Reply from Nycole Turmel (+Copy of Charlie Angus reply) on C-11

Copied from a post to the Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group.


Thank you for taking the time to write regarding Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act. We appreciate having the benefit of your comments and the opportunity to let you know more about our work on a number of these legislative concerns.

New Democrats want updated copyright laws to balance the rights of artists, consumers and rights-holders. We believe that Canada needs effective legislation to ensure artists’ royalties are protected; long-distance education opportunities aren’t hindered; and that young people aren’t subject to unfair, expensive fines.

That’s why we will not be supporting Bill C-11 unless the government is willing to amend the digital lock provisions and restore royalty provisions for artists.

The blanket provisions for digital locks will allow corporate interests to decide what legal rights you may or may not exercise. This unbalanced approach will ultimately hurt artists, educators and consumers.

New Democrats also think that it is time to strike a balance in Canada’s copyright law that will properly recognize the cultural community for its valuable contributions to our society. Going forward, we will continue to work hard to improve this bill and press the Harper government to adopt the best copyright laws for the 21st century.

Please find below a letter from NDP Copyright and Digital Issues critic Charlie Angus that further explains our position on Bill C-11.

Again, thank you for taking the time to register your views.

Sincerely,

Nycole Turmel, M.P.
Interim Leader of the Official Opposition
New Democratic Party of Canada

Charlie Angus, M.P.
NDP Copyright and Digital Issues Critic

Thank you for your email regarding C-11, the Conservative government’s new copyright bill. Since 2004, New Democrats have pushed to have Canada’s copyright legislation brought into the digital age.

We believe that copyright in a digital environment must be based on two fundamental principles – access for consumers and remuneration for artists. Unfortunately, the Conservative government has failed to meet these two fundamental principles. On one hand, the government directly attacks millions of dollars in existing copyright royalty to artists all the while undermining rights of consumers through their digital lock provisions.

Given the above, we will not be supporting Bill C-11 unless the government is willing to amend the digital lock provisions and restore royalty provisions for artists.

New Democrats are concerned about a number of measures in this legislation. First, 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.

Another concern is that this bill offers consumers rights they will not be able to exercise. The blanket provisions for digital locks will allow corporate interests to decide what legal rights you may or may not exercise. This unbalanced approach will ultimately hurt artists, educators and consumers.

There are also serious concerns over the impact this bill would have on long-distance education. In particular, we are totally opposed to provisions that would require students and educators to destroy their class notes after 30 days.

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

Finally, we oppose plans to remove mechanical royalties for radio as well as attempts to erase collective licensing rights in schools.

While there is much we dislike in this bill, there are measures that we can support — for example, provisions that would bring Canada into compliance with the WIPO copyright treaties including the “making available” right of artists. We also support the move to ensure photographers are given copyright over works their works. We support efforts to extend fair dealing rights for satire and parody.

For our part, we will try to improve this deeply flawed piece of legislation. First, 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.

In addition, we are committed to clarifying the fair dealing rights in terms of education so that students and educators are able to access works in the classroom while, at the same time, ensuring collective licensing regimes for the fair remuneration of creators are not undermined.

Again, I appreciate knowing of your interest to have Canada adopt improved copyright legislation for the 21st century.

Sincerely,

Charlie Angus, MP Timmins – James Bay
Official Opposition Critic for Digital Issues and Copyright