Balanced copyright legislation

On June 2, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, James Moore and the Minister of Industry, Tony Clement presented legislation that will modernize the Copyright Act. This follows an eight-week online and in-person public consultation process held in the summer of 2009.

If you get the chance to review the legislation, I think you will find it balanced and fair. It addresses the challenges faced by copyright owners and creators and legitimizes many everyday activities of Canadian consumers in the digital age.

The Government recognizes that everyday consumer behaviours such as taking advantage of TV time shifting or posting videos on social media are regular parts of the lives of many Canadians and should be legitimized under the law.

In response to demands for stronger consumer provisions, this Bill extends fair dealing to new purposes, introduces new exceptions for education, and allows innovative businesses to continue developing the technology of tomorrow.

This Bill contains strong measures that will help creators and other copyright owners ensure that they are fairly compensated for the use of their work.

The legislation is technology-neutral, making it flexible and adaptable to change while ensuring appropriate protections for both creators and users.

For instance, Bill C-32 recognizes the incredible potential that technology offers education. New exceptions and extension of fair dealing to education will open the door for digital learning, enabling students in rural and remote communities to access the same lessons as those in metropolitan cities.

Many would have preferred that the Bill just throw the door wide open but it will still allow the use of Technological Protection Measures (TPM/DRM/digital locks) where industry chooses to use them. This is mainly because TPMs remain an important tool for creators and copyright owners to protect their work.

While certain businesses have chosen not to use TPMs, there are some business models that rely on digital locks to protect their investments. These industries need to have the protection of the law. 

Software producers, video game  and movie distributors, for example, continue to use TPMs as part of their business model because they wish to protect the significant investment each makes in developing the products. Canadian jobs depend on their ability to make a return on this investment.

It is important to note however that legal protections under Bill C-32 are not unlimited as they are in the United States.

In Canada we will have liability limits.

No company will be able to sue a soccer mum for millions of dollars.

Software companies will be allowed to circumvent TPMs for the purpose of undertaking encryption research and likewise, consumers, within the bounds of their contract, will be able to circumvent TPMs to switch their wireless service provider.

The bill also provides a regulation-making power to allow the circumvention of TPMs in certain cases, for example, where the presence of a TPM would unduly restrict competition in an after-market sector.

Ultimately, the success of TPMs will depend on market forces. Creators may decide whether or not to use a TPM, and consumers can then decide whether or not to buy the product.

I have heard from a few constituents on the issue already. Both Minister Moore and Minister Clement have indicated that they are open to Bill C-32 being amended in the Committee process so on your behalf, I will present your suggestions to Minister Moore and Minister Clement. Your wisdom and common sense will be helpful in making the Bill the best it can be.

If any of you have any questions or comments on this proposed legislation, or any other federally-related matter, I encourage you to contact me by email at [email protected] or by phone at 470-5075 and I’ll be pleased to get you more information or pass your comments along to the appropriate Minister.

Ron Cannan is the MP for Kelowna-Lake Country.

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About the Author

The Honourable Ron Cannan was first elected as Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country in January, 2006. He was subsequently elected in the 2008 and 2011 federal elections. He is a member of the Conservative Caucus.

On September 13th, 2012 Ron was summoned to be a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and will provide advice to the Government as a member of the Priorities and Planning Sub-Committee on Government Administration.

Ron successfully uses his experience and knowledge as a long-time Kelowna City Councillor and regional government representative to be an effective and enthusiastic champion for his riding and his constituents.

His greatest satisfaction comes from helping local organizations and citizens obtain the support they require from Ottawa. 

He is also dedicated to doing what it takes to ensure that the growing and vibrant communities in his riding continue to thrive and prosper.

He is proud of the partnership and cooperation between federal, provincial and municipal governments which have resulted in significant infrastructure projects including upgrades to Highway 97, expansion of the Kelowna International Airport, a new horticulture strategy for fruit growers, obtaining a full service passport office for Kelowna and addressing critical economic issues such as labour skills shortages.

He works closely with the local Chambers of Commerce and once a year arranges meetings for the Chamber with Cabinet Ministers and senior policy staff in Ottawa to move forward important local issues such as crime prevention and labour skills shortages.

He is also an ardent champion for important community initiatives including homelessness, mental health, women’s resources, and support of arts and culture.

On Parliament Hill, Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade since 2006 supporting initiatives which will broaden the economic opportunities for local businesses and businesses Canada-wide.

In previous parliamentary sessions Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee for Government Operations and Estimates, Veteran’s Affairs, Human Resources and Social Development, the Scrutiny of Regulations Committee, and the Standing Committee for Fisheries and Oceans.

Ron is also involved in a variety of inter-parliamentary organizations: he is Vice Chair of the Canada-US Inter-Parliamentary Group, and a member of the Canada-Taiwan Friendship group.

As Chair of the Conservative Wine Caucus, Ron works with his colleagues across the country to promote the wine regions of Canada.  Ron tabled Motion 218(formerly Motion 601) which supports direct to consumer purchasing of Canadian wine. His motion became Bill C-311, sponsored by MP Dan Albas, seconded by Ron, which was passed into law on June 28th, 2012.

Prior to entering politics, Ron developed a diverse business background as a small business owner and had several years experience in marketing and sales management working with corporations including Coca-Cola, Costco and Corus Entertainment.

Very active in his community, Ron has been a Director for both the Central Okanagan Regional District and the Central Okanagan Hospital Board. Ron also served on the Okanagan University College Access to Training Advisory Board, the Glenmore Elementary School Parents Advisory Council, and the Kelowna Christian School Fund Raising Committee. He was co-founder of the Okanagan Volunteer Festival. Currently Ron is a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Kelowna and, along with his wife Cindy, was the honorary Chair of the 2012 Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil Ball.

Ron lives a family-oriented and active lifestyle with his wife Cindy. He is the proud father of three daughters and grandfather to three grandsons. His hobbies include music and sports.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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