includes Canadians who create and use copyrighted content.

The bill was then extensively debated in the House in the previous Parliament. It was then studied by a legislative committee that heard from more than 70 witnesses and received more than 150 written submissions before that Parliament was dissolved. On September 29, 2011, our government reintroduced it. By reintroducing this bill without changes, our government demonstrated its support for a balanced approach to copyright modernization.

We have since spent a great deal of time debating this bill in the House. Bill C-11 was referred to a parliamentary committee that picked up the study where the previous committee had left off. We heard from additional witnesses. We received additional submissions. A clause-by-clause study was completed and some amendments were passed.

This important piece of legislation is now before us, after this extensive review. We now need to deliver on our commitment to Canadians by passing Bill C-11 and modernizing the Copyright Act. Modernizing the Copyright Act would help protect and create jobs in Canada, which is the number one priority for this government. It would help promote innovation and it would help attract new investment to Canada, directly supporting economic growth.

One way that Bill C-11 would do all this is by helping to ensure that hard work and good ideas are valued and rewarded in today's digital economy. This would help fuel Canadian creativity, productivity and innovation. This is good news for all Canadians and for the Canadian economy.

Copyright is important for a several sectors of our economy, including the creative industries.

Let me relate the importance of some of these industries.

Copyright matters to the film and television industries. In 2010-11, these industries represented $5.49 billion in economic activity and employed 128,000 Canadians. Where I reside, the North Shore of Vancouver, a tremendous number of people owe their livelihood to the TV and film industries.

Copyright also matters to the video game industry. In 2011, this sector employed some 16,000 Canadians, including the Vancouver-based company Electronic Arts. The same sector is estimated to contribute $1.7 billion to the economy.

These industries are vital for our economy. I would also like to note that they contribute to the quality of life in communities across our great country.

Of course Canada's creative industries are not the only part of the economy that is affected by copyright. Copyright law affects a range of other sectors, one way or another. Some of these sectors include architecture, engineering, interior design, retail, telecommunications, information technology and educational institutions. Furthermore, copyright matters to Canadian citizens. This includes Canadians who make use of content, Canadians who purchase context and, of course, Canadians who create content.

It is clear that copyright law affects the lives of many Canadians and the work of many Canadian organizations. That is why we have taken a balanced approach to copyright modernization. Bill C-11 would balance the interests of all these parties. It would take a common sense approach by providing protections for the works of creators while, at the same time, recognizing the interests of users. This is good news for all Canadians, be they creators or users.

I would like to take the next few minutes to talk about the benefits of Bill C-11 for Canadian creators.

Bill C-11 promotes creativity and innovation by introducing new rights and protections for creators. It also provides creative businesses with a legal framework that will help them attract investment, engage in new business models and combat infringement in a digital environment.

Let me relate a few of these measures that will be of interest to Canadian creators. Bill C-11 would implement the rights established in the Internet treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization. Let me relate a few of those rights.

First, there is the distribution right. This right will allow a copyright holder to control the first distribution of copyrighted material.

Then there is the making available right, which all copyright owners, including performers and producers of sound recordings, will enjoy. This right allows them to control the release of copyrighted material on the Internet.

Then there is the so-called moral rights for performers. These rights, similar to the moral rights already provided to authors, will give performers control over the integrity of their performance and its association.

By implementing all these rights, our government will bring Canada's copyright law in line with the widely recognized international standard of copyright protection for the digital age.

There are also a number of other measures of interest to Canadian creators in Bill C-11. For example, the bill would make photographers the first owner of copyright associated with their photographs. This copyright would be protected for the life of the photographer plus 50 years. This would harmonize the treatment of photographers under Canada's copyright law with that of other creators. This would allow photographers to take advantage of opportunities in the global marketplace.

By modernizing the Copyright Act, our government will help protect and create jobs. Bill C-11 would also help promote innovation and help attract new investment to Canada. It would give Canadian creators the tools they need to remain creative, innovative and to compete internationally. It would help all Canadians, be they creators or users, benefit from the opportunities of the digital age.

Let me stress that Canadians will not enjoy these benefits until Parliament passes the bill. Through consultations and committee hearings, we have heard the perspectives of thousands of Canadians. Through hours of debate, we have discussed the perspective they have presented. It is now time for us to pass the legislation and deliver on our commitment to Canadians to modernize Canada's copyright law.

I urge all members of Parliament to join me in supporting this important bill.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member from British Columbia. He definitely raised a lot of interesting points in his remarks. I would like to ask a question about digital locks to gain a better understanding.

He says that artists will benefit from the bill because their rights are going to be protected. But it seems to me that consumers will be at a real disadvantage. I would like him to go a little further and highlight the contrast between the two, so that I can have a better understanding of where he is drawing the line in terms of digital locks.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. I will answer in English, because this topic requires a slightly technical vocabulary.

The digital locks are an important tool for creators and copyright owners to protect their work. Software producers, video game and movie distributors, for example, continue to use digital locks as part of their business model because they wish to protect the significant investment each makes in developing the products. Canadian jobs depend on their ability to make a return on this investment.

In other markets, however, in light of consumer demand, some businesses have chosen not to use those locks. Copyright owners may decide whether to use a digital lock and consumers can then decide whether to buy the product.

The bill would also provide a regulation-making power to allow the circumvention of digital locks in certain cases, for example, where the presence of a digital lock unduly restricted competition in an aftermarket sector.

I hope I have answered the question properly.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, my hon. friend from West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country has underestimated the historic place of his riding in our hearts in the cultural industry, as it is the location of The Beachcombers.

