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