Is the Conservative government being dishonest with their mislabelling in C-61?

The heading in the current section 29 of the Canadian Copyright Act is "Fair Dealings", and it lists a number of limits to copyright where a copyright holder cannot require permission in order for citizens to do these activities. These limits to Copyright are necessary to allow for any balance between the interests of existing copyright holders and the rights of new creators and the public at large.

Bill C-61 has a number of new additions that have numbers such as 29.21 (Reproduction onto another medium or device), 29.22 (Reproduction of music), and 29.23 (Reproduction for later listening or viewing). Contrary to the numbering, however, none of these additions are "fair dealings" limits to copyright. They are only a change in the default in the unusual situation when the specific activity is not mention in the license agreement from the copyright holder.

Each of these sections includes text such as the following:

Contract prevails in case of inconsistency
(2) If the individual has downloaded the work or other subject-matter from the Internet and is bound by a contract that governs the extent to which the individual may reproduce the work or other subject-matter, the contract prevails over subsection (1) to the extent of any inconsistency between them.

This means that in the past when these specific activities are not mentioned that the default was that they were infringements, while now the default is that they aren't infringements. They are still activities which are under the control of the copyright holder in their license/contract, are part of the permissions required (or able to be denied) by copyright, and thus do not qualify as limits or exceptions to Copyright.

The Conservative government is claiming that their bill is balanced based on a few key things

One is their reduction of statutory damages to $500 which will only have the effect of increasing the likelihood of lawsuits (copyright holders already had the ability to sue, but didn't for lobbying and public relations reasons).

The other would be these additions to section 29 of the act which are being mis-labeled as "fair dealings".

My hope is that Canadians will notice this dishonest fine print and recognize that this bill has no balance at all. While this bill offers quite a bit to a tiny number of old-media/old-economy special interest groups who see new media and the new economy as a threat, it is a very bad bill for pretty much every other part of the economy and Canadian society.