Canadian Liberal Party Wants to ‘Combat’ Piracy In Canada, Ratify WIPO

There’s a recent development that solidifies some people’s point of view that the top two parties in Canada have not, in practise, defended users rights and instead simply let the copyright industry dictate what copyright reforms need to happen. In a response to sub-committee recommendations, the Liberal Party wants to “combat the scourge and considerable economic and competitive damage to Canada’s manufacturing and services sectors and to Canada’s international reputation by the proliferation of counterfeiting and piracy of intellectual property.

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

Vote for the Liberal party and you get Bill C-60. Vote for the Conservative party and you get Bill C-61. We’ve done a number of comparisons last year, but the big message both bills sent across was that the users interests are ultimately neglected in favour of the copyright industry.

After some saw Bill C-61, they felt that the only choice was to simply vote Liberal – perhaps because they have not been around when Bill C-60 was introduced four years ago. So one might be wondering if their attitude on the matter has changed since then. Recently, Canadians have gotten their answer. In a response to sub-committee recommendations, the Liberal party had this to say:

In relation to a recommendation on copy rights and antipiracy of intellectual property, the Liberal Party of Canada supports the recommendation as follows: “That the Government of Canada immediately introduce legislation to amend the Copyright Act, ratify the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), amend related acts and ensure appropriate enforcement resources are allocated to combat the scourge and considerable economic and competitive damage to Canada’s manufacturing and services sectors and to Canada’s international reputation by the proliferation of counterfeiting and piracy of intellectual property.”

Reading that, one might be wondering who is speaking here, CRIA? The CMPDA? The RIAA? The MPAA? Or is this really the Liberal Party of Canada. After Bill C-61, some might be thinking that when it comes to the top two parties, you are either voting for the Canadian DMCA or you are voting for the Canadian DMCA. The only differences are clerical as time goes on.

Still, that doesn’t mean everyone in those parties are suggesting that the only way to go about copyright is to let the copyright industry write the legislation for them. In a high profile conference dubbed Canada’s Digital Economy: Moving Forward, two ministers had many interesting things to say.

“The old way of doing things is over. These things are all now one. And it’s great. And it’s never been better. And we need to be enthusiastic and embrace these things.” James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage said. He continued, “I point out the average age of a member of parliament because don’t assume that those who are making the decisions and who are driving the debate understand all the dynamics that are at play here. Don’t assume that everybody understands the opportunities that are at play here and how great this can be for Canada. Tony is doing his job and I’m going to do my job and be a cheerleader and push this and to fight for the right balance as we go forward. The opportunities are unbelievable and unparalleled in human history.”

“Last year’s experience with Bill C-61 left thousands of Canadians deeply disappointed with government on copyright policy.” Michael Geist commented in response to those comments, “Yesterday’s remarks signal an important shift with both Clement and Moore clearly committed to more open consultation and to the development of a balanced copyright bill that better reflects the real-world realities of new technologies, innovation, new creators, and the reasonable expectations of Canadian consumers.”

Still, will the Conservative party actually follow through on what they are saying? That is uncertain. Given that they tabled Bill C-61 in the first place, it’s up to Canadians to decide on whether or not they can be forgiven for such a drastic move to simply bend to the wishes of the copyright industry. For many, it may be wise to wait and see what they’ll come up with for their next copyright reform bill rather than just relying on their words.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.



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