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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

1:05 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to the member's comments, as I did this morning to the comments of the Minister of Canadian Heritage when he was vigorously defending the need to close debate on this bill because, as he said, there are a number of validators on the record who have said that enough is enough and that this is the right bill. I want to put a couple of comments on the record as well, because I think both members have been very selective in their discussion of this bill.

First I will quote Michael Geist. Everybody here would know him as a renowned technology commentator. He puts it very succinctly when he states:

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

There are others. I know I do not have time to quote them all, but in the cultural industries, the Writers Guild of Canada, SOCAN and the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic all have serious concerns about the bill.

I wonder whether the member would choose to address even one of them, since in his own comments he said there are only some parts of the bill that he supports.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, clearly this bill has been a long time in coming. This is its third iteration and the third time we have debated it. There has been lots of discussion, debate and committee work around it, including 70 witnesses and 150 submissions.

Clearly, the information has been provided. The opportunity for thought, discussion and debate has come to an end, and today we have a bill that will clearly serve the purpose of this nation as we go forward.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member said that we have had a good lengthy debate. It is interesting that the longer this debate seems to go on, the more the government admits there is a need for more changes, because even the government is bringing in more amendments to the legislation.

My question is related to an earlier question I asked of one of the member's colleagues. It would be wonderful to get some clarification on this point.

I asked the member's colleague this: if one of his constituents goes to a local store, purchases a CD and takes it home, would he or she have the right to put that favourite song, or whatever it might be, onto one or two of his or her own MP3 players, strictly for personal use?

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. I heard him ask that question yesterday, as a matter of fact.

The bill calls for those who clearly intend to circumvent the law to be punished and challenged and dealt with in this situation. I believe the bill implies clearly that if there is no digital lock, there would not be a problem for those who take a CD home to put it on their MP3 or some other device. However, the question is relative to a digital lock, and if it is an intentional circumvention of the law for commercial purposes or for piracy, et cetera, then we have a situation that would definitely call for action by the authorities.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, in terms of the opposition's comments about the amount of consultation and debate on this particular issue, I would just note that Bill C-32 in the last Parliament and Bill C-11 in this one have had very many hours of debate. We have seen about 180 individual witnesses come before committee and, between the two bills, dozens of hours of committee hearings. I wonder if the hon. member might comment on whether, in his experience in the House, he has seen this level of debate in any other bill.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague knows, I am a new member to the House as of a year ago. In my experience I have not seen this length of review, so I think it is time for the opposition parties to join the government and support this bill.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 15th, 2012 / 1:10 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate being allowed to rise for debate on Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act.

Since 2006, one of our government's goals has been to protect those who seek innovation by creating or evolving new ideas. We have answered the call sent by Canadians for responsible copyright legislation that would protect and help creators, performers and copyright owners or consumers. Our government recognizes how new technologies are changing the lives of many Canadians, and our creative industries deserve a modern understanding of the critical role copyright laws play in protecting and creating jobs in Canada's digital economy. In our fast-moving technological world, it is important that our legislation remain current and provide a better, more efficient way for copyright owners to create and protect their content.

After an attempt to modernize our copyright legislation in 2011, which we could not complete because of the demand from the opposition for an unnecessary election, I am proud to say that we continue to pursue this goal. We are glad that Canadians gave our government a strong majority so that the opposition can no longer disrupt our goal of providing creators with a modern copyright act that is in line with today's digital world.

By reintroducing this bill without change in the fall, our government reiterated its support for a balanced approach to copyright reform, and after hearing more than 70 witnesses at the Bill C-32 committee and almost as many at the Bill C-11 committee, we think that this bill will finally provide a new, modern and up-to-date vision for copyright that has always been shared by our government. Not only would this legislation bring our country on par with international standards; it would also make our country a world leader in terms of copyright reform. For example, I would cite the notice and notice provisions of this bill as truly innovative.

I am also glad to say that multiple witnesses have provided strong support for this bill, acknowledging that our government's main goal is protecting and creating jobs while stimulating our economy and attracting new investment to Canada. As an example, the Canadian Publishers Council said that our government “...demonstrates a clear understanding of the need to amend the current Copyright Act to bring it more in line with our times”.

In this regard, let me say a few words about the proposed amendments to Bill C-11, amendments that speak to the concerns that have been raised and that will bring some clarity and precision to the bill.

For example, in response to the concerns from the CNIB, which provides support to blind and partially-sighted Canadians, we have introduced an amendment for non-profit organizations that limits the legal actions that can be taken against non-profits that mistakenly export abroad an alternate format that is meant for people with visual impairments.

