Canadian copyright consultation drawing to a close - time to contact your MP

Michael Geist sez,
The long road of Canadian copyright reform is nearing an end as the Bill C-11 committee concluded hearing from witnesses yesterday and indicated that it will begin a "clause-by-clause" review of the bill starting on Monday. While there will still be some additional opportunities for debate - third reading in the House of Commons, Senate review - the reality is that next week's discussion will largely determine the future of Canadian copyright law.

For the thousands of Canadians that have participated in consultations and sent letters to their MPs, there is reason for concern. On one side, there are the major copyright lobby groups who have put forward a dizzying array of demands that would overhaul Bill C-11 including requiring Internet providers to block access to foreign sites, take down content without court oversight, and disclose subscriber information without a warrant. On top of those demands, the industry also wants individuals to face unlimited statutory damages and pay a new iPod tax.

On the other side, there are groups such as Access Copyright that are calling on their members to urge the government and committee MPs to undo the Supreme Court of Canada's CCH decision on fair dealing. While many of these demands are clearly far beyond "technical amendments" and should be ruled out of order, the last minute push must be met by Canadians who favour a balanced approach to copyright reform that retains the best of Bill C-11 and makes some modest changes to digital locks, the one remaining area of concern. My message to the MPs focuses on three simple principles:

1. No SOPA-style amendments. That means no website blocking, no warrantless disclosure of subscriber information, no expanded enabler provision, no unlimited statutory damages, no iPod tax, and no content takedowns.

2. Maintain the fair dealing balance found in C-11 by expanding the provision to include education, parody, and satire and relying on the Supreme Court's six-factor test to ensure that the dealing is fair.

3. Amend the digital lock rules by following the Canadian Library Association's recommended change linking circumvention to actual copyright infringement.

The message is going to my local MP, the Ministers and to Bill C-11 committee members.

Closing Time on Canadian Copyright: Help Stop the Final Push for SOPA-Style Reforms & Efforts to Gut Fair Dealing (contains links to contact your MP and the committee members)


  1. it has to be done, the democratic appeal to their plain duty as elected reps,  but the simple fact is they have no intent at all to listen and will continue to work against the Canadian people on behalf of their corporate backers.  The only (and faint) hope is to continue to publicly expose their criminality and breaches of trust. Perhaps a critical mass will be reached.

  2. It’s hard for me to believe that this is the kind of Canada these Conservatives want to live in, want their families to live in, want their friends to live in.

    As much as they have complained about the long gun registry being too much government in lawful citizens lives, why they think unlimited punishment without court oversite for whatever offense any international company wants to take against any Canadian is so much better is beyond me. A darkened Internet stifled of free speech is not the hallmark of a free society.

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