copyright

Bill C-11 Under Review Today

Bill C-11, a.k.a the Copyright Modernization Act, is now being reviewed in committee.

This committee will review the proposed amendments, clause by clause, and will make adjustments in response to requests by interested parties.

Unfortunately numerous groups have requested major amendments that could complicate matters for consumers and Canadian internet users.

Members of the music industry are not only asking for a levy on mp3 players and serious restrictions to the fair dealing/user generated content clauses. But they are also asking for SOPA and PIPA like measures that include the blocking of foreign web sites and the removal of online content without court oversight.

Other industry groups have also called for the identification of internet users, again without legal oversight, and the introduction of RIAA style prosecutions to Canada with amendments that are so vague as to possibly result in the prosecution of social networking sites like Facebook and search engines like Google.

The Supreme Court of Canada has had previous rulings on fair dealing, the prosecution of internet providers in regards to copyright and the proposed levies on mp3 players. But it appears some members of the music industry don’t care about these rulings.

They also don’t care about the many concerns voiced by the public and associations representing students and librarians, as made apparent by their rhetoric.

They’ve even gone as far as to attempt to pressure the Canadian Bar Association to retract their official opposition to the questionable provisions in the Copyright Modernization Act.

In essence they’re willing to allow the public to be subjected to vague and possibly unconstitutional regulations, that will be questioned in law for years, when exemptions for fair dealing and private copying would in no way hinder their industry.

Under the premise of the protection of their industry, they will subject consumers to more copy protection schemes like that of the Sony Rootkit, that have failed and endangered their interests in the past.

There are currently two petitions that may be of interest to those who oppose these amendments :

Please sign these petitions as soon as possible and contact your local MP in regards to your concerns.

Thank You.

The MPAA & RIAA On Private Copying

The Motion Picture Association of America and Recording Industry Association of America have issued a join statement against the circumvention of copy protection for private copying.

On page 47 of their February 10th, 2012 statement the associations claim that there is no need for an exemption (in the States) because copies are available for purchase for numerous devices and “the inability to access a work on the device of one’s choosing is a mere inconvenience that does not justify an exemption“.

At the moment Canadians are not eligible to obtain “low cost” copies from most of the DVD/Blu-Ray programs mentioned in the American report.

We do have access to some digital copy titles. But these are generally included in the more expensive film packages (i.e “combo packs“) and many of these digital copy titles are time limited.

I believe digital copies with expiry dates are unfair to the consumer, who purchases the right to copy the material to a computer or portable device.

The ability to perform a digital copy is prominent on the packaging of these “combo packs” so it only logical to conclude that the consumer sees this ability as a feature and has chosen to purchase these “combo packs” for the ability, at extra cost.

That said, a nominal cost to perform a private copy would probably be the best option for the consumer.

Software is the best option for individuals who wish to make multiple private copies. But the entertainment industry should probably consider advertisement funded private copies to reduce the cost of a private copy after an initial purchase of a DVD or Blu-Ray disc by the consumer.

Whilst downloading a private copy a consumer could be shown numerous commercials for products or upcoming film and television features, like those found at the beginning of most DVDs and Blu-Ray discs.

Another option would be to offer Canadian consumers free downloads from existing services, thus promoting the sale of paid products on those services. There are numerous services available to Canadians including Bearshare and iMesh, who offer music videos, and iTunes and Netflix, who offer music and film downloads.

Some digital copies are available from these services and I suspect cloud services will become the consumer’s choice when it comes to private copying in the future, as it enables consumers to download or stream content on numerous devices.

About Face On SOPA for GoDaddy

GoDaddy has reversed their position in regards to the Stop Online Piracy Act according to an official statement issued today :

“Fighting online piracy is of the utmost importance, which is why Go Daddy has been working to help craft revisions to this legislation – but we can clearly do better,” Warren Adelman, Go Daddy’s newly appointed CEO, said. “It’s very important that all Internet stakeholders work together on this. Getting it right is worth the wait. Go Daddy will support it when and if the Internet community supports it.”

The Stop Online Piracy Act was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011 and would enable the U.S. Department of Justice and copyright owners in the states to impose American law on foreign sites by compelling American search engines to remove links to these foreign sites, by disallowing American advertising on those sites and by severing payments processed by American facilitators like Paypal.

Google, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo and numerous other groups have voiced concerns about the ramifications of this legislation, including some Canadian groups who believe the United States could attempt to isolate countries whose copyright laws are not compatible with theirs.

It Makes You Think, Again !

It appears that the pending lists affair is not over.

In January 2011, the major labels in Canada had settled a class action lawsuit against them for the unauthorized use and distribution of recordings, as well as unpaid mechanical and video royalties.

EMI Music Canada Inc., Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc., Universal Music Canada Inc. and Warner Music Canada Co. had later in May 2011 agreed to pay approximately $50.2 Million dollars to songwriters and music publishers that had not been compensated the use of their works in certain compilations and live recordings.

Well, Universal Music Group and Universal Music Canada is now suing the National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pennsylvania, their insurer, for their share of the settlement and other related expenses in the Supreme Court of the State of California in Los Angeles.

According to their November 8th, 2011 complaint found on HollywoodReporter.com, Universal Music Group had paid $14.4 million in damages and approximately $1.06 million in attorney fees and costs.

Copyright Legislation Re-Introduced

The Conservative Government has tabled Bill C-11, the “Copyright Modernization Act“. And as predicted this legislation mirrors the previously introduced Bill C-32.

Consequently the issues with Bill C-32 remain, including the digital lock provisions that have the potential to disable the consumer’s ability to copy material for private use.

Overall the bill is a step in the right direction. But these digital lock provisions should be amended to allow the circumvention of copy protection for private copying, as defined by our copyright act.

Copy protection failed in the music industry. They’ve experimented with consumers, failed miserably, and it’s time to move on.

Shortened hearings are expected but the NDP have said they want to table amendments enabling private copying of copy protected works.

Please contact your local Member Of Parliament to voice your comments and concerns in regards to Bill C-11.

Thank you.

The Hurt Locker Lawsuits Come North

It appears that Bell Canada, Cogeco Cable and Videotron GP were ordered to provide Voltage Pictures LLC subscriber information by a Federal Court in Montreal yesterday.

The producer of the film “The Hurt Locker” had used a previous rulling in regards to music piracy to obtain this information and it appears that the internet providers will comply, including Bell who were asked to divulge information on less than 10 subscribers according to Mediacaster Magazine.

It’s time to secure those open wi-fi connections guys.