Canadian Prime Minister promises to enact a Canadian DMCA in six weeks

Michael Geist sez,
Months of public debate over the future of Canadian copyright law were quietly decided earlier this week, when sources say the Prime Minister's Office reached a verdict over the direction of the next copyright bill. The PMO was forced to make the call after Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore and Industry Minister Tony Clement were unable to reach consensus on the broad framework of a new bill.

With mounting pressure from the U.S. - there have repeated meetings with senior U.S. officials in recent weeks - the PMO sided squarely with Moore's vision of a U.S.-style copyright law. The detailed provisions will be negotiated over the coming weeks by the respective departments, but they now have their marching orders of completing a bill that will satisfy the U.S. that comes complete with tough anti-circumvention rules and no flexible fair dealing provision.

For those wondering what can be done, my only answer is to speak out now. Write a paper letter to your Member of Parliament and send copies to the Prime Minister, Moore, Clement and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. No stamp is required - be sure to include your home address and send it to the House of Commons, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6. Once that is done, join the Facebook group and the Facebook page and be sure to ask others do the same. You may have spoken out before, but your voice is needed yet again.

What a goddamned disaster. The Tories have shown -- yet again -- their utter contempt for public opinion and Canadian culture and small business when these present an invonvenience to more windfall profits for offshore entertainment giants.

Remember: thousands of us responded to the Tory inquiry on copyright law, and overwhelmingly, we said we did not want a US-style copyright disaster at home. Remember: hundreds of thousands of us wrote and called our MPs. Remember: Canadian artists' coalitions fought against the imposition of a DMCA in Canada. Remember: America's copyright war has been an absolute trainwreck, with tens of thousands facing lawsuits, competition and innovation eroded by DRM, free speech challenged by copyright takedowns, and no improvements for creators or creativity.

There's only one thing stupider than being the first country to enact the DMCA, in spite of its obvious shortcomings: enacting the DMCA after the first country has spent a decade showing how rotten and backwards this approach to copyright is.

PMO Issues The Order: Canadian DMCA Within Six Weeks


  1. And politicians really wonder why there is apathy amongst voters.

    When your voters feel powerless over their own fate because our elected officials just do whatever the hell they like it is sort of demoralizing. It also further erodes what little trust people have in politicians to begin with.

    I wish I could say that I am surprised by this, and the fact that I am not illustrates my point. It is what I come to expect now.

    1. There’s only apathy until it tips over into rage.

      Unfortunately, the lighting rod Mr. Potter’s crowd is using (that guy who runs Faux News, whatsisface. Sits in a wheelchair, would have gotten away with bankrupting Bedford Falls’ savings and loan if it weren’t for those meddling kids pooling their money and taking collective communist action. No, not Limbaugh or Beck or any of the vaguely potato-shaped crowd. Their boss. More like a raisin. Yeah, that guy.)

      The lightning rod they’re using for rage is the “Tea Party” crowd. They get together and sing “a very merry unbirthday” and demand an end to “plate tektonix” and other things they can’t spell. As far as I can tell, their purpose is to make voter rage look as uncool as humanly possible, so the rest of us aren’t tempted to indulge in it. They’re also carefully orchestrated to be damn ineffective so that if anybody else does decide to get off the couch, the context they have to operate in as utterly useless as possible. (Don’t make an appointment with your senator to try to speak to them in person on an issue, don’t campaign for candidates you like during the primaries, don’t pool your money and hire your own lobbyists… No, go out to some public space and hold a sign proclaiming the end of the world is “nye”.)


    2. we are on the brink of a civil war. Politicians can only push the free so far.

      Down with Harper. Down with the Canadian Pro US government.

  2. And politicians really wonder why there is apathy amongst voters.

    When your voters feel powerless over their own fate because our elected officials just do whatever the hell they like it is sort of demoralizing. It also further erodes what little trust people have in politicians to begin with.

    I wish I could say that I am surprised by this, and the fact that I am not illustrates my point. It is what I come to expect now.

  3. seething with rage.

    so. very. angry.

    Why did I ever think that they would actually listen to the thousands of citizens who took time to carefully outline our views on copyright for them when the outcome was pretty well expected – they would ignore us entirely…again.

  4. @DarthVain…they don’t wonder why there’s such apathy at all. In fact, they count on it. It’s not like Canadian/western politicians are actually interested in democracy and all its messy, inconvenient requirements for things like “transparency” and “accountability” and the like.

