Canada's Tories set to reintroduce DRM-friendly copyright bill without consultation

Canada's majority Tory government is poised to reintroduce its disastrous DRM-friendly copyright law, formerly Bill C-32, without any further public consultation. This law repeats the major error made in the US 1998 DMCA, namely granting special status to "software locks" (AKA DRM), making it illegal to remove a lock, even if you're doing so for a lawful purpose. Minister James Moore (who seems to have retreated from his plan to "fight [opponents of the bill] on Twitter" after one too many Canadians told him what they thought of his legislation) has decided to throw in his lot with the anti-property crowd who say that you should not have the right to use your devices in lawful ways if a copyright holder or DRM vendor objects. As Wikileaks has demonstrated that this law has come about thanks to direct pressure from American corporations and government, and I suppose that means that anyone in Moore's seat will now have to blindly follow the American government off the cliff it fell over 13 years ago.
Mr. Moore told The Canadian Press in an interview that the Conservative government will re-introduce its copyright bill this fall, in exactly the same form as legislation that died with the last Parliament.

The measures will go back to a legislative committee for study, and Mr. Moore said groups who testified before MPs won't be asked back to comment again.

“We've taken a couple runs at it before in minority Parliaments, but we think that we have a very good formula with the old Bill C-32 and when we come forward with our legislative agenda this fall we want to pick up where we left off, which is to continue the study of the legislation,” Mr. Moore said.

Supreme Court ruling could further delay Tory copyright overhaul (Thanks, Dave!)


  1. I’m don’t think anyone who has been following this is shocked. They’ve been trying to please lobbyists with this for years under minority governments. Now with a majority it’s no surprise they’ll push this through without any consultation.

  2. “and I suppose that means that anyone in Moore’s seat will now how to blindly follow the American government off the cliff it fell over 13 years ago.”should read?:and I suppose that means that anyone in Moore’s seat will now how to blindly follow the American government off the cliff it fell over 13 years ago.

  3. Thank you for ringing this alarm. (Again.)
    Expecting the return of Bill C-32, I’ve released in open-access format a study that I published about Canada-USA tensions over copyright, as they play out (however improbably) in Battlestar Galactica. It’s called “Downloading Doppelgängers”:
    The essay discusses C-32’s predecessor (Bill C-61), but it’s a decent backgrounder on this US-pressured legislation, it finds fresh confirmation in the recently leaked cables, and it critiques Battlestar as a unique site for staging the Canada-USA copyfight. 
    We will need to push much harder to get this majority regime to work for not against democracy, and will need all the knowledge and organizing we can muster.

  4. While I don’t support the Tories, I am pretty sick of hearing people whine about DRM. Companies need to protect their investment whether it’s IP, software, or whatever. Get over it already.

    1. If they can find a DRM system that is NOT inherently insecure and does not rely on proprietary “enigma machines”, well good for them. But protecting bad math with bad laws? This is up there with legislating pi to be 3…

    2. I love this rhetorical tactic!

      I need to protect fair dealing so it’s legal in practice, not just in theory. Get over it already.

      Now I need you to bring me a sandwich. Get over it already.

    3. So when I buy a DVD it is OK for you that I cannot rip it into a format playable on my iPhone/iPod? It is necessary that I cannot put it on my media server’s harddisk and even worse, I couldn’t even play it back on Linux, because the DVD players there usually circumvent the copy protection of DVDs (they cannot pay royalties to the MPEG group and the MAFIAA to enable “legal” playback of the content). You think that’s necessary to protect their rights?

    4. DRM is not about protecting companies intellectual property, it’s about keeping people who have legally purchased a product from using it in the way they want to use it. Pirates will not be hindered at all by the legislation.If I want to listen to an album using the mp3 player on my phone, why can’t I rip the music from the CD that I legally purchased, save it in a format the player will accept and transfer it. I didn’t pay for the media, I paid for the ability to hear the music.

      Most of all, as we saw with Sony, companies think that they somehow own your computer. Sony installed a rootkit on computers without owner permission.When the news broke, it didn’t take long for virus writers to take advantage of the flaw.

