A powerful copyright lobby group wants Canada kept in a United States watch list of nations with intellectual property laws that are deemed of concern to the U.S. and is also recommending sweeping changes to Bill C-11, otherwise known as Canada’s Copyright Modernization Act.
The IIPA also said Bill C-11, which was enacted in June last year has “changed the country’s reputation as a haven for technologically sophisticated international piracy operators” but said it needed some tweaking to provided better legal tools for enforcement agencies. Bill C-11 was tabled by the Conservative government back in September 2011 and was put in force November 2012.
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“The new act falls well short of providing adequate legal incentives to the inter-industry cooperation that would be needed to reduce the exceptionally high levels at which Canadians patronize illicit online sources for creative works,” the IIPA statement said. “Beyond these long standing concerns that have not been addressed, the Copyright Modernization Act also added new one in the form of a host of potentially problematic new or expanded expansion to copyright protection.”
The lobby group also said new limits to statutory damages that range from $100 – $5,000 for infringement carried out by a defendant for non-commercial purposes is not enough to provide a compelling deterrent to “large scale infringers.”
At least one free and open source software advocate said IIPA’s recommendations only aim to water down the “already weak fair dealing provisions” of Bill C-11.
“Bill C-11 already offer consumers far too little protection under its fair dealings provisions but IIPA wants to further weaken this aspect of the bill,” said Russell McOrmond, a systems administrator and software developer at Canadiana.org and policy coordination for CLUE (Canada’s Association for Free/Libre and Open Source Software).
He also said the damages cap is important because it protects Canadians against some of the more aggressive lawsuits seen in the U.S. where some music downloaders are fined enormous amounts of money. In one such case a woman from Minnesota was ordered to pay $1.92 million for downloading songs from free online sharing site Kazaa in 2007.