copy protection

Liberals Respond To iPod Tax / Bill C-32

It appears that the Liberal Party do not support the so called iPod Tax after all, according to a press release found on their web site.

Like the conservatives they do not see any future for such levies. The Liberals would rather “introduce a new Private Copying Compensation Payment of $35 million to be transferred to Canadian artists each year, through the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC)” according to the press release.

The funds for this compensation, for “uncompensated downloads”, would not come from ISPs or from a levy, the party having recognized that the consumer wants neither.

They also recognized the bill’s digital locks provision restricted the consumer’s ability to make personal copies of material they’ve purchased and would alter this provision to allow copies for personal use.

The other general alterations they propose are the clarification of the definitions of “fair use”, specifically the education use and “mash-up” provisions. They want educational institutions to qualify for the exemption.

Bill C-32 has been referred to a Legislative Committee headed by Gordon Brown, MP for Leeds—Grenville (Ontario).

Please contact your local Member Of Parliament to voice your comments and concerns in regards to the proposed amendments to the Copyright Act.

Thank you.

New Proposed Copyright Act Amendments

The Canadian government has just introduced a bill to update the Copyright Act in response to new technology and international criticism.

Bill C-32 will further legalize private copying by enabling consumers to record and copy copyrighted music, film and television programs legally for private use.

It will also enable the consumer to convert this material into other formats, so this material can be played back on various devices. And provisions in regards to “Fair Use” have been updated, enabling copying for the purpose of “research, private study, education, parody or satire”.

Unfortunately this bill also proposes limitations on these acts, by making the circumventing of copy protection illegal, which would result in a penalty up to $5000 for non-commercial violations.

Most record companies have yielded to consumers in regards to copy protection. But the DVD manufacturers still use these schemes, including a DVD region code that renders DVDs legally purchased from one region unplayable in another DVD region.

Blu-ray discs have similar region codes and many of the film distributors have decided to release films without this coding. But what if the record companies and film distributors decided to re-introduce these “technological protection measures” ?

What if they decided to release the material in a proprietary format, rendering the material unplayable on devices not licensed to play this material ?

We should have the ability to view and make private copies of material that we’ve legally purchased but the provisions would subject us to the whims of the labels, film companies and their distributors, some of which own the rights to distribute material in certain countries and regions without the legal obligation to do so.

Canada is generally lumped with the United States when it comes to foreign films, concerts and music video compilation releases so we are subject to trends that are detrimental to material that is not or was not popular in the United States because of language or other factors.

For example, I like a french pop duo called Les Rita Mitsouko but unfortunately they did not have enough of a following in North America to justify the release of a Region 1 version of their limited edition “Bestov” CD/DVD compilation in 2001.

If I had not imported it from France back then I wouldn’t have it now because it’s no longer being distributed. And this issue isn’t limited to francophone releases.

Norwegian pop rock band a-ha had released a video compilation entitled “Headlines & Deadlines” in 1991 in the United Kingdom. This compilation was re-released again in 1996 and in 1999, whilst North American fans waited for a Region 1 release. Why ? Because in the States they’re considered a “one hit wonder”.

Then there are the complications brought on by the mislabeling of regions by the retailer or distributor, like the “Toutes Zones” Johnny Hallyday DVD I purchased directly from his label, Universal Music France.

An All Region or Region 0 DVD would not require the circumventing of region coding, complying to the provision proposed by Bill C-32. But “Master Serie” was mislabeled as an All Regions DVD on the label’s site, the DVD’s package and on the DVD.

I believe the circumvention provisions should reflect the fact that DVDs that are coded other than Region 0 and 1 can be legally imported by Canadians, resulting in the collection of rights in the country from which the products were purchased.

The copyright holders of the content found on these DVDs were compensated for transactions that would not have taken place if protectionist measures were in place restricting the distribution of Region 2 DVDs to Canadians. And no restrictions in regards to the distribution of the aforementioned Region 2 DVDs were imposed on or implemented by the re-known online retailers I purchased them from (Universal Music France, Alapage, Amazon U.K).

I will be contacting my local Member of Parliament on this issue and will be posting updates in this blog.

You can find your local MP’s contact information by postal code.

Bill C-32 was introduced by Tony Clement, Minister of Industry.