        1. No offense, but that is a stupid response. This isn’t about not being able to do what is impossible. It’s about a company controlling what you can do with your own property. Toastmaster isn’t claiming a proprietary right to prevent me from adding a lightbulb or juicing up my toaster. It may void the warranty, but that’s on me.

    5. Just because it’s a persistent issue, that hasn’t been resolved because two opposing viewpoints exist, you give up? Where’s your fightin’ spirit?!

      If DRM had existed in 15 years ago we would never have iPods.
      DRM says “you can only do what we say with this”, so we’d have to wait until they say it’s ok to put music in our pockets in non-discman form. That’s, among other things, stupid.

      1. I agree with your conclusion, but let’s not forget so quickly that iPods were actually connected with Apple’s DRMed music distributed via iTunes. Sure, you could put other formats on them, but Apple did try to impose quite a few limits. will do what it can to help stop this law.

    6. The point is that DRM doesn’t “protect their investment” – pirates break it as if it’s not there. All it does is make it harder for paying customers to use the products that they have paid for.

  5. the anti-property crowd who say that you should not have the right to use your devices in lawful ways if a copyright holder or DRM vendor objects

    So presumably Canada’s court system will strike this down at the first real challenge if it’s passed into law.BTW, is “the anti-property crowd” really a term for pro-DRM politicians?  I’ve never seen it used that way before.

    1. Yeah, they’re the ones who think that they computers etc aren’t actually your property, but only for you to use with their permission. (Whilst committing massive commercial piracy themselves).

  6. While I don’t support the Tories, I am pretty sick of hearing people
    whine about DRM. Companies need to protect their investment whether it’s
    IP, software, or whatever. Get over it already.

    This bill won’t prevent people from copying movies.  The bulk piracy the industry suffers from (the amount they suffer is overstated, but certainly it’s real) isn’t a million people ripping a BlueRay and copying it once to their friend (the kind of piracy you might hurt by making circumvention more difficult or illegal).  In reality, it’s a much smaller number of people creating copies and starting chains of distribution online (something, note, that’s already illegal).  You won’t be able to stop these people by making circumvention slightly more difficult or criminalizing software or something – and once there’s a single copy out there, the horse has permanently left the barn.  It’s impossible and pointless to fight the battle at that stage – unless you have complete victory you have complete defeat.

    If the industry was serious about lowering piracy rates, they’d look at measures that have proven effective: providing easy, cheap access to quality content.  iTunes, for all its flaws, demonstrated that people will pay for music if it’s cheap and convenient.  People buy games on Steam (or on the Apple App Store) because, again, they’re cheap and convenient.  Once the movie industry gets over its fear of change, I think it’ll discover it can make much more money by giving people what they want how they want it for a reasonable price. 

    Instead of fighting piracy, they should make the “legitimate” way so much better that people won’t go back.  This is possible.  Sure there are some people who will still download illegally – but a large chunk of those people weren’t going to buy in any case.  Fighting for the money they don’t have (or refuse to spend) is pointless.  Instead, focus on the customers who’d be happy to spend $20 a month on movies and give them a service that’s so much better than illegal downloading that they can’t give it up.

    1. This is yet another great argument for “sunset laws” (laws that have an expiry date built in to them).  If laws automatically had expiry dates, then legislators would have a lot less time for passing unenforceable laws that only have the function of trying to force people to do what the marketers should have persuaded them to do on their own.

  7. How long do you think it’s going to be before the Canadian courts start siding on the side of the corporations instead of the people?  

    Go ahead, Canada, keep electing Tories and see where it gets you.  Haven’t you learned anything from what’s happened to the US?

    1. Already happening. See the “John Doe vs Hurt Locker” where the judge order ISPs to release personal information about “John Doe”.

  8. “While I don’t support the Tories, I am pretty sick of hearing people whine about DRM. Companies need to protect their investment whether it’s IP, software, or whatever. Get over it already.”
    So what?  And the rest of us don’t have needs?  Or rights?  Companies may have the need to keep profitable, but that doesn’t mean they should be able to write their own rules in order to do so.

