Canadian Copyright Reform Back With Vengeance

On September 29th, 2011 the recently re-elected Conservative Government reintroduced the Copyright Modernization Act, Bill C-11 (previously Bill C-32). Given that the Conservatives now hold the majority of seats in the House, the quick and easy passage of this ‘Made In America’ legislation is no more a matter of ‘will it pass’ but a matter of ‘just how quickly will it pass.’

Heritage Minister James Moore has indicated that once Bill C-11 reaches the committee stage, witnesses who appeared before the old C-32 committee will not be heard from again. This despite that fact that there is a new Industry Minister on this portfolio. This move coupled by Moore’s confirmation that the committee will be meeting for extended hours each week and the fact that appeasing the United States has emerged as a bigger Conservative priority than making good on their promise to scrap the wasteful long gun registry.

Although Bill C-11 appears to be more flexible than the previous attempts at copyright reform, this bill is flawed to its core by the inclusion of strict, anti-circumvention provisions. Understandably, Canadians are concerned at how easily their rights are trumped by the overriding protection for digital locks included in this legislation and it is to this effect that the CCER has updated its online letter writing tool. It is essential that Canadians speak out about their concerns with Bill C-11 while it is still open to amendments.