Copyright Modernization Act set to come into force

The federal government’s Copyright Modernization Act is about to be put into force in early November, according to an order from the Canada Privy Council dated Oct. 25.

Bill C-11 was tabled by the Conservative government back in September 2011 and was finally passed into law, updating Canada’s copyright law for the first time since 2000. Previous to this bill, there had been several attempts by both the Conservative government and previous Liberal government to pass through Copyright Modernization, but those attempts were killed when parliament was dissolved as a result of a minority government losing a confidence vote or a Prime Minister deciding to prorogue the parliament.

Now that the law really is going to take effect, Canadians can rejoice in the fact they can now legally copy their music from a CD they purchased to a digital device like a smartphone. Also, fair dealing exemptions have been extended to specifically protect parody, satire, and education as categories. Where copyright is deemed to have been violated, the offender will only have to pay a fine of $5,000 maximum so long as the case is non-commercial.

That last provision is important, as it protects Canadians against some of the more aggressive lawsuits seen in the U.S. where some music downloaders were fined enormous amounts. Possibly the most famous case being a Minnesota woman ordered to pay $1.92 million for downloading 24 songs from Kazaa in 2007.

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The law will also see the contentious digital locks protections go into effect. This makes it illegal for consumers to bypass a digital protection placed on a storage medium by the manufacturer. So if a DVD movie has a lock on it preventing a copy being made, consumers are not allowed to use software that would disable that lock.

Not all of the Bill’s provisions will be coming into force, according to University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist. Internet service providers (ISPs) will not see the “notice-and-notice” rules take effect. This provision has ISPs send a notice to their customers when receiving a complaint from a copyright owners that certain material must be removed from the Internet. It’s designed to protect ISPs from liability for the actions of their users, but apparently issues have cropped up over the fees for processing such notices and retaining customer information.

Also, some sections realted to the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Internet Treaties will be delayed because that treaty has not been implemented into Canadian law yet.

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Former editorial director of IT World Canada. Current research director at Info-Tech

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