New federal legislation (Bill C-60, available here in PDF format) has been quietly unveiled in Ottawa. The early word is that it’s the nicest present that Canadian consumers have given to record labels, movie studios and other publishers in a long time.
Because while major copyright holders make out like bandits (arguably a lot like bandits), the folks who fork over the money for CDs and movies (a.k.a “half an hour of commercials, followed by 90 minutes of movie that will have you pining nostalgically for the commercials”) get the short end. So reports the invaluable Michael Geist.
[T]he recording industry is the big winner with an enormous basket of new rights and individual Canadians are the big losers as the bill does little to address their interests.
There is simply no denying that the lobbying efforts of the copyright owners, particularly the music industry, have paid off as they are the big winners in this bill. The bill focuses almost exclusively on creating new rights for this select group including a new making available right, legal protection for technological protection measures, legal protection for rights management information, the ability to control the first distribution of material in tangible form, new moral rights for performances, a reproduction right for performers, and an adjustment in the term of protection for sound recordings. The bill also includes a statutory notice and notice system that will virtually compel Internet service providers to notify subscribers of alleged copyright infringements and to retain relevant personal information for 6 months.
That’s a pretty big handover of rights from consumers to corporations. But it’s not like the federal Liberals are completely in thrall to big business, right? The bill must do something for consumers… right?
Anyone who has followed copyright reform history will not be surprised to learn that individual Canadians are the big losers today. Although the bill could have been worse (the U.S. version of the law is even more user-unfriendly) and there are some provisions that permit the use of digital works in an electronic and teaching environment (filled with all sorts of limitations) that is cold comfort to millions of Canadians who find themselves with a bill that does virtually nothing to address their concerns.
Wow. So many possible dimensions to carp on: corporations versus consumers, rigid copyright control versus the freedom to remix, and of course alignment with the harsh provisions of U.S. IP law (especially the DMCA) versus a kinder, gentler homegrown approach.
Heh. Fair enough. Anyone know of a good three-line boilerplate?
This work for you, DN? (see below)
I think this will backfire on the corporations in the end. The ever inceasing profit-minded control will cheese off so many consumers they will move to other forms of less stringent entertainment. Just watch…
I hope they plan on removing the hidden tariffs on blank media then.
No chance on the hidden tariffs on blank media being removed. Bill C-60 makes it illegal for consumers to circumvent DRM technology where it would violate the copyright or moral rights of a rights owner OR where such circumvention is done for the purpose of making copies under s. 80(1) of the Copyright Act. S.80(1) is the right to make copies of music recordings for personal use (ie, converting CD’s to MP3’s so you can go jogging without having to pay for the same song twice). The anti-circumvention rule, while it does explicitly take away the right to make personal copies under s. 80(1), renders that right virtually useless. Since the right remains on the books as a technicality though, the law says that people still “can” make copies of recordings for personal use. Because of this, the levy on blank media will likely remain.
They can pass as many laws as they like, it won’t stop file sharing. They can’t enforce this law, it’s impossible. There is software that will block the RCMP (or any organization) from even detecting that a person is sharing any files, let alone prosecuting anyone.
Passing a law like this will only encourage people to find ways around it. The genie is out of the bottle, you can’t stop it now.
This will merely drive people to other forms of file sharing. Gnutella is going to be dismantled eventually, no question about that. And there will be no consumer backlash, people will just bend over and take it as hard as CRIA wants to give it. But the internet guerillas will make up new ways to share files. Torrent technology is in its infancy and already has quite a following. It’s not as easy to trace as P2P tools like LimeWire.
Karl raises an interesting point, and it reminds me of Prof. Lawrence Lessig’s contention that technological changes can dramatically magnify IP rights when it comes to digital media — and strip any real meaning from the rights of consumers (we need a better word there, by the way).
Mike and Othello, I wish I was as confident as you are in a technological fix. But the digital media industries have billions of dollars on the line; they’re highly motivated to devote resources the rest of us can only dream of to the task of defeating file-sharing.
And Tessma, I hope you’re right. It may not be an all or nothing question; it might just be a matter of more people deciding to read blogs or catch a local band down at the local bar instead of getting hooked on a sub-par season of network television.
They will never stop piracy, just drive it underground. The only way they will stop it, is to ban the home user from buying a burner and blank cd’s/dvd’s. Recently DVD decryptor was closed due “a certain company” has decided they dont like what their doing (circumventing their protection) and have come at them like a pack of wolves. No sooner did they close and there was 3 new freeware programs to take it’s place.
As far as file sharing, back in the days before the net they were doing it, and it will continue. I have seen everything from IRC, to the peer to peer networks, and now the big thing is torrents. Heck there is even a way to send stuff via unix code and convert it back to normal afterwards.
Oh and about the levy, if anyone thinks our Government is going to remove a tax, then look at the GST, which they promised in a certain election to get rid of!