Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice loads the DMCA, aims it at Canada's temple, and pulls the trigger

Here it is, folks, at long last: Industry Canada Minister Jim Prentice is about to introduce his Canadian version of America's disastrous Digital Millennium Copyright Act tomorrow. In so doing, he is violating his own party's promise to seek public consultation on all treaty accession bills, he's ignoring the cries of rightsholders, industry, educators, artists, librarians, citizens' rights groups, legal scholars and pretty much everyone with a stake in this, except the US Trade Representative and the US Ambassador, who, apparently, have had ample opportunity to chat with the Minister and give him his marching orders.

Watch this space -- we'll have all kinds of ways for you to call your MP, the Minister's office, and everyone else with a say in this sordid, ugly sellout. In 1998, the US bill criminalized the majority of American net-users at the stroke of a pen with a bill that cost tens of thousands of downloaders their life's savings, allowed the entertainment industry to destroy innovative companies and devices, and did not reduced infringement or pay a single artist. Ten years of this misery and absurdity, ten years of trying to make the Internet worse at copying, and all it's done is drive a rift between customers and musicians and allowed the music industry to piss away the business opportunity of a lifetime with lawsuits and saber-rattling.

Canada can do better. Certainly, it can't possibly do any worse -- unless men like Prentice continue to make law without allowing Canadians to get a say in it.

Government of Canada to Table Bill to Amend the Copyright Act

OTTAWA, June 11, 2008 -- The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry, and the Honourable Josée Verner, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, and Minister for La Francophonie, will deliver brief statements and answer media inquiries shortly after the tabling of a bill to amend the Copyright Act. Members of the media will also be able to attend a technical briefing and lock-up prior to the tabling of the bill to amend the Copyright Act.

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  1. In a disgusting bait-and-switch, the Harper government is pushing this bill forward within 24 hours of the PM’s official apology to the aboriginal victims of the Residential Schools program. They’re no doubt trading on the good press they’ll be receiving for their involvement with this wide-scale human rights investigation to ram through this damaging legislation. It takes a special kind of contempt for the public to pull this kind of stunt.

  2. Harper’s following Orders. he’s a quisling and traitor to Canada, a man unworthy of the High Office the Right Wing of the Liberal Party helped him to achieve…
    Paul Martin’s Legacy…the Harper Minority that governs like a Majority…maybe there will be an election once the Americans feel the time is ripe for a Reform majority…watch what happens when they get their hands onto the Criminal Law Power…
    Where the F are the Libs and NDP??

  3. Don’t underestimate the damage that one man in power can do to IP law. America didn’t succumb to the Life-Plus-50 term until 1976, when Disney’s Mickey Mouse was getting close to entering the Public Domain and Bruce Lehman was principal legal adviser to the U.S. House of Representatives committee that drafted the 1976 Copyright Act. Then when Mickey Mouse was about to enter the public domain again in 1998, Bruce Lehman was the Patent Commissioner and pushed for the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, extending copyright terms ANOTHER 20 years. Lehman was also the driving force behind the DMCA in the US.

    I hope you guys can put the spotlight on this and stop it.

  4. Clearly, America is exerting pressure on the Canadian Parliament. What can Americans do to help? There’s gotta be something, right?

  5. I a selfish way, I am genuinely scared of this law. Some of my long time aquaintances signed record deals with sub-labels of major studios along the years. Most of them simply gave (or left) me their work along the way, let it be on cd, vinyls or mp3.

    How do I explain to a customs’ agent that; yes,this mp3 is from a track re-edited on one of RIAA’s records. And, no I do not own the CD nor the cheap 12 inches vinyl that I got from an ex-boyfriend’s junk back in 1994 after he dumped me.

    Will scars from years of moshpits with hairy punks prove any entitlement?

  6. Sensationalism indeed. When you need to push your ideals on the public, make sure they are so outrageous that no one will take those who oppose you seriously. I actually took the time a week or so ago to phone Jim Prentice. His obviously flustered “helper” had no idea what all the hoopla is about or why so many people are up in arms about it, her exact words to me were this “there IS no bill about to be introduced.”

    Mister Prentice, just so there isn’t any miscommunications about this, heres the bottom line…

    WE DONT WANT YOUR DMCA. WE ALREADY PAY LEVIES ON BLANK MEDIA TO PAY FOR FAIR USE. BACK OFF.

    And dont even THINK about dumping this crap in someone elses lap and trying to make it someone elses problem. We ALL know it was YOU and YOU ALONE who got this ball rolling. Needless to say, I will NOT be voting conservative from now on(or liberal or NDP or any other status quo).

    -Fraken

  7. @ Ugly Canuck.
    The Libs and NDP are wholly supportive of government infringement upon citizens lives. THe NDP much more so. Why would they go against their own policies just because it will turn everyone under 35 into criminals.