  5. I’m basically a Montreal anglo. Thought I was a die-hard federalist. The longer Harper is PM, the more I find myself becoming a separatist.

  6. just sent a letter to my MP. but if this is going to go through, im just going to go more underground, and fuck it, i wont spend a dime on anything that’s released and i will encourage piracy whetever i go. wanna play asshole i can play asshole too….

  7. So let me get this straight. We have an extra blank media tax because we’re all pirating stuff, but none of that money goes to the developers or artists.

    If the bill is anything like C-61, I would be fined $2,000 per video for ripping the DVDs I own onto my home server for my own personal use, but if I pirate the videos off the internet, I’m fined $200 per video.

    To top things off, few if any of the video streaming sites from the US work in Canada. Seems fair to me!!

  8. This is so frustrating. We’re even in a Minority Government, but the opposition is so weak as to be ineffective.

    I’ll write to some MPs, but they didn’t listen to the consultation; why would they listen this time?

    1. The Opposition would have to not only oppose the bill but strongly enough to force an election over it. I can guarrantee you that isn’t the case.

  9. “They didn’t listen to the consultation; why would they listen this time?”

    Exactly. Isn’t this Einstein’s definition of insanity? Does anyone have any suggestions of something we can do that hasn’t already been tried and had zero effect?


    Also: does anybody really believe that there was some kind of conflict of principle between James Moore and Tony Clement over this? I don’t.

    1. “Does anyone have any suggestions of something we can do that hasn’t already been tried and had zero effect?”

      Put enough pressure on the Liberals, Bloc and NDP to make a stand on this issue. It’s a minority government and if the opposition unites against the Conservatives it won’t pass through.

      @DWittSF, Harper’s parliamentary tactic (prorogue parliament) worked. Within that time the Liberals changed leaders, because the leader who was trying to oust Harper was not very popular nationally. The new leader Ignatieff decided not to oust Harper, because a large part of Canadians were against it happening this way and wanted elections to decide the PM.

      Since then Harper has used this same parliamentary tactic again to avoid releasing Afghanistan documents dealing with Afghanistan prisoners being tortured and how much did the Canadian government and military knew about this. Canadian parliament is back in session now, but there’s still a very big complicated controversy about these documents and how much of these documents does the Harper government has to show to the opposition parties.

    2. “Isn’t this Einstein’s definition of insanity?”

      Repeating the past in this case would be a good thing. This bill has been blocked before; it CAN be blocked again. The worst thing we can do is give up.

  10. The bill can be voted down, or force Harper to try to prorogue again- but 3 times in just over a year might not fly. Sure they’ll put a different t- shirt on and try again, but it can be fought.

  11. I’ll admit i’m not up on Canadian politics, but I thought Harper was on the outs politically, and had to pull some parliamentary tactic so as not to get ousted. Can somebody please give me the 411 on his electoral status?

  12. Democracy is a farce. Corporations are the next “multicellular organisms” up on the food chain. Guess what they feed on? Wolves or shepherds, all the same to the sheep.

  13. This is sad news for everyone. If developed countries like UK, U.S.A. and now Canada are approving these laws, I am afraid that the rest of the world will follow them, just like Domino Effect.
    We need a Revolution and a Leader, politicians are destroying our freedom.
    I vote for Richard Stallman

  14. @Laroquod: Even in danger of being censored for this advertisement: ^^
    Join your local Pirate Party (or make one). You can find a twitter-(statistics)-list here:
    and the PPInt with links to them:

    Here in Germany, after getting 2% nearly from scratch it had a definite effect – not enough, but the big ones in Policy at least pretend to listen.
    Of course, beeing active in a party means work, but as you won’t buy and watch any more Hollywood movies, you should have more time ;) And you can really learn much in the process.

    One thing is sure: You can’t beat big international Hollywood, RIAA&Co in only one country. You need to get international, too. Thats the big big point the internet has – you don’t need thousands (millions) of *insert your money* to connect international. And thats the reason why the internet is feared.

  15. Remember to send it to the Bloc and NDP leaders too. This is a minority government make sure you try to communicate to all sides to stop this.

    (btw what is involved in nominating Michael Geist for the Order of Canada? He certainly deserves such recognition for his work and maybe it will bring more weight to his words.

  16. This is very depressing. Not that I really expected more from the Tories, but I had sort of hoped that since they bothered with the consolation that they might actually read it.

    I won’t likely write my letters until they table a bill. I can’t help but think that it will be better if I address my letters to the bills specifics. If they cared /wanted to know my opinions in general they could have read the consolation documents.

