Yesterday, the government of Canada tabled Bill C-32, also called the Copyright Modernization Act. The government has referred to this bill as an attempt to modernize Canada's copyright rules. They feel the rules need to be changed since we are now living in the digital age.
This bill does two things, if we are to believe what is being reported, it protects the rights of consumers to produce and own a back up copy of all digital entertainment they own. In other words, you can rip music and movies from the disc to your hard drive. You can also take this copy and set it to your favourite mp3 player, if this is what you want to do. So, fair use is now enshrined by the law of the land.
The bill states:
29.22 (1) It is not an infringement of copyright for an individual to reproduce a work or other subject-matter or any substantial part of a work or other subject-matter if
(a) the copy of the work or other subject-matter from which the reproduction is made is not an infringing copy;
(b) the individual legally obtained the copy of the work or other subject-matter from which the reproduction is made, other than by borrowing it or renting it, and owns or is authorized to use the medium or device on which it is reproduced;
(c) the individual, in order to make the reproduction, did not circumvent, as defined in section 41, a technological protection measure, as defined in that section, or cause one to be circumvented;
(d) the individual does not give the reproduction away; and
(e) the reproduction is used only for private purposes.
You want to put it on your computer, make a copy, put it on your hard drive and enjoy listening to it as you work. This is wonderful and is a great idea. Fair use should be enshrined in law to protect people from the messy and ridiculous law suits from Big Media.
But remember, this act is from the government and is probably a gift to Big Media. For in the same act, there is this:
41.1 (1) No person shall
(a) circumvent a technological protection measure within the meaning of paragraph (a) of the definition “technological protection measure” in section 41;
(b) offer services to the public or provide services if
(i) the services are offered or provided primarily for the purposes of circumventing a technological protection measure,
(ii) the uses or purposes of those services are not commercially significant other than when they are offered or provided for the purposes of circumventing a technological protection measure, or
(iii) the person markets those services as being for the purposes of circumventing a technological protection measure or acts in concert with another person in order to market those services as being for those purposes; or
(c) manufacture, import, distribute, offer for sale or rental or provide — including by selling or renting — any technology, device or component if
(i) the technology, device or component is designed or produced primarily for the purposes of circumventing a technological protection measure,
(ii) the uses or purposes of the technology, device or component are not commercially significant other than when it is used for the purposes of circumventing a technolog- ical protection measure, or
(iii) the person markets the technology, device or component as being for the purposes of circumventing a technological protection measure or acts in concert with another person in order to market the technology, device or component as being for those purposes.
In other words, if the copyright holder has slapped on some sort of protection, you can't circumvent it. So your rights to make a copy can be stymied by this part of the bill. It's like the government making a law in which the speed limit is 120kph and then allowing the automobile manufacturer to put a governor on all cars so they can't go faster then 60kph and making it illegal to take the governor off. In other words, your rights are now short changed by the digital protection that a copyright holder decides to put on the disc.
What a great idea, give people rights, and a lot of actions are protected, but then turn around and allow companies to slap on the encryption tools and threatening legal actions if you crack it.
41.25 (1) An owner of the copyright in a work or other subject-matter may send a notice of claimed infringement to a person who provides
(a) the means, in the course of providing services related to the operation of the Internet or another digital network, of telecommunication through which the electronic location that is the subject of the claim of infringement is connected to the Internet or another digital network;
(b) for the purpose set out in subsection 31.1(5), the digital memory that is used for the electronic location to which the claim of infringement relates; or
(c) an information location tool as defined in subsection 41.27(5).
Other interesting parts are the fact that copyright can be extended for 50 years:
23. (1) Subject to this Act, copyright in a performer’s performance subsists until the end of 50 years after the end of the calendar year in which the performance occurs. However,
(a) if the performance is fixed in a sound recording before the copyright expires, the copyright continues until the end of 50 years after the end of the calendar year in which the first fixation of the performance in a sound recording occurs; and
(b) if a sound recording in which the performance is fixed is published before the copyright expires, the copyright continues until the earlier of the end of 50 years after the end of the calendar year in which the first publication of the sound recording occurs and the end of 99 years after the end of the calendar year in which the performance occurs.
Why do I call this a fail?
It seems the bill thinks the only way a person gets their media is to buy, or rent or take it out of the library and then rip it for themselves. They take it and sell it to others. Listen, this is not how it happens. Most people get their media over the Internet. They go to their favourite torrent client and look for the music or movie. When you find it, click it and wait a few minutes or a couple of hours. Go back to your computer and you will find the music or movies or television shows. It's on your computer and you can watch on your high def monitor or burn it to a cd or dvd to watch over your home theatre system.
Does it stop piracy? Not at all. It ensures that more people will get involved then before. Stop me from making a back up, you shall pay.
No doubt more to follow.