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Wednesday February 1, 2012
Would a SOPA Version of the Canadian Copyright Bill Target Youtube?
My post this week on the behind-the-scenes demands to make Bill C-11, the current copyright bill, more like SOPA has attracted considerable attention with mainstream (National Post, La Presse) and online media (Mashable, Wire Report) covering the story. The music industry alone is seeking over a dozen changes to the bill, including website blocking, Internet termination for alleged repeat infringers, and an expansion of the "enabler" provision that is supposedly designed to target pirate sites. Meanwhile, the Entertainment Software Association of Canada also wants an expansion of the enabler provision along with further tightening of the already-restrictive digital lock rules.

My post this week on the behind-the-scenes demands to make Bill C-11, the current copyright bill, more like SOPA has attracted considerable attention with mainstream (National Post, La Presse) and online media (Mashable, Wire Report) covering the story. The music industry alone is seeking over a dozen changes to the bill, including website blocking, Internet termination for alleged repeat infringers, and an expansion of the "enabler" provision that is supposedly designed to target pirate sites. Meanwhile, the Entertainment Software Association of Canada also wants an expansion of the enabler provision along with further tightening of the already-restrictive digital lock rules.

Monday January 30, 2012
The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter: The Series To Date
Throughout the fall, I ran a daily digital lock dissenter series, pointing to a wide range of organizations representing creators, consumers, businesses, educators, historians, archivists, and librarians who have issued policy statements that are at odds with the government's approach to digital locks in Bill C-11. While the series took a break over the Parliamentary holiday, it resumes this week with more groups and individuals that have spoken out against restrictive digital lock legislation that fails to strike a fair balance.

Throughout the fall, I ran a daily digital lock dissenter series, pointing to a wide range of organizations representing creators, consumers, businesses, educators, historians, archivists, and librarians who have issued policy statements that are at odds with the government's approach to digital locks in Bill C-11. While the series took a break over the Parliamentary holiday, it resumes this week with more groups and individuals that have spoken out against restrictive digital lock legislation that fails to strike a fair balance.

Monday January 23, 2012
The Behind-the-Scenes Campaign To Bring SOPA To Canada
The Internet battle against SOPA and PIPA generated huge interest in Canada with many Canadians turning their sites dark (including Blogging Tories, Project Gutenberg Canada, and CIPPIC) in support of the protest. In writing about the link between SOPA and Canada, I noted that the proposed legislation featured an aggressive jurisdictional approach that could target Canadian websites. Moreover, I argued that the same lobby groups promoting SOPA in the U.S. are behind the digital lock rules in Bill C-11.
Content Country: 
Canada

The Internet battle against SOPA and PIPA generated huge interest in Canada with many Canadians turning their sites dark (including Blogging Tories, Project Gutenberg Canada, and CIPPIC) in support of the protest. In writing about the link between SOPA and Canada, I noted that the proposed legislation featured an aggressive jurisdictional approach that could target Canadian websites. Moreover, I argued that the same lobby groups promoting SOPA in the U.S. are behind the digital lock rules in Bill C-11.

Friday January 20, 2012
Copyright and the Right
Last night's Republican presidential candidate debate featured a question on SOPA, leading all four remaining candidates to register their opposition to the bill. Their positions are consistent with the growing trend on the right in the United States as it the Republicans that are increasingly opposed to SOPA and PIPA with Democratic supporters left to wonder why their representatives remain so out-of-touch with the popular view of the public (this morning Democrat Senator Reid announced a delay in the vote on PIPA). In fact, it isn't just Republican politicians who are opposed to overbroad copyright reforms: the right-leaning press and conservative think-tanks are expressing the same views. None of these groups or politicians can be accused of being soft on crime or weak on intellectual property. Rather, they recognize the need for government to tread carefully and to ensure that legislative initiatives do not undermine basic freedoms and personal property rights.
Content Country: 
Canada

Last night's Republican presidential candidate debate featured a question on SOPA, leading all four remaining candidates to register their opposition to the bill. Their positions are consistent with the growing trend on the right in the United States as it the Republicans that are increasingly opposed to SOPA and PIPA with Democratic supporters left to wonder why their representatives remain so out-of-touch with the popular view of the public (this morning Democrat Senator Reid announced a delay in the vote on PIPA). In fact, it isn't just Republican politicians who are opposed to overbroad copyright reforms: the right-leaning press and conservative think-tanks are expressing the same views. None of these groups or politicians can be accused of being soft on crime or weak on intellectual property. Rather, they recognize the need for government to tread carefully and to ensure that legislative initiatives do not undermine basic freedoms and personal property rights.

