Burnaby-Douglas MP Bill Siksay on Bill C-61

Burnaby-Douglas Link is a monthly publication produced by Hon. MP Bill Siksay's office and is sent to every household in the Burnaby-Douglas riding. On the front cover of Burnaby-Douglas Link's July 2008 issue (png image), MP Siksay discusses in length the negative impacts that Bill C-61 will bring upon Canadians and describes his position on the said bill. The following is a text copy.

Dear Friends,

As I write, Parliament has just recessed for the summer.

There were several controversial pieces of legislation introduced late in the session.

Just days before the House rose, the Conservative government tabled its new copyright legislation, Bill C61 (An Act to amend the Copyright Act). There have been several unsuccessful attempts to amend Canada's copyright legislation, and from the looks of the current bill, we may not be much further ahead with this proposal.

Many of the fears of those for whom this legislation is important were realized. Rather than developing copyright law that was specific to Canada, the Conservatives have copied many of the provisions of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The US legislation was very pro-industry and strongly supported corporate interests, and has led to big US corporations frequently suing individuals for huge sums.

The Conservatives' new legislation is complex and the devil will be in the details. For instance, it appears to allow for the recording of television programmes to be watched at a different time than the broadcast time (time shifting). However, limitations are placed on the building of a video library using such recordings, and the sharing of recordings would be restricted. As well, content can be transferred to a different platforms for personal use, but only if the producer has not used a digital lock. This means that a consumer who purchases a CD, only to discover that a digital lock prevents it from being played on a car stereo, will not legally be able to override the digital lock. Huge financial penalties of $20,000 plus would be levied if a digital lock was broken, even if for strictly personal use. These are just a couple of examples of the problems of this legislation.

I've already been up in the House during Question Period to express concern about Bill C61.

This bill has serious implications for artists and musicians, consumers, innovators, and educators. Full and detailed analysis of its provisions is now underway. However, given our early assessment, my NDP colleagues and I will oppose Bill C61. We will fight for legislation that ensures creators are compensated for their work but also allows consumers to enjoy reasonable rights of access. We need a "Made in Canada" solution to these important issues.

If you have comments or analysis on the copyright bill it would be great to hear from you.