Some non-profit organizations had raised concerns with regard to the fact that they could be discouraged from making use of the exception regarding formats for people with a perceptual disability, because of the related legal liabilities. This clarification will enable these organizations to use the exception without fear of negative consequences.

At this point, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who contributed their briefs and suggestions to Bill C-11.

The intent of the bill is not to punish legitimate organizations that make an honest mistake in good faith, but to protect intellectual property as well as the rights of consumers. It should be noted that copyright holders can always ask for an injunction to bring an end to any violations. This amendment shows our good faith as well as our openness to proposed technical amendments. I would like to repeat that our intent is not to punish those who respect the law.

With this in mind, I would like to mention another amendment that would help to better target those persons who do not obey the law and who abuse the opportunities offered by the Internet. This amendment concerns safe harbour provisions. The amendment would clarify the scope of the legislation and eliminate safe harbours for persons who allow or enable copyright infringement.

Currently, service providers have four areas of exemption regarding enabling offences: caching services, hosting services, telecommunications services and information location tools, such as Google or Yahoo.

The amendment to the bill would eliminate safe harbours for caching and hosting in cases where copyright infringement would be enabled. Safe harbours are not created for criminals who seek to escape the law and abuse the legislation for their own profit. The amendment would clarify this issue.

The amendment would have a positive effect and give copyright holders other means of recourse to protect their works. They have the right to benefit from the results of their efforts.

We have also made an amendment concerning the scope of injunctions in order to clarify the legal issues surrounding search engines. This amendment would address concerns with search engines and possible catch-all injunctions that would be too broad to enforce, such as a court order requiring that a song be completely removed from the Internet.

It is a matter of demonstrating common sense and having realistic expectations of what can be done to fight Internet piracy. Under the provisions of our bill, search engines would not be liable as a result of performing their role as neutral conduits.

Once again, our goal is not to penalize legitimate intermediaries, such as search engines, that provide a valuable service to the users. That is highlighted by this amendment.

This amendment goes hand-in-hand with our desire to recognize the neutral role played by these intermediaries in online activities. This bill is intended to establish a balance between the parties, and this amendment will help establish a reasonable balance for everyone.

For the consumers, we have made another clarification with the amendment concerning access to copies in terms of alternative formats and later viewing. This amendment confirms that personal use refers to the entire household, not just a single individual. We feel this is a matter of common sense. We hope that the bill reflects this common sense, both in its implementation and in its spirit. We must ensure that consumers can take advantage of the content they have purchased at the time and in the format of their choice, while respecting the balance between creators' rights and consumers' rights.

In addition, the wording of the former provisions could suggest that they granted a right to mass-distribute copies, provided they were intended for the recipient's exclusive personal use. This amendment reinforces the language of the act without changing its spirit.

This amendment will also enhance intellectual property protection, while enabling consumers to enjoy their purchases in the comfort of their homes.

Earlier I mentioned that this bill would make Canada a world leader in copyright reform. It is also important to note that we will finally be meeting the standards of the international treaties to which Canada is a signatory.

We have also added an amendment respecting international treaties to clarify the remedies available to copyright holders and to make it clear that they may base a remedy on the treaty of their choice, but not two at the same time.

The purpose of our bill is to provide Canada with a modern intellectual property regime adapted to new technologies. Treaties overlap when copyright is asserted or belongs to countries that are signatories to both treaties. This clarification protects consumers and means they will not have to pay twice for the same service as a result of overlapping international laws.

Once again, we have to do things properly and ensure that the rights of consumers and creators are respected and that our intellectual property regime creates wealth for the future.

It is time to acknowledge that Canadians have spoken in favour of this legislation. It is time to pass the bill.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have been carefully listening to my colleague’s speech.

What comes to my mind when I think of Bill C-11 on copyright modernization is the contrast between creators, artists, musicians and so on and the companies that will certainly benefit from this bill more than the creators. I found it very interesting that, when we put questions on this matter to the Minister of Canadian Heritage in the House, he often responded with quotations. I would like to cite just one:

Our copyright legislation...was adopted by this Parliament....

In fact, the Canadian Recording Industry Association backs our bill. The Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network applauds our bill. The Canadian Film and Television Production Association said that it applauds the government’s copyright reform....

That answer was given on March 13, 2012. I believe it really shows that this bill is unbalanced in that it grants all the protections demanded by the companies. However, creators, craftspeople and musicians have not been quoted in support of the bill.

