Canadian Copyright Reform Bill Rumoured to Make Debut

Canadian copyright reform was rarely a matter of if, but much rather a matter of when.

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

The matter of when may be coming rather soon as new rumours have surfaced that the bill is on the way thanks to the governing party.

The potential existence of the Canadian copyright reform was in question during the excitement over the budget bill (if the budget failed, an election would be called), which ultimately passed. When the budget bill passed, it opened the door for other bills, such as the surveillance bill, which was introduced late last month.

Last time, when the copyright reform made its debut, not only was there fierce opposition from old opponents to laws which resemble the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), but new opposition was born out of the potential new legislation as well. The bill was known as Bill C-60 and several petitions were created to do things like recognize Canadian consumers as stakeholders in this reform process and, in some respects, oppose the bill. As many know, the bill died on the order paper when an election was called.

Just because the bill died on the order paper does not mean that opposition died as well. Petitions persisted and new identities emerged to oppose such legislation, such as the Canadian Music Creators Coalition. As opposition to the reform bill grew, so did the proponents to the copyright reform bill. Growing debate spiralled up. Even a documentary about the debate was created. Though the debate grew for some time, more recently the debate died down somewhat after the open letters from various organizations and interested parties were sent off to the government.

Now, if the rumours are true, the chance of debate growing in intensity is very good, as opposition has had adequate time to get well organised. The rumours suggest that the Copyright reform bill will make its debut this Spring. Michael Geist suggests that it is also rumoured that the bill contains even stiffer laws for anti-circumvention technology.

How stiff can anti-circumvention laws get? In France, it was proposed that merely possessing anti-circumvention technology be punishable by a €750 fine (about $1,155 Canadian).

While nothing much else is said about the copyright reform bill at this time, that may be changing soon.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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