  8. Totally a bait-and-switch. I was thinking the same thing.

    Anybody know when the next protest on the Hill is?

  9. tomorrow, someone start it and i’ll join it. I’ll be the Asian with my family, friends, neighbors, fellow classmates from gr 1-12, college classmates, u name it, if Prentence will march on the bill, we Canadians will too, AGAINST IT ON PARLIAMENT

  10. I’ve read in several news sources that even if it’s introduced tomorrow it will “die” before it goes to first reading, because summer session is quickly approaching. I asked a relative of mine who works for an MP about that and they seemed to think the same thing, although they weren’t entirely sure. It does make sense though.

    FWIW, I emailed Jim Prentice (again!) almost a month ago and I still have no reply. Last time it took me 12 weeks to get a reply.

  11. Jim (Bozo) Prentice knows the bill would be defeated, so he’ll only introduce it when it doesn’t have a chance of going to a vote, because he promised the Canadian Independent Record Production Association (CIRPA), that the new legislation would be tabled before the House of Commons breaks for the summer. So it’ll be tabled, but not passed and then withdrawn, and he’ll claim he kept his promise.

    I’d go and download a illegal copy of “Send in the Clowns”, except there’s no need as they’re clearly already here.

  12. I emailed Prentice months ago and got nothing. My MP has responded twice, though in each case he said essentially that “all parties have been respresented.”

    When I informed him I believe otherwise, he got rather pissy with me.

    Not that I would vote for these sycophants, but I will actively work against any further Conservative governments as a result.

  13. In the worst case scenario where Team America Intellectual Property Police shoves this into law… I envision a country where we engage in a mass protest of disobedience.

    Seriously, EVERYONE I know in my age group (I’m 26) downloads something… Be it songs from limewire, tv shows, movies, games/software.

    Lets put it this way, If the majority of my friends and coworkers engage in this soon to be illegal activity and you extrapolate that out to include people I don’t know and the young’uns (age 8+), that’s a huge demographic of the relatively small Canadian population that are soon going to be criminals.

    Now this begs the question, is Minister Prentice really prepared to fine and imprison the majority of the working class canadian and their children?

    Is the Canadian government ready to support the victims of this law either by throwing their ass in jail or giving them welfare when they lose everything when the jack-booted media thugs kick in your door for that time you were drunk and downloaded Bring it on!

  14. #12:

    You seem to be confused. The law doesn’t make what you’re doing illegal. It is already illegal.

    The real problem with the DMCA in the US is the criminalization of the circumvention of protection technology. This grants anybody the right to re-write copyright law in their favor whenever they please. Fair Use? Nope… Not if you have to remove the DRM. The term expired? Nope. It’s still protected by DRM, and it’s still illegal to remove it… Etc…

  15. #13: It is not illegal in Canada to download. At least not music. We pay a levy on blank media for the privilege. And it is under debate whether allowing other to download from you (share data out) is illegal. It’s gray enough to be un-prosecutable right now. That’s why the CIRA isn’t launching law suits like the RIAA.

    I’m uncertain if these rules apply to software. But it’s true for music.

  16. Looks like the proposed bill has been tabled – there’s a story up at the Toronto star.

    $500 fine per copyright infringement, even if it’s for personal, private use. $20,000 fine if you break a DRM lock. It apparently targets ‘uploaders.’

    I guess this means using Ubuntu to play DVDs on my laptop = $20,000 fine for circumventing the CSS code? The Conservatives recommend consulting a lawyer if we have any questions about how this could, you know, ruin our fucking lives if the copyright police ever come calling. Seriously – yeah, I’ll just call my lawyer to find out if it’s ok to copy that cracked Toxic Avenger DVD to my hard drive. Great.

  17. I just got this response today regarding the bill. I wonder what clarification is necessary for ISPs.
    ====
    The Government of Canada has introduced Bill C-61, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act. The proposed legislation is a made-in-Canada approach that balances the needs of Canadian consumers and copyright owners, promoting culture, innovation and competition in the digital age.

    What does Bill C-61 mean to Canadians?

    Specifically, it includes measures that would:

    * expressly allow you to record TV shows for later viewing; copy legally purchased music onto other devices, such as MP3 players or cell phones; make back-up copies of legally purchased books, newspapers, videocassettes and photographs onto devices you own; and limit the “statutory damages” a court could award for all private use copyright infringements;

    * implement new rights and protections for copyright holders, tailored to the Internet, to encourage participation in the online economy, as well as stronger legal remedies to address Internet piracy;

    * clarify the roles and responsibilities of Internet Service Providers related to the copyright content flowing over their network facilities; and

    * provide photographers with the same rights as other creators.

