Bill C32: the Copyright Modernization Act

RT @mpjamesmoore: “Here we go”

Michael Geist has good and bad news on Canada’s new copyright legislation, Bill C-32: it’s “flawed but fixable.”

Canada could comply with WIPO Internet treaties, provide legal protection for digital locks, and still preserve the copyright balance. Doing so would simply require a provision confirming that circumvention of a digital lock is not prohibited when undertaken for lawful purposes. Similar language can be found in other countries’ digital lock legislation and – as the top issue raised during last summer’s copyright consultation – should have made it into this bill.

As I write this, Moore is re-tweeting positive feedback from entertainment lobbies (the Canadian Film and Television Production Association, the Entertainment Software Association, the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network), but not feedback from, say, the Canadian Association of University Teachers; today’s CBC story (“Copyright bill would ban breaking digital locks”) quotes CAUT spokesperson David Robinson as follows:

the legislation presented today will make it even more difficult for university and college teachers and students to have access to and use copyrighted materials for teaching and learning. By imposing a blanket provision against all circumvention, the government will lock down a vast amount of digital material, effectively preventing its use for research, education and innovation and curtailing the user rights of Canadians.

Some of the other bad news is for Torrent-specific search sites: C32 will treat them as knowing “inducers” of copyright infringement. Canada’s Isohunt is already in a lawsuit case levelled by the RIAA, trying to defend itself as a public, net-neutral search engine. “Just like Google.”

So here’s what @mpjamesmoore and @TonyClement_MP and the Harper government need to hear: Tell the feds to #fixC32 with a provision that breaking digital locks isn’t to be prohibited when it’s done for lawful uses.

Meanwhile, ACTA would trump C32 like digital locks trump fair dealing…
So while you’re at it, customize and send this EFF online letter to tell the feds and your local MPs that ACTA is a sham, and it would make useless many of the gains in Bill C-32. (The letter does need some customizing for Canadian users; I’ll post again on that shortly.)

If there’s any good news on the ACTA front, it might be that India’s looking to build a countervailing coalition of states to oppose ACTA, described by copyright blogger Ray Dowd as an international agreement

so one-sided as to appear to have been spoonfed by certain aggressive Hollywood rights-holders who don’t think anyone can make fun of Mickey Mouse and that anyone crossing a border should be frisked for a fake Louis Vuitton handbag.

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