  9. I’m pretty tired of even being polite with James Moore.  That fat f*ck has routinely shown contempt for the voter, and apparently can’t sell out to the DRM lobby fast enough.

  10. Colour me surprised. NOT. The only recourse is that the law being struck down by the Supreme Court following a lawsuit. But even then…..

    Wikileaks showed that the whole thing is just puppetteering from the US.

    And yeah, no committee, and since Ontario f***ed Canada over by voting FOR Contempt, the majority they got will destroy Canada in the next 4 long years. They already started with CUPW.

  11. “While I don’t support the Tories, I am pretty sick of hearing people whine about DRM. Companies need to protect their investment whether it’sIP, software, or whatever. Get over it already.”

    Actually, this law encourages illegal downloading. If I download a movie illegally, the fine is $200 maximum. If I break the DRM and rip a movie I own, the fine is $2,000 maximum. Which is worse for the content provider, the one where I haven’t bought a thing, or the one where I’ve bought their content in another format?

    My home server, where I’ve ripped about 250 movies I own, would therefore be worth about $500,000 in fines. Makes me want to be arrested for this, just to show the public how stupid the law is.

  12. Good luck Canadians with your conservative government. In Austria, we´ve had one (actually right-wing conservative) for eight years. Now, four years after it ended, numerous members of this gvmt are on trial for corruption and bribery (the ones stupid enough to get caught).
    This will not change the fact that they already destroyed a lot of the social and cultural accomplishments of the prior 40 years in just a short eight years and made it ever easier for their fat cat cronies to exploit the weak. And of course, since the general public are unbelievable assholes, they will forget who got them into this mess in time for the next elections. Prepare for a rough ride!

  13. No one likes this bill, it’s tough to know what the Conservatives are thinking. Something along the lines of “You can’t please everybody, so you may as well piss them off”. What’s not mentioned here is the educational exemption, which means that if an institution has made sincere attempt (while not the exact language, it is as vague as that) to acquire material from a content provider, they can strip the DRM, copy, and distribute as they need. 

  14. Why are we legally allowed to rip CDs but not DVDs or Blu-ray?  It makes no sense.  Legislators pass all sorts of laws about stuff they don’t understand, based on advice from the richest lobbyists.  What a lame system.

  15. As someone from Quebec, I have to say, it is news like this one which make me have sympathies for the separatists!

    This government will f*ck Canada for a long-time! 4 years is long when you have people such as this clown James Moore in charge of culture and ‘official languages’ (there is no need for it to be plural anymore, that guy cannot put together 2 words in French) , a creationist (Gary Goodyear) as minister of science and technology, someone who don’t believe in climate change (Peter Kent) at the head of environment ministry. 

    Still 3 years and a half more my friends… It is only the beginning.

  16. Quick case:

    Say I own  copy of a DVD and it gets scratched, should I be forced to buy another copy?
    What if it keeps happening?
    Why must I buy the same DVD over and over when I could easily rip a copy for myself and keep it on my computer?

    This is what is under attack.

    1. Eh, I have a hard time rallying behind this. Allow me to put my other hat on for a moment:
      “When something breaks, you have to buy a new one. Get over it already.”

      My pet issue in this is fair dealing. I make compilations and modifications of scenes from movies for the sake of analysis and criticism. This is non-profit, uses only excerpts from the movies, and is a pretty easy fair dealing case. But I often have to bypass the DVD’s copy protection to do it.

      A digital locks provision that doesn’t have the same exemptions as copyright will, in practice, make exercising those exemptions impossible.

  17. The term “software locks” fails to show how Digital RestrictionsManagement is evil. Locks are not, in general, an injustice. If youhave a lock on the door of your house, that doesn’t mistreat yourneighbors.DRM is like the lock on a pair of handcuffs that have been put on you,and that is why it is bad. Thus, I call it “digital handcuffs”.

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