I would like to hear the government member comment on the fact that the creators themselves do not support this bill and that only the companies support it. At least, that is what the government has shown.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I must point out that this bill is indeed trying to find the essential balance between creators and consumers.

I do not know why the member is just focusing on big business. Many creators of intellectual property are not big business. In fact, they earn their living from the work they do and simply want their copyrighted materials protected.

Of course, we must also find the balance with the consumers, which is exactly what the bill would do.

This bill finds the necessary balance. We need to act, and I encourage the members on the other side to support this bill.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am working on a brochure and in order to get it right I would like the member to comment on whether what I am about to put out in my brochure is in fact wrong.

My brochure would read that the Prime Minister and the Conservative government believe that if people purchase a music CD at Walmart and it has a digital lock, that they had better not make a copy of any of the songs for personal use because if they do they will be breaking the law and committing a criminal offence.

If this legislation passes, that is what I will be telling my constituents. Am I right or am I wrong about personal use?

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member needs to wake up and realize the reality of today.

The producers of copyrighted material are not there to frustrate the consumer. They want to sell their products with minimum impact on the consumer. If the member has been in Walmart buying, for example, a movie, he knows that the movie with the digital lock is available in multiple format, a format, perhaps, on a DVD for a television, but also in a format that people can load right on to their iPad. There is no longer a need to break the digital lock.

When it comes to music, there are many CDs out there that do not have any digital lock at all. Of course, for personal use, the consumer is welcome to simply transcribe the format for his own personal device as long as there is not a digital lock.

I do not know why the member is trying to exaggerate the circumstances as they exist and why he does not recognize that the producers of content actually want consumers to buy their products. That is the reality of the new marketplace.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, I heard the hon. member state his case and I heard the question from the gentleman on the other side earlier about the digital lock.

I have a niece who is a professional singer-songwriter. She depends on selling her music to make a living. There does not seem to be an understanding on the other side of the importance of protecting her intellectual property, the music and the songs that she writes and sings.

I would just ask the member whether this legislation would protect her and protect her property in a reasonable way.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, that was an excellent point and the point I made in my first response. We are not talking about big corporations here. We are talking about Canadians who create content and earn their living from that. That is how they feed their families. They should be protected, and that is what the bill would do. It finds that middle ground, that balance between the rights of the creators of content and the consumer.

The opposition members want to ramp this up but they are doing an injustice to the creator, Canadians who contribute to our industries. They are ramping it up unnecessarily when they know the consultation that has gone on with the bill, they know the support that it has and they should really be voting for the bill and standing on the side of Canadians and content creators.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand in the House and speak to this important bill.

Many of us in the NDP know that our party has been at the forefront of r pushing for innovative and effective legislation through the work of colleague from Timmins—James Bay and others who have painstakingly committed to extensive consultations, both in the confines of Parliament and out across the country. They and are our team have reached out to all stakeholders, artists, academics, students, producers and all people in the industry.

Our goal all along has been to produce the most innovative and effective copyright legislation we can. Unfortunately, the government seems to have issue with the concept of innovation, not just in this area but, frankly, all across the board. While it makes reference to wanting modern legislation, we know, and many stakeholders have indicated, that the legislation has gaping problems.

What we have suggested is that we sit down and go through these gaps, that we close the gaps, that we solve the problems and that we retract the problems created as a result of the legislation, problems that were not there before. That is something we have been very consistently saying. We want to work at this and are continuing to work at this.

We are very disappointed that the government pressed for closure of the debate, a habit that it has shown on many critical debates in this House. it is an action that limits not only the voices of Canadians in deciding their future on various issues, but makes for legislation that does not work, legislation that will cause greater problems, certainly in terms of copyright within the artistic community and the academic community. It might benefit some but most Canadians will face some real challenges as a result of the legislation.

We believe that copyright modernization is long overdue but this bill has too many glaring problems. In certain cases it even creates problems where none existed.

New Democrats believe that copyright laws in Canada can balance the right of creators to be compensated fairly for their work and the right of consumers to have reasonable access to copyright content. We have made it clear all along that the way we would consider possible amendments to the bill would be to create a fair royalty system for creators. However, as it stands, Bill C-11 wipes away millions of dollars in revenue for artists.

When we look closer at the issue, it appears that all Canadian attempts at copyright reform in recent years have had very little to do with creating a regime that would balance the rights of creators and the public, but rather have been an attempt to satisfy the demands of American large content owners, such as movie studios, music labels, video game developers and others.

