Bill C-11 debate day 1

The hansard for Tuesday, October 18, 2011 includes a transcript of the first day of debate of Bill C-11. The debate is at second reading, after which it will be sent to a committee.

The debate started a little after 10:30, and continued to 14:00 when "Statements by Members" proceedings interrupted. Debate continued after question period (and a point of privilege) at 15:15 and continued (with a few of the normal interruptions) until 18:30.

Debate stated as expected with the Minister's of Industry and Heritage giving speeches outlining the government's talking points.

(Discussing the bill using the 4 quadrants)

When discussing the Copyright aspects of the bill I can live with what they said. I don't agree on specific details of the policies, the alleged problems the bill was attempting to solve, or the policy priorities, but I can at least make sense of what they were trying to do. There are aspects of the WIPO and non-WIPO Copyright parts of the bill where I am in strong agreement with the decisions they have made.

On the Copyright aspects I believe their talking point about balance is correct.

I remain convinced that the government, especially Heritage Minister James Moore who has been taking the lead on this file, is lacking a basic understanding of Paracopyright and the real-world impacts of legal protection for technological measures being added to Copyright law. It is the non-WIPO Paracopyright component of the bill that is least understood, and where the external influence of entities including the US government is the most obvious. This is also the part of the bill that overshadows the rest, and which will greatly harm the interests of Canadian audiences, technology owners, and the vast majority of copyright holders.

Mr. Charlie Angus took the lead for the Official Opposition NDP. He is in my opinion the most well versed MP when it comes to this issue. Like myself, he understands this policy from the perspective of a creator trying to protect creators' rights. He recognises the harm to both creators and users from abuses enabled by Paracopyright, and focused his speech on how the treatment of "digital locks" in the bill trump any balance that might otherwise have existed. He offered a good history lesson of Copyright, and the real-or-imagined threats that came before us to put the current debate in context.

I will comment further when I have had a chance to read the transcript. There seemed to be little differentiation between WIPO and non-WIPO Paracopyright legislation. This includes both the supporters and the opponents, most of which suggested they believed the copyright holders are in control of these technological measures.

There appeared to be no recognition that in the vast majority of real-world scenarios, the keys to the locks are held by someone other than the owner that is what is locked. It is not the owner of the copyright that has the keys (to the lock on the content or the lock on devices), and it is not the owner of the device that has the lock on the device. It is the device manufacturer and/or software distributor that controls the keys. In any type of lock, digital or otherwise, it is the interests of the entity with the keys whose interests are protected.