Posts Tagged ‘dmca’

The Copyright Consultation organized by the Government of Canada has come and gone. Last year’s Bill C-61 caused a bit of an uproar, which prompted the government’s new Industry Minister to take a different approach. The result was a public consultation that included a submission process for regular citizens and a series of roundtable talks with a variety of experts.

This has been done before. Back in 2001, a few short years after the DMCA came into effect in the U.S., the Canadian government held a similar consultation and expected the regular handful of lobby groups to weigh in. They were flabbergasted (or so I was told) when they received over 700 responses from average people (including a pretty terrible one from myself which will probably live forever on the Internet). And contrary to the lobbyists’ view, many of those hundreds of public submissions took a very anti-DMCA stance, which complicated matters a little bit.

It’s being said now that this recent consultation process gathered over 8100 submissions, more than ten times the amount from the consultation in 2001. Again, the public is generally anti-DMCA/Bill C-61, but other issues have been brought forward, too, such as abolishing Crown copyright and notice-and-notice versus notice-and-takedown. Overall, the process appears to have been much more constructive.

There are some fantastic submissions, and I especially enjoyed reading Michael Geist’s and Laura J. Murray’s. My own just snuck in on the last day and, after a few weeks of delay, it’s now finally up on the website. Even if my contribution isn’t as detailed as some of the others I’m happy that I managed to participate once more.

(Thanks for to Laura J. Murray and Sam Trosow for writing Canadian Copyright: A Citizen’s Guide, which I used while drafting my submission, and which will remain on my Quick Reference Shelf above my desk until the Copyright Act changes significantly).

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Today’s Speech from the Throne didn’t contain a direct reference to “copyright reform”. However, it did state that “our government will also attend to the other important priorities that it set out in the speech from the throne to open the 40th Parliament.” That previous speech did, in fact, include DMCA-like “copyright reform” as a priority item.

Howard Knopf noticed a piece in the Hill Times today, in which Conservative lobbyist Jeff Norquay claims that:

the copyright lobby will be in full force when the House returns and he expects a draft legislation to be tabled within months. The government introduced copyright legislation in the last Parliament, but it died on the Order Paper when the election was called.

So the Canadian DMCA will be tabled before Parliament once more. Hopefully the new crop of MPs are savvy enough to drop it…yet again.

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Tomorrow, a new Parliamentary session will open for Canada’s 40th government. The Speech from the Throne that will kick things off will be mostly about the state of the economy and what the government plans to do about it.

Among the billions of dollars of promised spending, I’ll be looking to see if this Speech from the Throne will repeat the previous promise to introduce DMCA-like legislation in Canada.

Hopefully the Harper government has got the message and will drop its planned changes to the Copyright Act. For one thing, the changing of the guard in Washington last week will likely lessen the foreign pressure to adopt such legislation.

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Today’s Speech from the Throne (PDF) included one line about copyright:

Our Government will proceed with legislation to modernize Canada’s copyright laws and ensure stronger protection for intellectual property.

One year ago, the same government included a similar line in their Speech from the Throne and the result was Bill-61 (which thankfully died on the order paper when this fall’s election was called). Despite the blowback they received this past spring and summer about that bill, I doubt the next incarnation will be much better.

Hopefully the new Industry Minister is a bit more clueful than the last and takes feedback from Canadians more seriously.

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To mark the tenth anniversary of the DMCA being signed into law in the U. S., the EFF has released an updated version of their excellent document, Unintended Consequences: Ten Years under the DMCA.

As it stands, we Canadians may be getting our own version of the DMCA very soon, with An Act to amend the Copyright Act (formerly Bill C-61) likely to be reintroduced during the next Parliamentary session. Hopefully the new administration south of the border won’t push as hard for this bill for this as the last one did

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