What we are asking as New Democrats is: When will Canadians have copyright legislation that works for them? We believe that copyright laws in Canada can balance the right of creators to be compensated fairly for their work and the right of consumers to have reasonable access to content. The bill would grant s a range of new access privileges but would not increase opportunities for artists' remuneration.

This new playing field will profoundly affect the ability of artists to survive. The copyright modernization act essentially gives with one hand while it takes away with the other. While the bill contains a few concessions for consumers, they are, unfortunately, undermined by the government's refusal to compromise on the single most controversial copyright issue in this country, that being the digital lock provisions.

In the case of long distance education, for example, people in a remote, isolated community would have to burn their school notes after 30 days. That is hardly an improvement or an appropriate use of copyright law.

People in remote communities across northern Manitoba depend on access to education and accessibility to materials. This is a clear necessity, as we New Democrats have said. The government claims to be on the side of training and education. However, the legislation would hinder that access, particularly for people who already face so many obstacles in accessing education and materials they need. The legislation would set them and our regions back.

We have proposed removing sections of the copyright modernization act that would make criminals out of everyday Canadians who would break digital locks for personal and non-commercial use.

We do support the lessening of penalties for those who are responsible for breaking copyright law. This would prevent the excessive use of problematic lawsuits against ordinary citizens, like what we have seen in the U.S.

The Conservatives unfortunately have ignored expert opinions raised in committee and the findings of their own copyright consultations in 2009. As a result, they have arrived at flawed legislation that may end up doing more harm than good.

New Democrats believe that copyright modernization is overdue, but this bill has too many glaring problems. We will be at the forefront of proposing positive changes and of being part of developing modernized copyright law that is in the best interests of Canadians.

I would also like to share the words of many respected people in their fields, people who know the legislation is flawed and that it will harm producers and users of so many materials that involve the copyright legislation.

Michael Geist, the renowned technology commentator, put it succinctly:

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 rights]...all cease to function effectively so long as the rights holder places a digital lock on their content or device.

The cultural industry has made a statement. It represents over 80 arts and culture organizations across Quebec and nationwide. It argues that the bill may be toxic to Canada's digital economy. It warns that failure to amend the copyright modernization act to ensure fair compensation for Canadian content owners can only lead to a decline in the production of Canadian content and its dissemination domestically and abroad.

Instead of moving forward, instead of being at the cutting edge of innovation, instead of ensuring that our artists, researchers, academics and Canadian industries are able to be part of the future of the digital economy, the government's approach is setting us back.

Unfortunately this is an overall trend with the Conservative government, whether it is on the environment, economic development, education or in an area that I am involved with, women's rights. The government's approach is not to look forward, but rather to look at how we can pull away. In the case of Bill C-11, when so many hours and so much effort has been made to shape the best legislation, the government has unfortunately not produced that.

Finally, I would like to share the message of so many of my colleagues in the NDP. The legislation would set artists back. Artists are the backbone of our country. They are the people who shape our communities, who tell our stories, who bring us together from coast to coast in a country as broad and as wealthy in talent as ours. The reality is we need real legislation that will allow artists to do their work and that allows Canadians to move forward. Unfortunately Bill C-11 is not that legislation.

We hope the government will listen to New Democrats and allow us to do that work.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague talked about being concerned about creators. All of us are concerned about creators.

This is a quote from a group of creators, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. It says:

We congratulate the Government for protect[ing] the creative industries and men and women working in film and television production across Canada....The bill does not provide for the extension of the controversial private copying levy to devices such as ipods, which would have been extremely unpopular with consumers...

Given the fact that we have spent two and a half years debating this legislation, whether it was Bill C-32 or Bill C-11, given the fact that we have received thousands of input, given the fact there was a special legislative committee and given the fact that the bill attempts to balance the rights of consumers and creators, would the hon. member like to comment on the fact that no matter what provisions are in a bill there will always be somebody who will find the bill unsatisfactory? Would my colleague acknowledge that Bill C-11 is a good attempt at balancing that? I expect I know the answer. It is always a balancing act. Regardless, I wish we could just get on with it instead of playing politics with consumers and creators.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, for us, what is important is that we do the job right. What we have said consistently, and as indicated through the efforts of my colleague from Timmins—James Bay and others, is that we would like to do a thorough job. Absolutely, we would like to be time effective, but let us ensure that at the end of the day the legislation that comes out is to the benefit of all Canadians.

