Canada: U.S.-style Copyright Law Expected
Barry Artiste, Now Public Contributor
The Feds are tabling a US bill which will bring charges against anyone who illegally downloads or file shares copyrighted material with others, regardless if you purchased it.
Flea Markets, a favourite place to get that Illegal DVD, CD or Software may soon see the Copyright Police shutting these places down, at least until the following week, until another business sets up shop and takes their place.
Somehow I think Police will have better things to do than pull over joggers wearing Ipods and investigating whether their music is legal or not. As for the individual consumers, I doubt they have much to fear, as the Copyright Police have much "Bigger International Fish to Fry".
The federal government is poised to table copyright legislation before the House of Commons' summer break, with critics bracing for a bill they fear will burn consumers who copy CDs or share Internet files.
"This approach is all about locks and lawsuits," predicted David Fewer, staff counsel at the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic.
"What we're expecting is about laying the groundwork for a U.S.-style lawsuit approach (to copyright) in Canada," said Fewer, speculating on the bill's contents. "That's just the wrong way to be looking at these issues."
Critics' concerns focus on "digital locks" that distributors attach to DVDs and software to prevent copying.
The bill could make it illegal to circumvent these locks, which would mean, for instance, that a person who makes a backup copy for their iPod of music they've already purchased would be breaking the law if they did so in future.
The pending bill might follow the example of tough copyright legislation in the U.S., which made it an offence to circumvent digital locks.
The crackdown was favoured by many distributors of DVDs and games and has led to lawsuits against consumers.
But it worries opposition politicians in Canada. A newspaper report yesterday suggested the new law will include fines of up to $500 for individuals illegally transferring files online.
Industry Minister Jim Prentice said he would not comment on that issue until the bill is tabled.
"We have to ensure that there's a mechanism that the creators get paid fairly but at the same time, we do not want to end up prosecuting youth swapping music that they've paid for," said Liberal Industry critic Scott Brison.
Prentice said the bill's focus is on how, in a digital age, to balance the rights of artists and other creative people with the rights of consumers.