Bill C-61, which puts strict limits on digital media , was unveiled June 12 to both celebration and criticism. Here’s a list of the proponents, opponents and innocent bystanders:
Ordinary law-abiding citizens:
Unfortunate victims, average Canadians no longer control their private property: no copying songs onto a friend’s iPod or scanning an interesting article to send to parents. Both of those are considered infringement.
Those travelling from other countries won’t be able to unlock their foreign-bought cellphones or watch out-of-region-coded DVDs. If they do, even unwittingly, it would a fineable offense.
Educators could face infringement claims if they teach a digital curriculum. The bill puts a five-day cap on copyrighted digital material in libraries or schools, after which it must be destroyed.
The Web impresario and BoingBoing.net architect is campaigning against C-61, saying it makes Canada a nation of criminals.
The University of Ottawa prof and copyright expert is vehemently opposed to it. On michaelgeist.ca, he has a comprehensive guide to the clampdown and how it can be fought. A long-time crusader for online liberties, he sees the bill as too heavily weighted toward lobby groups such as...
The Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA):
A group of music industry dinosaurs in favour of criminalizing P2P sharing. In addition to its traditional lobbying efforts, CRIA exploits the Juno Awards and other industry functions to put its self-interested message across.
Canadian Music Creators Coalition (CMCC):
Barenaked Ladies’ Steven Page and Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning are part of a group created by musicians that emphasizes their interests over those of multinational record companies and other forms of greed. Says Canning: “Musicians don’t need lawsuits, we don’t need digital rights management [DRM] protection. These aren’t the things that help us or our careers.”
Goodbye to mashups, remixes, sampling and 40 years of DJ culture. No fair use of copyrighted music means no use at all for DJs.
The Liberals, NDP, Bloc Quebecois:
None of the opposition parties has yet come out against Bill C-61. (Reminder: C-61 is not too different from the Paul Martin regime’s C-60.) And since the Liberal party is a hideout for more than a few self-styled law-and-order types, the NDP and Bloc may be the only hope.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Industry Minister Jim Prentice:
The authors of C-61 scheduled the bill into the government’s agenda while PM Harper’s much-lauded residential schools apology was still on the front pages. So far, that’s been an easy act to follow.
Meanwhile, those outside the tight grip of the PMO oppose the intrusion in droves. What self-respecting conservative supports reaching into a free market with government controls?
Israeli, Kiwi government:
Balanced copyright law in Israel and New Zealand should have been a model for Canadian legislators, but instead...
Due to the striking similarity between the two countries’ legislation, the behind-the-scenes architect of C-61 is thought to be the Bush admin. That suggestion forced the increasingly defensive Conservative government to affix a “made-in-Canada” stamp to the bill.
Leak of the Week
While it’s still legal, here's Toe Jam by The BPA, featuring Talking Head David Byrne and grime-timer Dizzee Rascal.