I would like to read the words of the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada that noted on the identical bill to C-11, Bill C-32:

If adopted without amendments, the bill tabled in the House of Commons will significantly affect creators' revenues. Moreover, the desired balance between the interests of creators and those of consumers and users is, in our opinion, completely absent.

This is not a balanced bill, and that is what we ask for.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat inspired to get up after hearing the hon. member for Edmonton. It almost seems like it is a black and white situation. We have a situation where he says that there will always be people against these sorts of measures. Of course there will be, but they have absolutely zero recourse.

Let us take a look at the education exemption as a fine example. We have a blanket exemption across the board. What if authors feel the education exemption is being exploited so their work is not being sold in the market? It would take away the ability of authors to sell their products. A multi-step test for the courts to decide whether an author has been infringed upon is the way to go. The government would not even entertain it. That person has been written off as far as any concerns the author may have. This is not a way of listening to the people opposed to this.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is quite clear that the bill has tremendous gaps, as my colleagues and I have noted.

We are saying we should do the job right. Let us ensure that we close the gaps. We have said that we are willing to make the amendments, to be part of making that positive change, but once again, the government is resorting to closing the debate, ensuring that Canadians are once again silenced on something that is so important to our future.

The final result will be ineffective legislation that will take away revenues from artists and that will set Canadians back when it comes to our involvement in the digital economy. As New Democrats, we believe that is wrong.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.

I would just like to say that Bill C-11 does not reflect the interests of Canadians, not in the way it will be adopted—since this is the nth time we have seen debate shut down—and not in its content—since it does not consider the consumers, for whom it is important to provide fair dealing.

Can my colleague comment on the use of locks in this context?

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that this bill poses a number of problems. For example, in the case of digital locks, we will have many more problems if this bill becomes a reality.

In addition, our party's caucus has a number of young people and other members who are concerned about young people's contribution to Canada. This type of bill makes us take a step back, not move forward. That is why the NDP does not support the Conservative bill.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in my place today to speak to Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act.

The bill is returned to the House after extensive review by a legislative committee and the adoption of some technical amendments that will improve it but not alter the important policy balance that has been achieved. However, for those technical amendments, Bill C-11 is essentially the same as Bill C-32, which was being studied during the last Parliament.

Members of the House might remember that Bill C-32 went through 6 hours and 50 minutes of debate in the House, with a total of 17 speeches. In committee, 78 organizations and 122 different individuals appeared over the course of some 20 meetings, which lasted a total of 39 hours. That was a very comprehensive and wide-ranging debate on many of the same issues that have been reintroduced during the discussion around Bill C-11.

The debate on the bill before us now has been even longer and we have heard from even more speakers, with 86 speeches in total as well as numerous interventions. Clearly the House has many views on copyright reform.

The legislative committee also heard from a broad spectrum of interests that had a stake in the modernization of copyright. In February and March, the committee met on 11 occasions and heard from 62 individuals representing various creators, collectives, intermediaries, associations and businesses. They expressed varied and sometimes opposing views on a number of provisions in the bill.

To emphasize the range of views that were represented, we heard from librarians and archivists, broadcasters, directors and film producers, musicians, publishers and authors, educators, lawyers and persons with perceptual disabilities. We also heard from large and small businesses.

I would like to take this opportunity to respond to some of the concerns that we heard concerning copyright reform.

The first relates to concerns we heard about compensation for creators. Some have argued for the expansion of the private copying regime and oppose the new exceptions for consumers. Expanding the private copying regime would increase the cost of new technologies. The government cannot have a strategy of greater access to the Internet and promotion of our digital economy and at the same time support a policy that would increase cost and taxes on new technologies that drive innovation.

The digital economy provides creators with new ways to market their works and find new revenue streams. The bill would provide them with new rights, protections and specific measures to combat the enablers of copyright infringement.

Another concern expressed by some stakeholders is that the fair dealing exception for education may have a detrimental impact on the revenue streams of creators. They propose that fair dealing be constrained rather than rely on the six factors that have been established by the courts to determine what is fair.

I point out that fair dealing is not a blank cheque. It is a long-standing feature of our copyright law that permits individuals and businesses to make certain uses of copyrighted material in ways that do not unduly threaten the interests of copyright owners and which could have significant social benefits, but only if they are fair.

Finally, in summarizing what we heard during the second reading debate and at committee, I point out that the education provisions of the bill received considerable attention and some criticized some of the safeguards that had been put in place to ensure a balance of interest.