  17. This isn’t hard to fix! Go here and find your MP’s contact info:

    Then CALL his constituency office, and make the point that:

    1) You DO NOT support the current copyright bill being tabled

    2) You DO support more liberal copyright, NOT US-style copyright

    3) You DO NOT support anything resembling the DMCA or ACTA

    Then follow it up with an email to your MP in Ottawa.


  18. And the libs finally got some guts… and then decided to just force the HST down everyone’s throats.

    Politics in this country is such a joke.

    There is effectively no representation, nor any concern placed by MPs on what the average citizen wants. Whip votes cover everything that matters – and the fact that a party’s interests resemble that of their constituents is purely a coincidence.
    If this libs get in power, you’ll see the exact same thing.

    If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve seen all the scummy stuff go on here, bills that are copied word for word from industry websites, the Canadian taxpayers paying tens of thousands of dollars for that “service”, the blatant disregard for the interests of Canadians by both parties… it’s just… so much sigh.

    And I might just be daft, but a minority PMO does NOT get to dictate policy in my books. Doesn’t matter though, the copyright lobby donates to all parties.

  19. Political apathy? I don’t buy it. When all of you saw how bad the environment has become, you decided to change. Did you just start recycling yourself? Or did you try to tell your friends to recycle, to car pool, to be green?

    So when you’re dissapointed in how the government is being run, why is there apathay? Changing green house gasses is easier than changing political policy? Of course not!

    Your own individual vote doesn’t matter. It never did. What mattered was how many other votes you managed to sway. And if you didn’t like a single candidate, then go challenge their candidacy in their party. If you don’t like it, do something. You can. You started to change the planet, to make it a little greener. Now start changing Canada and make it a little more fair (use).

  20. 2002 Canadian-produced spoof film on
    “The Infringement: a comedy in one (DMC)Act”

  21. Has the text of the bill been released yet? If you could link it on BoingBoing as soon as it’s released I would really appreciate it. I’d like to know exactly what is proposed so I can tell my MP exactly what is wrong with it.

  22. I am asking the same question… what is a legal course of action that may be also effective in influencing currupt polititians’ behavior?

    I wonder what would the french farmers do?

  23. “They didn’t listen to the consultation; why would they listen this time?”

    If we look at it that way, and throw up our hands in disgust, THEY HAVE WON.

    How are they looking at it? This is a protest by a “special interest group”. A mere handful of Canadians — less than 9,000 — made submissions. Come on, out of 33,311,400 million? A tiny fraction. Do the math.

    Prime Minister Harper doesn’t think it is enough opposition to make a difference. After all, it is ONLY some lowly radical tech people who are against it. And maybe a few of the musicians who have begun establishing recording careers without having to give record companies their copyright. [30% of the Canadian recording industry has gone independent… why the music biz really wants to stop p2p.]

    What we must realize is that they are right.

    Most Canadians don’t understand what is happening or what this will mean. Prime Minister Harper and his government are counting on us getting angry at being ignored, and giving up the fight and getting on with our lives, leaving them free to do whatever they want.

    Which is why it is all the more important to NOT GIVE UP.
    Canadians can’t afford to give up in frustration.

    1. First: TELL everybody that you know.
    2. EXPLAIN the issues to everybody that you know. If you can’t explain it, give them the links above, send them to Michael Geist, wherever, do whatever it takes.
    3. Write letters to all the politicians Cory mentions AND to all the independents in your riding.
    4. Write letters to the mainstream media in your area. Comment online (where appropriate).
    5. Blog if you’ve got a blog, and if you don’t, it’s really easy to start one
    6. Use Twitter,, Facebook, IRC or any other internet information sharing thing you are part of to spread the word.

    There is a Pirate Party of Canada that will most likely be ready to go for the next election. As I understand it, they’re just waiting to get their registration papers back.

    You can also get involved in Fairvote Canada a grass roots non-partisan electoral reform movement which is growing local chapters across the country.

    Because one of the things that scares me silly about all of these laws is that our elected representatives are passing laws about things they don’t understand. Watching the UK government talk about their Digital Economy Bill would have been laughable if they weren’t making legislation to control internet issues they clearly don’t understand. What happened to democracy?

    I don’t have time for this either. But the thought of young people going to jail for personal use copyright infringement is just too much for me– like in Chicago. The thought that people can be cut off the internet based on accusations — that we are guilty until proven innocent — at a point when the internet is no longer a luxury is more than I can swallow.

