Russell McOrmond's blog

Bill C-11 house debate day 5

On November 24, 2011 we had the fifth time when the House of Commons debated Bill C-11 (at Second Reading).

The debate ended with the speaker asking if the house is ready to vote on the amendment. This vote was deferred until Monday at the end of government orders.

I believe the amendment is the one brought by Hon. Geoff Regan (Halifax West, Lib.) on the first day of debate which read:

That the motion be amended by deleting all of the words after the word “That” and submitting the following:

“this House declines to give second reading to Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, because it fails to:

(a) uphold the rights of consumers to choose how to enjoy the content that they purchase through overly-restrictive digital lock provisions;

(b) include a clear and strict test for “fair dealing” for education purposes; and

(c) provide any transitional funding to help artists adapt to the loss of revenue streams that the Bill would cause.

Given the Conservatives have a majority this amendment will fail the vote, but it is interesting to see what the focus from the Liberals have been.

Bill C-11 house debate day 4

On November 22, 2011 we had the fourth time when the House of Commons debated Bill C-11 (at Second Reading).

I am glad that Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP) included discussion of the constitutional questions raised by Bill C-11.

The problems are in two areas, and I will refer to the first. Briefly, it is constitutional. The constitutional problem is simple to describe. Copyright is clearly an area of federal jurisdiction, whereas property rights are provincial. To the extent that we have intruded into property rights, we have a problem. This has been described in a learned article published by professors Crowne-Mohammed and Rozenszajn, both from the University of Windsor, in the Journal of Information, Law and Technology in which the authors describe the problem this way:

The DRM provisions of Bill C-61 represent a poorly veiled attempt by the Government to strengthen the contractual rights available to copyright owners, in the guise of copyright reform and the implementation of Canada's international obligations.

Let us de-link them. Let us protect the rights and protect copyright reform without acceding to pressure from U.S. interests, which want to have excessively restrictive controls in the form of digital locks. That is setting aside the constitutional issue.

Bill C-11 house debate day 3

On November 14, 2011 we had the third time when the House of Commons debated Bill C-11 (at Second Reading).

The most notable aspect of the debate for me is how the Conservatives are going out of their way to conflate the WIPO Paracopyright provisions (tied to infringing purposes, no restriction on circumvention tools, etc) and the non-WIPO (beyond-WIPO) Paracopyright provisions.

Are paywalls a Copyright issue?

We should answer the question of whether a paywall is a copyright issue, before we dive into the question of the importance of this question for the debate around the Paracopyright provisions in Bill C-11.

I am familiar with paywalls from the perspective of both a user and a provider of such services. I will offer two specific examples of paywalls to illustrate the issues.

Bill C-11 legislative committee has been struck.

A report from the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs lists the 12 members of the new Legislative Committee on Bill C-11 as follows:

Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP)
Scott Armstrong (Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, Conservative)
Tyrone Benskin (Jeanne-Le Ber, NDP)
Peter Braid (Kitchener—Waterloo, Conservative)
Paul Calandra (Oak Ridges—Markham, Conservative)
Andrew Cash (Davenport, NDP)
Dean Del Mastro (Peterborough, Conservative)
Mike Lake (Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, Conservative)
Phil McColeman (Brant, Conservative)
Rob Moore (Fundy Royal, Conservative)
Pierre Nantel (Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, NDP)
Geoff Regan (Halifax West, Liberal)

Ending the Long-gun Registry #C19, Beginning the computer lockdown #C11

The House of Commons will begin debate on Bill C-19 (Ending the Long-gun Registry Act) later today.

When I spoke in front of the Bill C-32 committee, after discussing how the "technical measures" aspect of the bill will protect non-owner locks on computers, I ended with the following observation:

For no other type of property would this be considered. We would never legally protect non-owner locks to all guns in a country where many are uncomfortable with the mere registration of long guns. We would never legally protect non-owner locks on our homes, alleging it was necessary to protect the insurance industry from fraud. We would never legally protect non-owner locks on our cars, allegedly to ensure that automobiles could never be used as a getaway vehicle.

The linking between defamation and copyright

The Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled in favor of Newton in the Crookes v. Newton, declaring that this specific use of linking to allegedly defamatory material did not constitute publishing. A number of people have suggested this has links to policy discussions in copyright where sites like ISOHunt that allegedly "just link" to content should be equally immune (See article by Jesse Brown as an example).

I think this requires more than a cursory look at both what the Supreme Court said and the policy being proposed to be added within C-11.

Why I'm offering moral support, but no signature/tweet, to @ccercanada campaign.

The Canadian Coalition for Electronic Rights has a campaign currently that encourages people to tweet out the following:

ACT NOW - Speak out against the anti-consumer copyright Bill #C11 being rushed into law. Takes 2min. ccer.ca/speakout via @ccercanada

While I agree with the text contained in their letter writing tool (even if I would have worded it differently), I feel their campaign page is misleading.

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