Canada government introduces tough copyright reform bill

[JURIST] Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice [official profile] introduced new federal copyright legislation [press release, backgrounder] in the House of Commons [Parliament of Canada website] Thursday. The reforms update the existing law [Copyright Reform Process website] by taking into account new technologies developed over the last decade and setting tough new penalties for uploading and downloading copyrighted material and breaking "locks" on protected devices like cellphones and DVDs. Prentice described Bill C-61 [text] in a speech [text] on Thursday:

With this bill, we have introduced important measures to support industries whose success depends on copyright — software companies and filmmakers, for example. We are providing stronger protection of digital locks online so that companies that choose to use them in their business models will have the support of the law. We have also introduced stronger provisions to address Internet piracy.
Many Canadian arts and media organizations welcomed the changes, but the Canadian Music Creators Coalition (CMCC) [advocacy website] described the legislation [press release] as an "American-style approach to copyright" that is not helpful to Canadian artists. An opposition Liberal Party spokesman derided it as creating a "police state" [CBC report]. The bill was originally to be introduced last December but was criticized for its close resemblance to the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) [summary; PDF text]. The National Post has more. The Ottawa Citizen has additional coverage.

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), a consortium of seven trade associations representing 1,900 US companies producing and distributing copyrighted materials, released a report [text, PDF] in February asserting that China, Russia and Canada are the main violators of US copyright law [JURIST report]. IIPA and US officials have described Canadian copyright law as the most lax among the G7 nations.


 

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