Monday January 16, 2012
US Copyright Lobby Wants Canada Out of TPP Until New Laws Passed, Warns of No Cultural Exceptions
The U.S. government just concluded a consultation on whether it should support Canada's entry into the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations (I have posted here, here, and here about the implications of the TPP for Canada based on a leaked chapter of the intellectual property provisions). The Canadian government submitted a brief one-pager, pointing to Bill C-11,  ACTA, the dismantling of Canadian Wheat Board, and forthcoming procurement concessions to Europe as evidence that it is ready to negotiate the TPP.

The U.S. government just concluded a consultation on whether it should support Canada's entry into the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations (I have posted here, here, and here about the implications of the TPP for Canada based on a leaked chapter of the intellectual property provisions). The Canadian government submitted a brief one-pager, pointing to Bill C-11,  ACTA, the dismantling of Canadian Wheat Board, and forthcoming procurement concessions to Europe as evidence that it is ready to negotiate the TPP.

Thursday January 12, 2012
Are Canada's Digital Laws Unconstitutional?
One of the first Canadian digital-era laws was the Uniform Electronic Commerce Act, a model law created by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada in the late 1990s. The ULCC brings together officials from federal, provincial, and territorial governments to work on model laws that can be implemented in a similar manner across all Canadian jurisdictions. While a federal e-commerce law may have been preferable, the constitutional division of powers meant that it fell to the provinces to enact those laws. The provinces took the lead on e-commerce legislation in the late 1990s, but over the past decade it has been the federal government that has led on most other digital rules, including privacy legislation, the anti-spam statute, and proposed digital copyright reform. Those efforts are now in constitutional limbo following the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent ruling that plans to create a single securities regulator are unconstitutional. The December securities regulator decision concluded that the national approach to securities regulation stretches the federal trade and commerce clause too far into provincial jurisdiction. The court ruled that most of the securities regulatory activities deal with day-to-day contractual regulation within the provinces and that "these matters remain essentially provincial concerns falling within property and civil rights in the provinces and are not related to trade as a whole." My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the repercussions of that decision may be felt far beyond just securities regulation. For example, federal privacy law may now be particularly vulnerable to challenge since it relies on the same trade and commerce provision.

One of the first Canadian digital-era laws was the Uniform Electronic Commerce Act, a model law created by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada in the late 1990s. The ULCC brings together officials from federal, provincial, and territorial governments to work on model laws that can be implemented in a similar manner across all Canadian jurisdictions.
While a federal e-commerce law may have been preferable, the constitutional division of powers meant that it fell to the provinces to enact those laws.

The provinces took the lead on e-commerce legislation in the late 1990s, but over the past decade it has been the federal government that has led on most other digital rules, including privacy legislation, the anti-spam statute, and proposed digital copyright reform. Those efforts are now in constitutional limbo following the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent ruling that plans to create a single securities regulator are unconstitutional.

The December securities regulator decision concluded that the national approach to securities regulation stretches the federal trade and commerce clause too far into provincial jurisdiction. The court ruled that most of the securities regulatory activities deal with day-to-day contractual regulation within the provinces and that "these matters remain essentially provincial concerns falling within property and civil rights in the provinces and are not related to trade as a whole."

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the repercussions of that decision may be felt far beyond just securities regulation. For example, federal privacy law may now be particularly vulnerable to challenge since it relies on the same trade and commerce provision.

Wednesday December 14, 2011
The False Link Between C-11's Digital Lock Rules and Video Game Industry Jobs
Debate resumed on Monday on the copyright bill with the opposition parties citing correspondence from Canadian after Canadian concerned with the digital lock rules found in Bill C-11. Thousands of Canadians have called on the government to adopt compromise legislation that provides legal protection for digital locks but ensures that the copyright balance is retained by linking circumvention to copyright infringement. As I have chronicled in more than 50 daily digital lock postings, this view is shared by business groups, consumer organizations, cultural groups (including the leading performers and publisher associations), education and library representatives, as well as Canada's leading consumer organization. There is no serious debate about where the overwhelming majority of Canadians that have spoken out on the bill stand.

Debate resumed on Monday on the copyright bill with the opposition parties citing correspondence from Canadian after Canadian concerned with the digital lock rules found in Bill C-11. Thousands of Canadians have called on the government to adopt compromise legislation that provides legal protection for digital locks but ensures that the copyright balance is retained by linking circumvention to copyright infringement. As I have chronicled in more than 50 daily digital lock postings, this view is shared by business groups, consumer organizations, cultural groups (including the leading performers and publisher associations), education and library representatives, as well as Canada's leading consumer organization. There is no serious debate about where the overwhelming majority of Canadians that have spoken out on the bill stand.

