Ottawa tables copyright bill
The federal government tabled new legislation Thursday morning designed to
make it easier to track and prosecute anyone caught downloading copyrighted
files, such as music and movies, from the Internet.
Industry Minister Jim
Prentice and Heritage Minister Josée Verner lifted the veil on the
long-anticipated legislation at a news conference on Parliament Hill.
Under the proposed legislation, anyone caught downloading copyrighted
material online could face a fine of $500. Individuals may still be liable
for other types of damages or remedies. The current Copyright Act allows for
a maximum fine of $20,000.
“This is a unique made-in-Canada approach to copyright reform,” Mr.
Prentice told reporters during a news conference.
The new bill makes it easier for rights holders to prosecute commercial
copyright violators while protecting the rights of consumers, Mr. Prentice said.
Under the current legislation, a teenager caught downloading five copyrighted
movies in her parents' basement could be liable for up to $100,000 in fines, Mr.
Prentice said. Under the proposed law, the maximum fine they could incur is
However, if that teenager were to burn those movies to DVDs and begin selling
them on the street, she would be subject to fines or prosecution if caught.
Mr. Prentice announced Wednesday evening that he would table the amendments
to the Copyright Act in the House of Commons Thursday. Reports surfaced last
week that the government was preparing to finally announce reform measures for
the Copyright Act, however Mr. Prentice said he would not table the bill until
he was satisfied it contained “the appropriate balance.”
“I am confident we have found this balance,” he said Thursday.
The new bill clarifies for Canadians “what is legal and what is not legal”
with regards to using copyrighted material, Ms. Verner said.
“We are putting an end to the status quo and the grey areas of the last 22
years,” she said.
The Conservatives have faced mounting pressure from foreign governments and a
number of lobby groups to update the aging Copyright Act of Canada with new
legislation designed to make it easier to track and prosecute anyone who
infringes on copyrights by sharing media on the Internet.
The act is designed in such a way to punish those who distribute or upload
materials to the Internet rather than consumers who download.
“It's a win-win approach because we're ensuring that Canadians can use
digital technologies at home with their families, at work, or for educational
and research purposes,” Mr. Prentice said.
Under the new legislation, Canadians would be allowed to record television
programs using a personal video recorder to watch at a later date, a process the
Industry Minster's news release refers to as “time shifting.”
Also, as long as consumers don't attempt to circumvent the digital rights
management (DRM) technology, they can transfer media files from their personal
computer to their portable device without worrying. The new bill would make it
illegal to provide market or import tools “designed to enable circumvention.”
The new legislation calls on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to discourage
copyright infringement, however these companies will not be held liable for the
actions of their users.
In some countries – such as the U.S. and Australia – ISPs have been directed
to track subscribers who swap files illegally and to block access to certain
sites and programs which facilitate file sharing.
Under the new Canadian legislation, ISPs would be obligated to inform
subscribers when a complaint has been launched against the consumer by the owner
of a copyright, however they would also be obliged to keep track of that user's
contact information for six months in case that data became necessary for legal
This isn't the first time the Conservative government has tried to update
Canada's copyright legislation, which was last overhauled in 1997. In December,
2006, proposed legislation was derailed and eventually scrapped when a
grassroots Internet campaign protested the new rules.
The federal government announced its intention to update the Copyright Act in
its 2007 Speech from the Throne, and promised a number of organizations in the
recording and media industries that the legislation would be tabled before the
House of Commons breaks for the summer.
However, with Parliament set to break soon, sources say the legislation is
expected to be left to die by the minority Conservative government, which is
likely to face harsh criticism from opposition parties, making the bill
difficult to pass.
Critics contend the Conservatives were pressured into drafting legislation
that too closely resembled the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which has
been criticized for being stacked unfairly against consumers in favour of rights
holders such as the movie and recording industries.
The Conservatives are also negotiating with a number of other governments,
including the U.S. and the European Union, to establish a new international
copyright agreement, dubbed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
According to a four page document first revealed on wikileaks.org, the new
agreement would allow border guards and other law enforcement officials to
inspect devices, such as laptops and iPods, for music, videos and other media
that may violate copyright laws. Any devices found to contain
copyright-infringing material could be confiscated, or even destroyed, leading
to fines for their owners.
With a report from The Canadian Press
Our commentaryOttawa Mens Centre.com, from Ottawa, Canada) wrote:
NASTY INSIDIOUS DRACONIAN LEGISLATION thats pandering to American
interests that possible and probably sinister applications.
If you are public critic of the government, expect Canadian Border Guards to be
waiting for you at the boarder with instructions to go on a "fishing expedition"
and look at your lap top, of course, a border guard does not have all the
expertize so he may send it off to "an expert" and before it is returned, a
number of unknown people employed by the government have had an opportunity to
"go over it".
The intrusion can be extreme. For many their laptop is all their work and
personal life, it is extremely private information and citizens have a right to
Don't expect "probable cause", while many boarder guards act appropriately, a
small percentage can be over zealous and flagrantly abuse their powers and go on
crazy searches simply because they disagree with the subject's political opinion
that may conflict with the government's.
What's next, regulations that require us all to hook our laptops up at the
boarder for an automatic scan of our laptops to check for any number of things,
you know, phone numbers of political critics, key words that must be reported to
a homeland security database south of the boarder?
This is what is called "One Two" legislation, first , it enables legislation
that gives the rich to litigate against the poor and win based on the
probability that the vast majority cannot afford to litigate against such legal
powerhouses with unlimited funds to litigate and win, not because of the merit
but on who has the unlimited funds to litigate.
Thats not fairness, its creation of a serfdom. Its not rule of law, its the rule
of he who has the money can send to jail anyone they don't like.
It begs the question, what truly caring politician would support such
legislation. It's another nail in the political coffin of conservative
Republican puppet government.
Ottawa Mens Centre.com, from Ottawa, Canada wrote: The
Government has more important issues to deal with than this very flaky bit of
legislation that does nothing but pander to American interests.
- Posted 12/06/08 at 2:46 PM EDT
Take the issue of a legal presumption of equal parenting after divorce? Just
when is Mr. Harper going to pass that?
Take the issue of the Judiciary's war against men in family court? Currently its
almost unheard of for a man to have success in family court, if he does, he will
probably be hit with cost penalties.
Judges simply hate any father who wants his children to have a relationship with
Judges turn blind eyes to blatant and fragrant fabrication of evidence by
feminist lawyers which effectively gives those lawyers a license to kill and
destroy any man who is brave enough to say "please, i just my kids to have a
relationship with me".
We have a judges whose courtrooms have such bias and pathological hatred of men
that you can feel the hatred just oozing out the courtroom walls.
Our family court rooms are not places of equity, they are places of enforcement
of a Canadian national policy of MALE GENDER APARTHEID.
When is it going to end?
Hello, Mr. Harper?..... WHEN are you going to End Male Gender Apartheid in
Mr. Harper??.... When are you going to end judges mandatory feminist brain
washing sessions ?
Mr. Harper? When are you going to HIRE SUFFICIENT JUDGES?
Just how do you expect them to administer justice when YOU KNOW they cannot
possible handle the number of present cases?
Mr. Harper, you are asking Judges to "get rid of litigants" especially those who
are self represented.
Mr. Harper, your failure to act has created not a Rule of Law but a license for
feminists to throw in jail any man they don't like.
When is it going to change?
- Posted 12/06/08 at 2:58 PM EDT