Canadian Copyright Law Could Result in 'Police State,' Critic Warns
The bill, which would see illegal file sharers paying $500 per download, or up to $20,000 per upload, was brought forward again at the behest of the minister of industry, Jim Prentice. Prentice is the Minister of Industry who decided not to put forward the same bill in December, after receiving enormous amounts of criticism from civil rights groups and advocates.
Considering a recent study showed that almost 50 per cent of Canadians download music, this would make almost half of Canadians criminal.
The bill can be read in its entirety here:
The outcry has already been enormous, with the CBC story that was posted less than 3 hours ago having well over 260 comments. Considering the NDP introduced a 'Net Neutrality' bill just recently, it seems the conservative government might have a fight on its hands.
The largest issue is that circumventing the locks on any technology would be made illegal.
Unlocking your cell phone would be illegal.
Having a mechanic not associated with your car company fix your car...that's illegal.
Want to watch a movie made outside Canada or the US on your DVD player? Illegal.
The list of examples and implications of the bill are endless and the end result seems to be American companies suing Canadian citizens.
Read previous Canadian Copyright and Net Neutrality stories on NowPublic here.
The federal government has introduced a controversial bill it says balances the rights of copyright holders and consumers — but it opens millions of Canadians to huge lawsuits, prompting one critic to warn it will create a "police state."
"We are confident we have developed the proper framework at this point in time," Minister of Industry Jim Prentice told a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday. "This bill reflects a win-win approach."
Bill C-61 contains an anti-circumvention clause that will make it illegal to break digital locks on copyrighted material. That means TiVos and other personal video recorders (PVRs) will be made useless if television broadcasters choose to put technical locks on their shows so they can't be recorded.
Six months after it was first scheduled to hit the federal legislature, the Harper government's proposed copyright legislation was finally tabled in the House this morning, giving critics a first look at the law that they have been rallying against for the better part of two years.
Law professor Michael Geist outlines the serious impact the bill could have on Canadians on his site:
As expected, the Canadian DMCA is big, complicated, and a close model of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Industry Canada provides a large number of fact sheets here). I'll have much more to say once I've had a careful read, but these are my five key points to take away:
1. As expected, Prentice has provided a series of attention-grabbing provisions to consumers including time shifting, private copying of music (transfering a song to your iPod), and format shifting (changing format from analog to digital).
These are good provisions that did not exist in the delayed December bill. However, check the fine print since the rules are subject to a host of strict limitations and, more importantly, undermined by the digital lock provisions.
The effect of the digital lock provisions is to render these rights virtually meaningless in the digital environment because anything that is locked down (ie. copy-controlled CD, no-copy mandate on a digital television broadcast) cannot be copied. As for every day activities like transferring a DVD to your iPod - those are infringing too. Indeed, the law makes it an infringement to circumvent the locks for these purposes.
This should not be confused with the highlight secretive 'ACTA' act, which would allow border guards in North America to search and seize any travellers laptop, ipod and other devices if they suspect there is illegal material on it.
While Industry Minister Jim Prentice and Canadian officials continue to remain mum about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a report out of the U.S. suggests that there is considerable reason for public concern. Congress Daily (sub req) quotes a high-level official from the USTR as indicating that the talks are gaining steam, with a binding international agreement likely by the end of the year.
The USTR official continued by noting that the treaty will focus on international cooperation, enforcement practices, and a legal framework. The article confirms that the USTR comments are consistent with the document leaked last week that has led to front page headlines in Canada.