Sunday November 13, 2011
Commenting on James Moore's Copyright Comments
Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore recently granted TVO's Search Engine an interview on Bill C-11 and Canadian copyright reform. The interview demonstrates yet again that Moore is one of the government's most skilled ministers - he knows the copyright file and is able to actively debate its merits. Yet the interview raised several points worth challenging. At 4:30, host Jesse Brown raises the issue of the "book burning" provision that requires students and teachers to destroy lessons that rely on the exception within 30 days of the conclusion of the course. Moore moves quickly to the departmental talking points that I obtained under Access to Information, which claim that this is simply part of the balance. Yet few teachers will rely on a provision that mandates the destruction of their materials at the conclusion of a course and few students will want to have their materials destroyed. The provision is an illusion - it looks at first glance like it will assist education, yet practically it will be ignored. At 6:00, Moore continues by arguing that it is common for students to encounter "time limited" materials. But this provision does more than just create time limitations for students since it creates matching time limits for teachers, which effectively ensures it will rarely be used. At 12:00, Brown and Moore engage in a discussion on digital locks, with Moore turning to the claim that the government isn't imposing digital locks, that the free market should work, government should get out of the way, and creators should be able to protect themselves against people who want to hack into their product and steal from them. Brown notes that a better balance is available by linking circumvention to infringment, to which Moore goes right back to the department talking points that simply state the government has the right balance. Moore's response demands a few comments.
moore on search engine
Content Country: 
Canada

Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore recently granted TVO's Search Engine an interview on Bill C-11 and Canadian copyright reform. The interview demonstrates yet again that Moore is one of the government's most skilled ministers - he knows the copyright file and is able to actively debate its merits. Yet the interview raised several points worth challenging.

At 4:30, host Jesse Brown raises the issue of the "book burning" provision that requires students and teachers to destroy lessons that rely on the exception within 30 days of the conclusion of the course. Moore moves quickly to the departmental talking points that I obtained under Access to Information, which claim that this is simply part of the balance. Yet few teachers will rely on a provision that mandates the destruction of their materials at the conclusion of a course and few students will want to have their materials destroyed. The provision is an illusion - it looks at first glance like it will assist education, yet practically it will be ignored. At 6:00, Moore continues by arguing that it is common for students to encounter "time limited" materials. But this provision does more than just create time limitations for students since it creates matching time limits for teachers, which effectively ensures it will rarely be used.

At 12:00, Brown and Moore engage in a discussion on digital locks, with Moore turning to the claim that the government isn't imposing digital locks, that the free market should work, government should get out of the way, and creators should be able to protect themselves against people who want to hack into their product and steal from them. Brown notes that a better balance is available by linking circumvention to infringment, to which Moore goes right back to the department talking points that simply state the government has the right balance.

Moore's response demands a few comments.

Friday October 7, 2011
The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 5: Canadian Teachers' Federation
The Canadian Teachers' Federation is a national alliance of provincial and territorial teacher organizations that represent nearly 200,000 elementary and secondary school teachers across Canada. The CTF's take on digital locks: The Canadian Teachers' Federation supports amendments to section 41 that would permit users to circumvent technological measures in situations where the use of the material would not be an infringement of copyright. Previous Daily Digital Locks: Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired (PRCVI) BC, Canadian Consumer Initiative, Retail Council of Canada, Canadian Council of Archives

The Canadian Teachers' Federation is a national alliance of provincial and territorial teacher organizations that represent nearly 200,000 elementary and secondary school teachers across Canada. The CTF's take on digital locks:

The Canadian Teachers' Federation supports amendments to section 41 that would permit users to circumvent technological measures in situations where the use of the material would not be an infringement of copyright.

Previous Daily Digital Locks: Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired (PRCVI) BC, Canadian Consumer Initiative, Retail Council of Canada, Canadian Council of Archives

ctf on c-32
Content Country: 
Canada

The Canadian Teachers' Federation is a national alliance of provincial and territorial teacher organizations that represent nearly 200,000 elementary and secondary school teachers across Canada. The CTF's take on digital locks:

The Canadian Teachers' Federation supports amendments to section 41 that would permit users to circumvent technological measures in situations where the use of the material would not be an infringement of copyright.

Previous Daily Digital Locks: Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired (PRCVI) BC, Canadian Consumer Initiative, Retail Council of Canada, Canadian Council of Archives

Thursday October 6, 2011
CAUT on Bill C-11
The Canadian Association of University Teachers has posted a short video, voicing support for Bill C-11's fair dealing reforms but urging members to speak out against the bill's digital lock rules.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers has posted a short video, voicing support for Bill C-11's fair dealing reforms but urging members to speak out against the bill's digital lock rules.

caut c-11
Content Country: 
Canada

The Canadian Association of University Teachers has posted a short video, voicing support for Bill C-11's fair dealing reforms but urging members to speak out against the bill's digital lock rules.

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