    So when I press “submit” I’ll turn this into an article in my personal political blog even though I really need to get my novel finished.

    Because it’s that important.

    But you know what the BEST thing is? We have a minority government. That means we have a voice. Lets use it. Get involved.

    This is about the future of our country.

  24. Check out the discussion on CBC’s website. There are over 450 comments and counting.

  25. The lightning rod they’re using for rage is the “Tea Party” crowd. They get together and sing “a very merry unbirthday”…

    Do they really? It would be very pleasant to find they did – I wasn’t expecting them to be so cultured.

  26. I fear that there is little that could be done politically to change the course of action so long as the US can strongarm the rest of the world to do the bidding of the Hollywood Cartel. Obama speaks of change and hope but it is very clear that, with big hollywood backing and a vice prez very deep into the pockets of the hollywood cartel lobbyists, they will do no more to fred information from dmca shackles tha corporate republicans. In turn, the US will bully the rest of the world to follow suit.

    Don’t think for a moment that Harper’s conservatives are at fault. Remember Bill C61, the original draconian DMC-eh, was an invention of the Liberal party. Be realistic, the Liberals, led by a man who spent the longest stint of his life in the US and has a track record of aligning with Democrat policy, would do ANY different from Harper. Unfortunately the separatist Bloc and socialist NDP ideologies are pracically unworkable in Canada and thus the parties unelectable so their defence of personal information rights is ineffective.

    The only hope would be if the writ is droppeds and itr became a pivotal issue in the election. However, canadians are politically apathetic and if they care about political issues at all it would be limited to real big issues like the federal deficit or healthcare or high tax rate. Copyright policy affects us all deeply but it is an issue too complex to comprehend for those who do not take the effort to educate themselves.

  27. This bill is unlikely to be a confidence measure. I seriously doubt the NDP and Bloc will support it so you might find its better to put pressure on Ignatieff than Harper.

  28. Canadians live in a democracy, which means the people decide which politicians receive bribes, errr lobbying funds from industry. A loud campaign calling for a complete boycott of the Canadian recording industry if the legislation goes ahead (indie only from now on!), and include inundating the industry association with letters. The industry will then instruct their puppets errr request the politicians not to go ahead with it…

  29. Like the ‘war on drugs’ this too will be a massive waste of time, money and manpower only to imprison those too dumb to hide their habits.
    The real filesharers/pirates/criminals that resell for profit will continue unabated by this “law”.

    Our only defense is to topple their government and reform it!

  30. Ok, time for breakfast…
    The title was approved my my teen. I’m getting too ancient for all nighters. I just finished the blog post inspired by this (clocking nearly 3,000 words, eek) some is contact info & mailing addresses etc, along with heaps of background links & source material too:
    Oh! Canada blog: Canada don’t need no stinkin’ DMCA

    If anybody pops in here after the story is cold (like now) I thought I’d pass this on… I was doing a fair bit of retweeting about this & other “Canadian DMCA” articles yesterday and was surprised to find a DM from the ipadlock minister himself in my Twitter account, asking why I would judge the bill before even reading it? Reasonable question. Civilized I thought.

    So I thought I’d be cool and answer him quietly in the top of the article, and DM him the short version back. Turns out I can’t DM even in reply to someone who is not following me. (I’m a noob, what can I say.)

    Guess he’s into pronouncements from above to the peons but really and truly isn’t into hearing our answers back. Ah well.

  31. Okay then. The Tories gotta go.

    It’s bad enough that they tell Womens groups to f-off, and then get caught in one or two new scandels every week. Now they re bending us over for the US.

    Time to leave Mr Harper. Go pick up your board memberships for the US companies you serve.

  32. Do you want to send the Tories a real message?

    Donate money, say $10 to $20 to one of the opposition parties. Take your pick.

    Then email the PM and your MP to tell them that you are angry and supporting their competition with money.

    That is the only real way to get a politicos attention.

  33. Money. It just takes money to elect a new Government and not these Conservatives.If there’s a snap election just support anybody but these guys.

  34. Are you kidding me, if I own a copying disc I can go to prison for making a legitimate copy of a purchased disc, I mean come on it’s ridiculous. Yes there needs to be a law against pirating CD’s-DVD’s but really!!!
    Lets get real and make a law that’s logical and proper for everyone and beneficial for all.

  35. Is it possible that the proposed Bill can be used to prevent us from forwarding on articles we read on the internet. Will this be used to controle Internet use ? Has anyone read the fine print ?

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