The bill introduces new measures aimed at enriching the educational experience. It greatly expands the ability of teachers and students to make use of new digital technologies and of copyrighted materials in the educational context.

For instance, teachers and students will be allowed to use copyrighted material in lessons conducted over the Internet and use legitimately posted material that they find on the Internet for educational purposes. The bill would also adjusts existing educational provisions to make them more technology neutral. The limitations and safeguards in place in relation to these new measures are an essential part of the balance between supporting learning and respecting the legitimate interests of copyright owners.

These matters were discussed extensively at second reading and by the legislative committee, in which we enjoyed a very wide-ranging and thought provoking discussion. In addition to robust debate regarding the private copying regime, fair dealing and the specific education provisions, we heard about the need for technological neutrality and the benefits to consumers.

We are proud this bill would amend the Copyright Act to provide a technology neutral framework that would stand the test of time. We live in an ever-evolving media and technology landscape that requires such a framework moving forward, so we are getting rid of outdated references to flip charts and other technologies to ensure the legislation remains relevant.

Finally, as followers of the copyright debate know, the bill proposes key changes that would benefit consumers. Consumers would have more flexibility to enjoy and manage their legitimately acquired content. Consumers would be allowed to time-shift their programming recorded on television, radio and Internet broadcasts. Consumers would also be allowed to format-shift and make backup copies.

Furthermore, we would be adding parody and satire to fair dealing and the ability for Canadians to create user-generated content. These are important amendments that would increase innovation and consumer choice.

In committee, witnesses agreed with the central premise that has been made time and again in this House. Modernization of Canada's copyright laws is long overdue. Some argued that the balance we have established on the bill before us should be tilted one way; others argued we should go further in the other direction. That is the nature of a bill as complex as this one. Not everyone will get everything they were looking for in the modernized copyright regime. However, moving ahead with the bill will be much better than perpetuating laws that have not been updated in more than a decade.

The bill would deliver a common-sense balance between the rights of consumers and the creative community. Importantly, it would also bring our laws in line with the WIPO Internet treaties.

Bill C-11 would provide for a parliamentary review of the Copyright Act every five years. At that time, Parliament would have the opportunity to review the changes made by the bill, as well as study how well the Copyright Act, as a whole, is serving to balance the needs of creators and users.

However, let us move quickly on passing the bill now, so that consumers and creators can soon benefit from these provisions. I urge hon. members of all parties to join me in voting for third reading so the bill can proceed to the Senate.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member, whom I have the pleasure of working with as a member of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.

My colleague spoke at length, but I would like him to talk a little more about the much-touted provision on education. We know very well that the market for educational books is fairly limited.

How would the market for educational books produced in Canada survive, given this provision? What does he see for the future of companies in the educational book business, the publishing companies? What would the future be like for these publishers, given this provision?

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Mr. Speaker, of course there are significant education provisions contained in the bill, provisions that would make it easier for teachers to enhance the educational experience for students through a variety of means, technological means, for example, using the Internet to kind of learn on the fly and creatively explore things as they come up, as they are discussed by the class. Of course, this would be covered by the rules around fair dealing. There are six factors that have to be considered when we are talking about fair dealing. Witnesses, during the course of the committee hearings, from time to time forgot about the fact that those six factors existed.

We are also taking measures to better enable the use of distance learning so, for example, a student somewhere in a northern community, in Nunavut, could take part in a classroom discussion that is happening in a classroom in Edmonton, for example, and not be hindered by the rules around the copyright law.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, as my hon. friend knows, the bill would provide that persons with a perceptual disability could circumvent a digital lock. However, the problem is that they would also, then, have to put it back in its original condition, whether it is software, a DVD or whatever.

For persons with a disability, in many cases, it is hard to imagine how they could get access to the means whereby they could remove a digital lock, let alone put the software or DVD back in its original condition afterward.

Why does my hon. colleague feel the government is insisting on maintaining these provisions, which would not help people with disabilities?

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Mr. Speaker, of course the hon. member had a chance to hear from individuals before the committee during the testimony. We have taken significant measures in the bill to enhance the ability of those dealing with perceptual disabilities to benefit from copyrighted works in ways that are balanced. Again the key word, as we have said in every discussion throughout the conversation around the bill, is “balance”.

Certainly, people came before the committee. Virtually everybody who came before the committee had something they would change about the legislation. However, the vast majority of the people who came before the committee also said that our copyright law would be better with the passing of the bill and urged us to pass the bill as soon as possible.

I hope we can count on the hon. member and his party to help us do that.