What the politicians are saying

If you look through transcripts of parliamentary proceedings, you figure out very quickly the big push for bill C-61 came from politicians who were concerned about the lack of a Canadian law ratifying WIPO.

During a meeting of the Heritage Committee Feb. 14, Liberal Hedy Fry said:

“I think we have heard repeatedly on this committee that one of the greatest challenges to copyright is the advent of digital media, and that this in fact seems totally insurmountable and uncontrollable because people are downloading intellectual property of creators and artists on iPods and everything they can. That has left us with a huge copyright vacuum.”

“When you write a play or a song and someone picks it up on an iPod or on whatever and there’s piracy going on and all of those things, that is really harming the creator, the artist. Therefore, I think we need to be at that table. We need to inject this perspective into any discussion on any copyright legislation.”

The result of this meeting was a recommendation that Bill C-61 be referred to a Special Joint Committee made up of members or associate members of the Standing Committee of Canadian Heritage and of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology before second reading

When Bill C-61 was introduced in June, one of the first questions came from Bruce Stanton, Conservative MP for Simcoe North:

“Mr. Speaker, we know that copyright reform in Canada is long overdue. Canadian consumers need to have reasonable use of the latest technologies without fear of infringing copyright law. Under the current laws, Canadians run the risk of being sued for the everyday use of the products and services that they buy. Could the Minister of Industry confirm to the House that the bill he tabled today ensures that Canadian consumers will no longer be treated like criminals for the everyday use of things like time shifting their television programs or copying CD music to their iPods?”

In his reply to Stanton’s question, the word “No” does not appear. Industry Minister Jim Prentice said the bill “seeks to strike a balance between consumers and their rights on the one hand, and on the other hand those who are creators in our society.”

He added the bill was “welcomed” by The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, the Business Software Alliance, ACTRA, the Canadian Film and Television Production Association, the Canadian Publishers’ Council and the Canadian Intellectual Property Council.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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