Why Canada Will be “sorry” for The Canadian Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-11)

<Old cassette tape from the Dead Kennedys

The Canadian government has imposed a limit on Parliamentary debate for Bill C-11: The Copyright Modernization Act which will completely change the way that Canadians interact with web content.

While the bill’s proponents state that there are many benefits to the act, opponents state that the bill’s “digital lock” provisions are excessively restrictive and feel that they are the result of increasing pressure from US corporations.

Opponents state that these provisions will lock down content that has previously been available to consumers and must be immediately revised. In effect Canadians will not have the right to take material they purchase (music, movies etc) and transfer it onto different devices. If the proposed bill passes without amendment, any circumvention would be a crime; regardless if you have legally purchased the material you want to view on another platform.

The Stephen Harper conservative government has decided to defeat all proposed amendments to the bill from the Liberal and NDP parties. The Speaker of the House has selected 18 proposed amendments from Green Party Leader Elizabeth May for debate in the House of Commons.

In an email newsletter sent to constituents and in a video release, May contends that this is Canadians last chance to make any changes to the act:

“These amendments represent sensible changes that will ensure this bill does in fact modernize our copyright law, rather than unfairly undermine our rights as consumers – They will remove digital lock provisions and allow for exceptions, while addressing creators’ concerns about the possible effects of the addition of ‘education’ to the list of fair dealing categories.”

The Liberal party has also launched a petition calling for amendments to Bill C-11’s digital lock rules which would make it illegal to copy a DVD so that you can watch it on your tablet device even if you are not infringing on the copyright.

They also state that “If the Bill passes without amendment, any circumvention will become a crime, even if it is only done to enjoy material you have legally purchased on the platform you want to view it on.”

Following in the footfalls of the SOPA and PIPA controversies the ongoing debate for a fair and equitable balance between the copyright infringement and legitimate fair public usage is far from being resolved.

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