Madam Speaker, if there is time left, I will split my time with the hon. member for Brampton—Springdale.
I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act. I am proud to say that our government is moving ahead with copyright modernization legislation that addresses the challenges and opportunities of the Internet and other digital technologies, and will bring Canada's copyright laws up to international standards.
I would like to thank the hon. members of the legislative committee. We all sat together and worked hard in studying the bill. The amendments we adopted at the committee have strongly enhanced this bill.
Before I discuss the copyright modernization act, I would like to emphasize that until we pass this legislation, we will be stuck with a copyright law and regimen that are long and overdue for reform.
The last time Canada's Copyright Act was substantively updated was in 1997. That was 15 years ago. Back then, VCRs and CDs were the norm. Words like “blog”, “tweet”, “iPad”, “WiFi” and “app” were not part of Canada's everyday vocabulary.
Since then, the Internet has radically transformed the way in which Canadians produce and access copyrighted material. Apps for mobile devices continually improve our access to content. Tablet devices allow readers to access e-books, e-magazines and other content. It seems like every day there is something newer, faster or better out there for creators and consumers.
We need to catch up and keep up with the rapid pace of technological change that touches upon all of our lives. The fact is that while Canadian businesses and consumers are making use of all kinds of new and innovative technologies, our copyright laws have simply not kept pace. An update is drastically needed. That is why we are modernizing the Copyright Act to bring Canada's copyright laws into the digital age.
We are taking a common sense approach to this modernization. We are taking a balanced approach that considers how Canadians create and use content, an approach that gives Canadians and Canadian creators, the innovators the tools they need to protect their investments. It is an approach that is responsive to the ever-evolving technological environment, I would like to stress, it is an approach that protects and helps create jobs, promotes innovation and attracts new investment to Canada. In short, we are taking an approach to copyright modernization that is going to help us succeed in a digital economy.
The challenge in modernizing any copyright law is striking just the right balance between the needs and interests of the various users, creators and intermediaries. We believe we have this balance just right.
Bill C-11 would give Canadian creators the tools they need to remain creative, innovative and competitive internationally. It contains a number of important provisions that would help Canada's creators reach new markets. It would also help them roll out new business models.
One way we will do this is by allowing creators to benefit from the full range of rights and protections that are established in the World Intellectual Property Organization Internet treaties, better known as WIPO. These treaties represent an international consensus on the standard of copyright protection, which is needed to respond to the challenges and opportunities of the Internet and other digital technologies. Implementing these rights will bring Canada in line with its G8 partners and most of the economies for the OECD. In short, implementing these rights will allow Canada's creators to compete on the global stage.
Beyond implementing the rights of the WIPO treaties, Bill C-11 would continue a number of measures that would help legitimate online businesses flourish and challenge illegitimate ones. For example, Bill C-11 introduces a new civil liability for those who enable online piracy. It does this by supplementing the existing provisions of the Copyright Act with new tools that make liability for enabling online piracy even clearer. I would note that this measure has been enhanced by the amendments that were adopted by the legislative committee studying Bill C-11. Thanks to the work of this committee, the bill clearly targets those who enable online copyright infringement.
Bill C-11 also ensures that Canadian Internet service providers will play a key role in curtailing online infringement. Canadian Internet service providers have developed a practice in which they forward a notice to their subscriber when a rights holder notifies the ISP that one of their subscribers has allegedly infringed upon their copyright. This practice is known as “notice and notice”. It is a Canadian solution to a worldwide problem.
Bill C-11 would formalize this notice and notice practice into law. Again, the committee that was studying Bill C-11 adopted an amendment that would improve the clarity of this provision. I would like to thank my colleagues on the committee for their hard work to ensure the effectiveness of the bill.
Let me emphasize that all of these measures, along with many others in the bill, would give creators the rights and protections they need to flourish in the digital economy of today and tomorrow.
Because Bill C-11 is about balance, it also includes a number of copyright exceptions. These exceptions allow Canadian consumers to legally benefit from digital technology. They serve the public interest and are responsive to the challenges and opportunities of the digital age.
There are a couple of exceptions in the bill. In particular, there are the exceptions that recognize the incredible potential that technology offers to Canadian educational institutions and students.
As an 18 year experienced educator, I can say that this copyright legislation will make massive improvements in the ability of teachers to instruct their students. It would allow teachers to connect with students in remote communities across the country through technology and enhanced learning opportunities. This would open the door for digital learning. It would enable students in rural and remote communities to access the same lessons as those in metropolitan centres. Furthermore, Bill C-11 would allow educators to make use of publicly available material from the Internet in their teaching activities and it would allow teachers to enjoy the flexibility to use copyrighted materials, together with innovative new classroom technologies such as smart boards.
Let me emphasize that these exceptions would contribute to an enriched educational experience for our students. Let me also emphasize that these educational exceptions are complemented by a number of other exceptions that legitimize many everyday activities for Canadian consumers in the digital age. For instance, the bill would give consumers the flexibility to copy legitimately acquired content, such as songs, to devices such as smart phones and MP3 players.
These exceptions are a key part of the government's approach to copyright modernization, an approach that is fair, balanced and relevant to today's technological world. In today's global economy, Canada must keep pace with the world as it races forward. Bill C-11 would help put us in the winning position in this global economy. It would contribute to an environment that fosters creativity, innovation and economic growth.
However, Let us not forget that we will have none of this until we pass this legislation.
The committee studying the bill has now completed its work. It has listened to Canadians, has reviewed the bill, has amended the bill and now we need to pass the bill. We need to complete our work on copyright modernization. I invite my colleagues to contribute to the swift passage of this legislation so we can bring Canada's copyright laws into the digital age.