Technological Protection Measures

Bill C-11 Debate Scheduled For Today

Bill C-11 is scheduled to be debated in the House Of Commons today, apparently under time restraints according to the Projected Order Of Business.

Hopefully the questions on the technological protection measures will be blunt and to the point :

  • In what manner are artists and copyright owners harmed by private copying from copy protected works ? And why does this harm not exist in private copying from works that are not copy protected ?
  • In what manner are film makers harmed by the private viewing of legally purchased films that failed to be distributed in Canada ? And does the sale of this material to Canadians by legitimate retailers and distributors not imply consent to their private use by Canadians ?

The Private Copying section of our Copyright Act distinguished private use from piracy and in my opinion the technical protection measures provisions in Bill C-11 are a step back.

Associations Against Digital Locks

Here is a short list of Canadian groups that are against the technological protection measure provisions in Bill C-11 :

All of the parties in opposition in Parliament had voiced concerns about these provisions on November 2nd, 2010.

Bill C-11’s Digital Locks Provisions – Why ?

The digital lock provisions included in Bill C-11 are meant to curb the circumvention of “technological protection measures“, to halt piracy. But unfortunately many consumers currently circumvent digital locks to perform private copies of music recordings or to view films that are unavailable in their region.

At the moment Canadians are able to purchase music on iTunes and use this
program to convert their legally purchased ACC files to the mp3 format.

These consumers can also purchase region free DVD or blu-ray players from Amazon.com to play legally purchased discs that are not available in the formats compatible with North American players.

Neither of the above acts result in the unauthorized, uncompensated distribution of copyrighted works to third parties yet these acts could technically be forbidden by Section 41 of the Copyright Act if Bill C-11 passes.

Private Copying, as defined in Part VIII of our Copyright Act, is not exempt in Bill C-11. And Section 41 explicitly forbids the manufacturing, importation, sale or rental of technologies, devices or componants whose primary function is the circumvention of copy protection.

It appearently doesn’t matter that the copyright owners were compensated when the recordings were legally purchased from legitimate vendors and that if it weren’t for copy protection that these acts would be considered private copying in law.

The authors of Bill C-11 insist on labeling these acts “piracy”, even when consent is implied by the sale of these recordings to law abiding Canadian consumers.

The American entertainment industry has yet to specify what losses are incured in the private copying of copy protected works. They also failed to specify how they are loosing funds on legally purchased foreign recordings they refuse to sell in Canada.

Why are we allowing this undue, unjustified foreign influence on our Parlamentary processes ?