    What Bill C-61 does not do:

    * it would not empower border agents to seize your iPod or laptop at border crossings, contrary to recent public speculation

    What this Bill is not:

    * it is not a mirror image of U.S. copyright laws. Our Bill is made-in-Canada with different exceptions for educators, consumers and others and brings us into line with more than 60 countries including Japan, France, Germany and Australia

    Bill C-61 was introduced in the Commons on June 12, 2008 by Industry Minister Jim Prentice and Heritage Minister Josée Verner.

    For more information, please visit the Copyright Reform Process website at http://www.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/crp-prda.nsf/en/home

    Thank you for sharing your views on this important matter.

    The Honourable Jim Prentice, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
    Minister of Industry

    The Honourable Josée Verner, P.C., M.P.
    Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women
    and Official Languages and Minister for
    La Francophonie

  18. apparently, this is the official canned lie they send to people who write to Prentice:

    “The Government of Canada has introduced Bill C-61, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act. The proposed legislation is a made-in-Canada approach that balances the needs of Canadian consumers and copyright owners, promoting culture, innovation and competition in the digital age.
    What does Bill C-61 mean to Canadians?

    Specifically, it includes measures that would:
    expressly allow you to record TV shows for later viewing; copy legally purchased music onto other devices, such as MP3 players or cell phones; make back-up copies of legally purchased books, newspapers, videocassettes and photographs onto devices you own; and limit the “statutory damages” a court could award for all private use copyright infringements;

    implement new rights and protections for copyright holders, tailored to the Internet, to encourage participation in the online economy, as well as stronger legal remedies to address Internet piracy;

    clarify the roles and responsibilities of Internet Service Providers related to the copyright content flowing over their network facilities; and

    provide photographers with the same rights as other creators.

    What Bill C-61 does not do:

    it would not empower border agents to seize your iPod or laptop at border crossings, contrary to recent public speculation

    What this Bill is not:

    it is not a mirror image of U.S. copyright laws. Our Bill is made-in-Canada with different exceptions for educators, consumers and others and brings us into line with more than 60 countries including Japan, France, Germany and Australia

    Bill C-61 was introduced in the Commons on June 12, 2008 by Industry Minister Jim Prentice and Heritage Minister Josée Verner.
    For more information, please visit the Copyright Reform Process website at http://www.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/crp-prda.nsf/en/home

    Thank you for sharing your views on this important matter.

    The Honourable Jim Prentice, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
    Minister of Industry

    The Honourable Josée Verner, P.C., M.P.
    Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women
    and Official Languages and Minister for
    La Francophonie ”

  19. I just got this email from Prentice & co:

    The Government of Canada has introduced Bill C-61, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act. The proposed legislation is a made-in-Canada approach that balances the needs of Canadian consumers and copyright owners, promoting culture, innovation and competition in the digital age.

    What does Bill C-61 mean to Canadians?

    Specifically, it includes measures that would:

    * expressly allow you to record TV shows for later viewing; copy legally purchased music onto other devices, such as MP3 players or cell phones; make back-up copies of legally purchased books, newspapers, videocassettes and photographs onto devices you own; and limit the “statutory damages” a court could award for all private use copyright infringements;

    * implement new rights and protections for copyright holders, tailored to the Internet, to encourage participation in the online economy, as well as stronger legal remedies to address Internet piracy;

    * clarify the roles and responsibilities of Internet Service Providers related to the copyright content flowing over their network facilities; and

    * provide photographers with the same rights as other creators.

    What Bill C-61 does not do:

    * it would not empower border agents to seize your iPod or laptop at border crossings, contrary to recent public speculation

    What this Bill is not:

    * it is not a mirror image of U.S. copyright laws. Our Bill is made-in-Canada with different exceptions for educators, consumers and others and brings us into line with more than 60 countries including Japan, France, Germany and Australia

    Bill C-61 was introduced in the Commons on June 12, 2008 by Industry Minister Jim Prentice and Heritage Minister Josée Verner.

    For more information, please visit the Copyright Reform Process website at http://www.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/crp-prda.nsf/en/home

    Thank you for sharing your views on this important matter.

    The Honourable Jim Prentice, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
    Minister of Industry

    The Honourable Josée Verner, P.C., M.P.
    Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women
    and Official Languages and Minister for
    La Francophonie

  20. Wee! Just as I was looking at this, my mail notifier informed me that I just got an email from Ministers Prentice and Verner. I can copy the text into a comment if anyone’s interested, but I imagine that a lot of you have gotten the same email.

    It’s pretty patronizing and at one point says “[This bill] is not a mirror image of U.S. copyright laws. Our Bill is made-in-Canada with different exceptions for educators, consumers and others and brings us into line with more than 60 countries including Japan, France, Germany and Australia”

    Anyway, I’m sure there will be another update on this soon.

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