Canada to Introduce US style DMCA Legislation

Michael Geist’s Blog:

Michael Geist is the leading critic of Canada’s introduction of new DMCA style legislation.

It is proposed to be like the US style DMCA act.

Here are some excerpts from his blog:

Copyright’s 10K

As many readers of this blog will know, last Saturday night I started a Facebook group called Fair Copyright in Canada. I sent an invitation to 100 or so “Facebook friends” in the hope that some would join and that we could create a useful resource for discussion on the upcoming Canadian DMCA. One week later (almost to the hour), the Fair Copyright in Canada group passed the 10,000 member mark. The group, which will hit 11,000 members a few hours after I post this, has led to hundreds of letters and phone calls to Minister Prentice, Prime Minister Harper, and MPs from every political party. It has fostered a robust conversation among many Canadians about balanced copyright. It has served as the focal point for yesterday’s remarkable meeting at Prentice’s open house. It has been a very good week.

Next week will not be as good. On Tuesday, Prentice will rise in the House of Commons and introduce Bill C-36 or C-37 which will quickly become better known as the CDMCA. If the initial comments are any indication, he will invoke a series of discouragingly weak justifications for a law that will cause significant harm to education, consumer interests, personal property rights, and free speech. The House will call it quits for 2007 a day or two later. When MPs return in late January, Prentice will bet that Copyright’s 10K will have moved on to other things.

Prentice is wrong. Copyright’s 10K will be 20K or 30K or more. It will include Canadians from all walks of life such as business people, teachers, librarians, musicians, writers, technologists, seniors, students, and soccer moms. It will include Canadians from all political parties and all 308 ridings. Something exceptional happened this past week. Fair copyright in Canada found its voice. It will be silent no more.

Facebook link:

This group was started on the 2nd of December and now has over 17,700 members.

NOW is the time to get INVOLVED before your rights are taken away!

Latest news on this front.

Opposition to copyright bill seems to have blindsided Prentice


I think all these politicians have to remember, no matter how much pressure they get from elsewhere, it’s the Canadian public that does the voting. So don’t go getting us mad if you want to stay in Politics. :a :a

I’ve loosely followed what Michael Geist is up to for quite a while - hopefully he’ll keep enough momentum rolling on this one to make the new bill reasonable and well thought through.

I will try to talk to my conservative MP at his Xmas party this year.

I usually get an invite.

From Michael Geist web site.

[B]No Canadian DMCA This Year [/B]

The roller coaster that is the Canadian DMCA has taken another turn. Sometime between yesterday afternoon and this morning, the government decided to hold off. At 10:00 am this morning, the introduction of new government bills came and went without a new copyright bill. The Industry Minister’s press secretary has advised journalists that the bill will not be introduced today or tomorrow. Since the House of Commons will break at the end of the week, the Canadian DMCA will not be introduced until at least late January.

Given this change of events, I reiterate my comment from earlier this week - this is Prentice’s moment. He has an opportunity to brush aside the momentary embarrassment of the delays and instead work toward a genuine copyright balance by reaching out to all Canadians. As astonishing number of people have voiced their concern over the past two weeks and the government seems to have listened. Now it must act by openly consulting and engaging with a country that genuinely cares about copyright.

In anticipation of the forthcoming copyright bill, the CBC Radio program Search Engine recently conducted an innovative experiment by asking its listeners to post questions about the bill for Industry Minister Jim Prentice. What followed was remarkable - the program received hundreds of questions from Canadians from coast to coast. Although Prentice refused to appear on the program, the public outcry demonstrates that there remain many doubts about government policy in this highly contentious issue.

  1. After you unveiled the government’s approach to the release of new spectrum, you indicated that you granted a full hour to each company involved in the issue to state their case. It has also been reported that you have met with U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins on the copyright issue. Which other stakeholders have you met with on copyright reform? Have you personally met with consumer groups, privacy commissioners, education groups, researchers, and creator groups such as the Canadian Music Creators Coalition and Appropriation Art, to hear their concerns?

  2. The public was last consulted on digital copyright reform more than six years ago in 2001. Given the dramatic change since that time, why has the government not consulted the public on this issue before introducing major copyright reforms? Given the lack of consultation, will the government commit to full committee hearings that grant everyone who wants to appear the right to do so?

  3. While the government is clearly committed to implementing the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Internet treaties, those treaties feature considerable flexibility. Leaving aside the debate over whether the treaties are good policy for Canada, there is no debating that Canada need not adopt a U.S.-style approach in order to be compliant with the treaties. Given that flexibility, why would you unnecessarily adopt a more restrictive approach?

  4. As you took to the podium for the spectrum auction announcement, you stood behind a sign that proclaimed “putting consumers first.” How do you reconcile that claim with the strong opposition to anti-circumvention legislation from all Canadian consumer groups who fear that the law will be used to create unfair limitations on what consumers can do with their own personal property?

  5. Earlier this year, your government released its national science and technology strategy. Notwithstanding the emphasis on research and education, the copyright reforms would represent a significant setback for the Canadian education community who would be locked out of fundamental education rights such as research and private study. Moreover, the Canadian digital security community has warned against anti-circumvention legislation, which it fears could harm an emerging industry in Canada. How do you reconcile the emphasis on science and technology with copyright reforms that would create barriers to such initiatives?

  6. The Privacy Commissioner of Canada, recognizing the potential impact of copyright reform on the privacy rights of millions of Canadians, has called on the government to conduct a privacy impact assessment on copyright reform legislation. Have you conducted such an assessment? If so, will it be released to the public?

  7. The Conservative Party of Canada pledged in its 2005 policy declaration to “eliminate the levy on blank recording materials.” Why has that pledge been abandoned? Similarly, the 2005 policy declaration stated that “the Conservative Party believes that reasonable access to copyright works is a critical necessity for learning and teaching for Canadian students and teachers, and that access to copyrighted materials enriches life long learning and is an essential component of an innovative economy.” Why has the party abandoned this position with copyright reform that will make it more difficult for teachers and students to access copyright materials?

  8. The Conservative Party of Canada has regularly emphasized the need to respect provincial rights. Academic experts have already raised concerns about the potential constitutional validity of anti-circumvention legislation that would represent a significant incursion into provincial jurisdiction. Indeed, the “para-copyright” provisions found in anti-circumvention legislation are better characterized as laws related to property (a provincial matter) rather than copyright (a federal matter). How do you reconcile this inconsistency?

  9. Your government claims that it prioritizes the needs of small business in Canada, going so far as to appoint Diane Ablonczy as the Secretary of State for Small Business. Yet if the U.S. legislation is any indication, the Canadian version will have a devastating effect on small business, which will face barriers to innovation and the prospect of costly litigation. For example, Skylink Technologies, an Ontario company, was forced to spend millions of dollars in legal fees to defend itself in U.S. courts over claims that its universal garage door remote opener violated U.S. copyright law. How will the Canadian version guard against this outcome?

  10. Copyright lobby groups claim that Canada has weak copyright protection, yet as was recently noted in the Hill Times, there are many areas where Canada’s law is stronger than that found in the U.S. For example, Canadian copyright law does not include parody, time shifting, and device shifting within fair dealing. As a result, many forms of free speech may violate the law in Canada, while common activities such as recording a television show is still not permitted. If you are interested in “modernizing” copyright law, why have you avoided addressing every day issues that matter to individual Canadians?

Michael Geist holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law.


Many thanks for the info