Bill C61 notes

So I have a great personal distrust and disgust in the way copyright law has continually degraded and been abused by large corporations over the past 30 or 40 years . (Thanks Mickey!) I cringe at the idea of the RIAA sueing people to protect their broken business model and laugh my ass off when bands like Metallica (2) and Kiss make total asses of themselves while those artists that are still relevant embrace new ways of engaging their fans. Anyway, that's the context for this post. I am legitimately interested in seeing how Canada will follow other countries in protecting artists, content producers and consumers.

As much as I abhor the record industry I do think the law should reflect the reality of the new digital landscape. Content creators need to be protected, and consumers should get their money's worth when buying or consuming copyrighted material.

Anyway I watched these videos about the new Bill C61, and as painful as it is to listen to Jim Prentice repeat the same meaningless quip over and over in response to these questions, I did find it interesting. I've been really concerned about Canada following in the steps of the DMCA, and I imagine that under the covers this is largely similar, particularly where "digital locks" are concerned but I've so far not heard anything really terrible.  (videos)

Some highlights from the videos
  • Need for international cooperation, if it lets me watch more movies online for cheaper then going to the video store then yeah let's go. How long has that been possible in the US?
  • "and of course new technologies such as mp3 players and memory sticks" I just included that because it struck me as funny.
  • Time shifting and format shifting is preserved
  • BUT "digital locks" which are chosen by businesses (ie stopping format shifting) will be legally enforceable and will allow those time shifting and format shifting rights to be circumvented
  • Having personally already rented videos on iTunes I can see some benefit to these locks and some of the new models they enable (death to blockbuster)
  • Also though owning a bunch of iTunes tracks I can't use on other devices makes me hate the locks. But ultimately this is my decision on what to buy so I can't complain too much. It's important to let the market decide on some of these issues I think. Although how much of a market is it really when there are only a handful of really big labels and studios producing all the content?
  • no liabilities for ISP's is great I think
  • New limits on the liability for "personal use" of copyrighted material to $500 PER INFRINGED WORK  (they kept playing up $500 limit as a good thing for consumers but it sounds like downloading 4 movies is still a $2000 hit)We all know how quickly this would completely sink most households.  In Prentice's example this goes from five videos at $20,000 each  = $100,000 to $500 total... he didn't seem to really have that part down and I'm still not sure if it's $500 per work or per incident or whatever?
  • Not that that matters as this is totally unenforceable, the law will enable companies to more confidently invest in delivery mechanisms that rely on locks and have a clearer understanding of rights, but none of it will help anyone actually enforce it. (Unless the companies do it themselves ala the RIAA sueings)
  • This whole bill was rammed through right at the end of summer with little consultation, seems ugly
  • When timshifting you can't store those as a library of recordings, again very vague and would seemingly limit PVR software quite a bit.
  • You can't import devices into Canada that enable bypassing locks (vague, could encompass a lot of devices )
  • Teenagers seem to be the "they" in all these videos. Makes the questioners and the lawmakers seem out of touch. I understand teenagers are big offenders but they are by far not the only ones.
  • What are the whitewood treaties Mr Prentice brings up? I'm assuming I didn't hear him because I didn't see anything on my initial Googling of it.

The business network video is the best video of the bunch, if you want a summary just scroll down and watch that one.

One of the things I was most surprised to hear was from Mr. Sookman saying that time shifting and format shifting is currently NOT legal? Really? I had always been under the impression that this was actually legal in Canada.

Check out this website for more information on Bill C61