Canada's apocalyptically crap copyright law passes (but it could have been worse)

Michael Geist sez,

Nearly 15 years of debate over digital copyright reform will come to an end today as Bill C-11, the fourth legislative attempt at Canadian copyright reform, passes in the House of Commons. Many participants in the copyright debate view the bill with great disappointment, pointing to the government's decision to adopt restrictive digital lock rules as a signal that their views were ignored.

Despite the loss on digital locks, the "Canadian copyfight" led to some dramatic changes to Canadian copyright as the passage of Bill C-11 still features some important wins for Canadians who spoke out on copyright. For example, the government expanded fair dealing and added provisions on time shifting, format shifting, backup copies, and user generated content in response to public pressure. It also included a cap on statutory damages, expanded education exceptions, and rejected SOPA-style amendments. Canadian public engagement on copyright continuously grew in strength - from the Bulte battle in 2006 to the Facebook activism in 2007 to the immediate response to the 2008 bill to the 2009 copyright consultation to the 2010 response to Bill C-32. While many dismissed the role of digital activism on copyright, the reality is that it had a huge impact on the shape of Canadian copyright.

The Battle over C-11 Concludes: How Thousands of Canadians Changed The Copyright Debate


  1. Realizing that making media more restrictive will actually increase piracy?


  2. Fuck tha police.

    Digital lock circumvention is going to be hard to prove and chase on a low, citizen-level range anyway. And software is international. I’ll trade completely ineffective bullshit digital lock restrictions in return for stronger fair dealing, broader educational exceptions, a flat NO to SOPA-style stuff, and all the other stuff Geist mentions (rather than just copypasta him verbatim). It’s a deal with the devil, but we elected* Harper and his government into a majority.

    *Pending the outcome of investigations into alleged Elections Act violations during the 2011 federal election.

    1. But it will make it impossible for Canadian innovators to create companies here, in order to protect a creaky, old, and foreign business model.

      1. That’s that much more political ill will that the Harper Government (™ and © Stephen Harper 2011) brings on itself for the next election — chilling and interfering with innovators and stunting the economy.

        Let the court challenges begin already! Let’s get this road to the Supreme Court started.

  3. So now, could someone who understands this new law list for me all the things I, as a Canadian, used to be allowed to do that I can’t do anymore?

    I wouldn’t want to get arrested for doing something I didn’t know was illegal.  (I know this sounds sarcastic, but I am at least a little worried, here.)

    1. You can’t make a copy of anything that has a digital lock, even if it isn’t a particularly good digital lock, for any reason. The digital lock law trumps all other laws that do allow you to make a legal copy. Violating this law (in a non-commercial setting) could land you a fine of several hundred dollars (I believe the cap is $5000).

  4. I was watching most of the day today on TV on the parliament channel from the morning and I didn’t see them vote it to pass to get it to the Senate.. did I miss something?

  5. (there are no statutory damages for non-commercial circumvention) 

    All non-commercial infringement is capped at $5K.

    There’s far less financial incentive to go after non-commercial infringement, unlike in the US where it’s rather lucrative to sue your customers.

  6. They just don’t get it, they just really don’t get it.

    All of this time, money, and effort could have been spent providing their customers with something they actually wanted. Instead… we get this.

    1. It’s not like the CRIA has EVER done anything bad, right?

      Oh wait, I remember how they basically didn’t pay artists anything AND more or less made entirely unauthorized use of their music in the NOW! hits music CD anthology series — all 5,600* different album releases.

      Or demonstrate that they actually gave any money that they’ve been collecting off the Blank Media Levy for 15+ years to the artists the levy was supposed to protect.

      Regulate the bastards into oblivion.

      *Not actually 6,500 different CD releases — more like 39, but why let reality get in the way of good hyperbole?

        1. The Canadian Recording Industry Association has spent the last two decades dicking artists and citizens around while pretending they’re the good guys.

          Same story as everywhere else.

        2. Also, sorry if it sounded like I was trying to argue against you or rant at you. I was basically tacking on more to your argument.

          Sorry, the red mist had kind of descended a bit and I was not as clear as I should have been. :D

    1. Or even better, Canadians get smart enough to vote Harper out of office.

  7. Well…I guess Canadians know who their Parliament is working for now…if they didn’t already.

  8. Harper and his government lackeys serve the interest of big business and not the citizens. It should come as no surprise to anyone that crap like this passed as it has. Or any of the other draconian crap he will rush through while he has a majority. I would love for some enterprising journalist to track down how much money changes hand over legislation like this – but sadly investigative journalism seems to be a thing mostly of the past.
    I just hope we toss the CP out on their butts with the next election and that they are not able to do too much (more) damage to Canada in the intervening time. 

  9. You knew it was coming and here it is, The Nay sayers ended up just saying nay

    If it isn’t your intellectual property
    its somebody else’s intellectual property

    now you know

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