Robert Chisholm's Response To constituent about Bill C-11

Copied from a post to the Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group. Letter was to Jordan Landry.

Thank you for taking the time to email me with your concerns regarding Bill C-11 The Copyright Modernization Act.

Like many pieces of legislation currently tabled in the House of Commons there are parts of the bill that we support and parts that we oppose.

Since 2004, the New Democrats have pushed for an updating of Canada’s copyright legislation to address the need to address artist remuneration in the digital age. The New Democratic Party believes that copyright in a digital environment must be based on two fundamental principles – access for consumers and remuneration for artists.

Although there are some positive elements in Bill C-11, the Conservative government has failed to meet these two fundamental principles.

The New Democrats support provisions that would bring Canada into compliance with the WIPO copyright treaties including the “making available” right of artists.

We support the move to ensure photographers are given copyright over works their works.

We support the clarification of statutory damages by separating commercial infringement from non-commercial copyright infringement.

However, we have major concerns with key elements of the bill.

In terms of remuneration of artists, this bill attacks the right of collective licensing in numerous key areas. The government has made it clear that they oppose the extension of the private copying levy into the digital realm. The loss of this levy will cost artists millions of dollars in revenue.

We support the right of consumers to time shift and back up legal works but we oppose the government’s attempt to erase the right of artists to receive compensation for private copying of works. The refusal of the government to update the private copying levy into the digital realm will cost artists millions of dollars a year in royalties.

We support the call for visual artists to receive a resale right on works sold through public galleries.

We oppose plans to erase the obligation to pay mechanical royalties for radio as well as attempts to erase collective licensing rights in schools.

We support efforts to extend fair dealing rights for satire and parody. We are committed to clarifying the fair dealing rights in terms of education to ensure that students and educators are able to access works in the classroom while, at the same time, collective licensing regimes for the fair remuneration of creators are not undermined.

We oppose the provisions for long-distance learning that would require students and educators to destroy their class notes after 30 days.

We oppose the digital lock provisions in Bill C-11 as they go well beyond our obligations under the WIPO treaty. Legal protection for TPMs (Technological Protection Measures) should not override rights that are guaranteed to citizens under existing copyright legislation. We will look to amend the digital lock provisions to ensure there is a balance between the right of a creator to protect their work and the right of the consumer to access content for which they are legally entitled.

Myself and my colleagues will continue to challenge the Harper Government to balance the rights of artists with the rights of consumers.


Robert Chisholm, MP
Dartmouth Cole- Harbour