Industry Minister defends the Canadian DMCA

The latest episode of the TVOntario Search Engine podcast is an interview with Industry Minister Tony Clement, the Canadian minister who co-introduced the punishing new Canadian copyright law that contains even harsher restrictions against breaking "digital locks" than the US DMCA, a 12-year-old trainwreck of a law. Host Jesse Brown really does a good job here, getting Clement to squirm over the question of turning Canadians into crooks for breaking the locks on their own property.

At one point Clement says that Brown will be able to break digital locks whenever he needs to, because doing so for the purpose of making "ephemeral copies" by a "broadcaster" is protected. I think Clement is flat-out wrong here. Jesse isn't a broadcaster — he's a "podcaster" (what WIPO calls a "webcaster") and the copies he makes are not "ephemeral" — they endure forever as MP3s sent to hundreds of thousands of computers of his listeners.

What's more, even if Clement is right (and if he is, all Canadians need to do is start a podcast and they'll be exempted from the law!), there's still the law's ban on "trafficking" in lock-breaking software. Under Clement's conception of the bill, all a Canadian journalist needs to do to exercise her rights under the law is to write her own DRM-cracking software from scratch, and share it with no-one. Same goes for blind people, teachers, and others who have a limited right to break locks for their own purposes.

MP3 link