Canadian Businesses Unhappy With Digital Locks Provision in Copyright Bill

We’ve been pointing out all along that the digital locks provision would become a major flashpoint for heated debate and, today, there was even more criticism surrounding the digital locks provision that legally stops consumers from exercising their fair dealing from Canadian businesses.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

What would be the perfect storm for, say, foreign record labels (i.e. the RIAA)? An entire country that completely rejects their stance on copyright law reform. Reportedly, so far, there’s a notice-and-notice regime and confirmation that there is a huge difference between commercial and non-commercial infringement. The one thing that the foreign corporations seems to have gotten was anti-circumvention legislation and it’s now the one provision that is under fire the most by Canadians.

The Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright (BCBC) has commented on the latest copyright reform bill saying that, overall, they were happy with the copyright reform bill (Bill C-32) except the digital locks provision that restricts Canadians fair dealing (if a lock is present, then fair dealing is cancelled out and rendered a general infringement)

The BCBC comments say, “The legislation recognizes that consumers now regularly move content between platforms for legitimate use – such as moving a song from a computer to MP3 player – and allows for such ‘format-shifting.’ It would also allow consumers to legally record or ‘time-shift’ television programs with a personal video recorder (PVR) for viewing at a more convenient time, and opens the door to the use of new technologies such as network PVRs. At the same time, the bill makes clear that unauthorized sharing of movies, music and software over the Internet constitutes copyright infringement and remains illegal. The bill recognizes the appropriate role of search engines and Internet service providers (ISPs) by clarifying that they are not responsible for copyright infringement committed by their customers and by limiting the extent of their obligations to assist rights-holders in the enforcement of online rights. It also wisely does not extend the “private copying levy” to consumer electronics such as MP3 players and smartphones.”

“However,” the comments continue, “BCBC members agree that some parts of the legislation unfairly restrict consumer freedom and need to be revised before being passed by Parliament such as the inability to circumvent digital locks for private use. BCBC members look forward to participating in a Parliamentary review process to address such issues.”

The resentment to Bill C-32’s digital locks provision has already been echoed by Canadian Documentary film makers.

Yesterday afternoon, Bill C-32 was tabled and made its way online yesterday evening.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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