I know he knows whereof he speaks in terms of the cultural industry. That is why I put to him the cultural industry groups, a very long list of them, which included the Canadian Actors' Equity Association, the Songwriters Association of Canada, the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, the Playwrights Guild of Canada. Over 80 of them recognize that the industry represents $46 billion to the Canadian economy and employs over 600,000 people. This industry thinks the current bill is not properly balanced in relation to digital locks.

No one in the House, I do not believe, is suggesting that we do not want to protect the copyright of and the talent and creative energies of our cultural community, but the legislation goes too far in providing digital locks and making any effort to break those locks a violation of the law.

Does my hon. friend from West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country not think we could accept some amendments to the bill?

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Madam Speaker, my neighbour from Saanich—Gulf Islands helps me honour the tremendous creators who reside in the riding I represent, people like Joni Mitchell, Randy Bachman, Sarah McLachlan, some of Canada's top performers, who I have the honour to know.

I believe that after the tremendous amount of consultations, the 70 witnesses who came before committee and the 150 briefs, there is the balance to which the questioner has eluded. In fact, there are many exceptions in the bill. We have exceptions for educational institutions, libraries, archives and museums that can benefit from this bill.

There is a concerted effort to ensure that our creators, our entrepreneurs in the creative industry, are protected so that internationally our wonderful Canadians may be recognized and they can make a living from their art, while others can enjoy the art. There are protections, for example, for people who record TV shows so they will not be afraid of unfair, undue or disproportionate repercussions if they do so.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 15th, 2012 / 12:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Madam Speaker, May 2 marked the first anniversary of the day that Canadians endorsed our government by giving it a majority mandate. With such a clear mandate, we understand that Canadians believe in government aimed directly at job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity.

We have proof that the plan is working. Statistics Canada recently announced that 58,200 net new jobs were created in April, with large gains in the private sector, manufacturing and in full-time positions.

We campaigned on a commitment to provide a strong economy for Canadians, not with extravagant promises, but with the proposals and principles now contained in our economic action plan.

Part of our plan for economic prosperity is Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act. The message from Canadians is clear: Canada needs to pass this legislation. Because of this bill, we will finally bring Canada's copyright laws in line with international standards.

I am proud to support a bill that both recognizes how technologies change the lives of Canadians and supports the industry and consumers. The bill would help Canadians better address the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital age. It would work in concert with other measures to strengthen our digital economy, including $80 million to accelerate digital adoption by small businesses, which was announced in budget 2011, and the significant funding toward innovation and venture capital in budget 2012.

We are also ensuring that Canadians have world-class digital infrastructure through actions like the auction of spectrum for next generation wireless networks and services. We are increasing direct support for business innovation, with $95 million over three years and $40 million per year in ongoing funding to make the Canadian innovation commercialization program permanent.

Copyright reform fits within these innovative measures.

The legislation reflects our understanding of the critical role new technology plays in creating new ways for consumers to purchase and enjoy copyrighted material. That is why we are creating a better framework in which copyright owners can create and protect their content. The legislation would strengthen our ability to compete in the global digital economy and it would protect and create jobs, promote innovation and attract new investment to Canada.

Multiple witnesses have come forward to express support for the bill. They acknowledge that the main goal is about protecting and creating jobs, while stimulating our digital economy and attracting new investment to our knowledge economy and creative industries.

As an example, the Entertainment Software Alliance of Canada said, “We strongly support the principles underlying this bill. This legislation will help provide a framework for the digital marketplace”.

The Motion Picture Association of Canada has said:

A healthy film and television industry means more jobs, a stronger economy, and a greater array of entertainment choices for consumers...We support the Government’s commitment to give copyright owners the tools they need to combat online content theft, and promote creativity, innovation and legitimate business models with the introduction of Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act.

Right holders will finally have stronger legal tools to pursue online pirate sites that facilitate copyright infringement. The amendments would facilitate targeting those who would participate in violating rights of creators so the real criminals could be punished. Another amendment would eliminate the safe harbour for those who would enable the infringement of the rights of authors.

The legislation would also bring our country in line with the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization Internet Treaties, including strong legal protections for digital locks, a new liability for those promoting infringement online and the making available right to ensure control of material over the Internet. We are ensuring that we protect copyright holders and are giving them the ability to defend themselves, while encouraging new ideas whose creativity strengthens our economy.

For example, a website run by an individual committed to wide-scale copyright infringement is truly damaging to rights holders. The person operating that site should face the full consequences of his or her activities. That is why one of the amendments adopted at the committee stage will facilitate targeting those who participate in violating rights of creators on a large scale: it is so that these types of violators can be punished. This bill will finally give more freedom to consumers while enforcing a hard line against organized piracy.

A strong digital economy also requires a connected education sector. As a result of this legislation, libraries, archives and museums will be permitted to make copies of copyrighted material in an alternative format if there is a concern that the original is in a format that is in danger of becoming obsolete.

As well, this bill includes a number of measures that will allow teachers and students to take advantage of digital technologies so that they can use copyrighted material on lessons conducted over the Internet. This will help the continued development of distance learning, which is opening up new educational opportunities for those in rural and remote communities.

These are just some of the measures in the bill that I fully support.

As I mentioned at the beginning of my remarks, this bill is an important step in strengthening our digital economy. As we showed in budget 2012, we are supporting the development of our digital economy through important measures, such as opening the telecom sectors to increase foreign investment and putting new funding toward the IRAP program.

This legislation is another step in the process that I strongly encourage members to support. Canadians have spoken, and we have answered. It is time to stop the delays and move forward with the real copyright reform.