Frequently Awkward Questions for the Canadian Minister who's planning to bring down a Canadian DMCA

Michael Geist has assembled a list of ten "frequently awkward questions" for Jim Prentice, the Canadian Minister of Industry who is planning to cram a Canadian version of the USA's disastrous Digital Millennium Copyright Act down the nation's throat at the US trade rep's insistence, skipping any pretense of public consultation in his rush to sell Canada out to a handful of giant multinational entertainment companies.

There's really good intelligence that Prentice is planning on either rushing the Canadian DMCA through before this Parliament closes, or waiting for the furor to die down so he can slip it through when they reconvene.

1. Days before you were scheduled to introduce the copyright bill, you claimed that Canadian business executives were anxious for copyright reform. In February 2008, however, the Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright, which features a who's who of Canadian business (Telus, Rogers, Cogeco, SaskTel, MTS Allstream, Google, Yahoo, Retail Council of Canada, and Canadian Association of Broadcasters) spoke out against U.S.-style copyright legislation and in favour of an expanded fair dealing provision. Why is Canada's Industry Minister prepared to ignore the concerns of Canadian business?

2. In recent months countries such as New Zealand and Israel have enacted wide ranging copyright reforms that have either rejected the U.S. approach or included significant flexibility to preserve the copyright balance. Why are those countries able to strike a balance in the face of U.S. pressure, yet Canada appears ready to cave to U.S. insistence that it follow its much-criticized model?

3. There has been considerable speculation that the forthcoming bill will seek to drum up public support by including a "time shifting" provision to allow Canadians to legally record television shows. Since Canadians increasingly record shows using digital recorders, users that circumvent digital locks on such shows (which are occasionally inserted by broadcasters and cable companies) will still run afoul of the law. What is the value of "modernizing" the Copyright Act if the provisions are outdated before they are even introduced?