Brace for incoming: return of the IP dread

Following the results of yesterday’s federal election, Steven Chase in today’s Globe and Mail opines on policies the new government will “move fast” to implement. Such as copyright legislation, which, like a zombie, keeps returning from the grave, ravenously clamouring for juicy intellectual properties:

on the front-burner will be legislation long sought by the United States to toughen up copyright protections for those who make movies, software and other creative works.

Breaking the digital encryption on a movie DVD – even if copying it for personal use – would make individual Canadians liable for legal damages of up to $5,000 under Tory plans. The intention is to put new legal heft behind the digital locks, or encryptions, that copyright holders place on products such as movies, video games and electronic books. Plus, the Tories want to go after the big fish in Internet copyright infringement, giving copyright owners stronger legal tools to shut down “pirate websites” in Canada that support file-sharing and introducing a separate criminal penalty of up to $1-million for serious cases where commercially motivated pirates crack digital encryptions.

So here it comes again. And no doubt faster, this time.

UPDATE: Just a follow-up counterpoint — Michael Geist has posted an unexpectedly upbeat (as in not wholly negative) take on the implications of #elxn41 for IP regulation change:

The copyright bill is – as I described at its introduction last June – flawed but fixable. I realize that it may be reintroduced unchanged (the Wikileaks cables are not encouraging), but with the strength of a majority, there is also the strength to modify some of the provisions including the digital lock rules. Clement spoke regularly about the willingness to consider amendments and the Conservative MPs on the Bill C-32 committee were very strong. If the U.S. has exceptions for unlocking DVDs and a full fair use provision, surely Canada can too. […] The end of the Bloc is great news on digital files as it was the Bloc, more than any other party, that promoted ISP levies, iPod levies, and a range of other new copyright fees.

So maybe it’s still too soon to tell if this particular copyright zombie will be more of a Rage virus victim or a handy Fido.

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