7 Copyright Questions for Canada's DMCA Minister

Michael Geist sez,
With reports that a Canadian DMCA could be introduced this week, thousands of Canadians have been expressing concern with the government's plans, as there are mounting fears that the results from last summer's copyright consultation may be shelved in favour of a repeat of the much-criticized Bill C-61.

The foundational principle behind C-61 was the primacy of digital locks. When a digital lock (often referred to as digital rights management or technological protection measure) is used - to control copying, access or stifle competition - the lock supersedes virtually all other rights. The fight over the issue has pitted the tech-savvy Industry Minister Tony Clement, who has reportedly argued for a flexible implementation, against Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore, who has adopted what many view as an out-of-touch approach that would bring back the digital lock provisions virtually unchanged.

Moore has declined to comment on his position, but his approach raises some difficult questions:

1. Moore has been an outspoken critic of the extension of the private copying levy to iPods, deriding it as the iTax. He is content to leave the levy on blank CDs in place, yet the forthcoming bill is likely to block personal copying of consumer purchased CDs that contain copy-controls onto blank CDs. Why does Moore believe it is acceptable for Canadians to pay twice - once for the CD and a second time for the levy on a blank CD - and still face the prospect of violating the law...

Seven Copyright Questions for Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore


  1. It’s surprising that so-called “conservatives” can propagate such anti-conservative drivel. It goes to show that the fundamental Canadian Alliance party is still active at the core of the Conservative Party– willing to concede control of the Canadian people to the highest, most generous bidders.

  2. Many Canadians don’t even know that the CBC releases DVDs, let alone that they’re regionfree.

    Moore clearly has no interest in protecting Canadian art at all, which is why he’s the heritage minister.

    He’s probably an ineffective puppet who repeats what his owners (RIAA+MPAA) tell him, but in the end he won’t do anything.

  3. The last point is the most telling:

    “7. Is Moore aware that the solution to all of these concerns is a single provision that would allow Canada to implement the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Internet treaties, provide legal protection for digital locks, and preserve the copyright balance by simply confirming that circumvention of a digital lock is not prohibited when undertaken for lawful purposes?”

    When Jim Prentice was questioned about the lack of important particulars in Bill C-61 to protect average Canadians’ best interests, he replied, “The industry will sort that out.” Relying on the private sector to do the right thing is absolute madness.

    Regardless of your politics, if you can’t be bothered to draft concise, well-written laws, then DON’T become a LAWMAKER.

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