updated 02:00 pm EDT, Thu June 12, 2008
Can. Copyright Act tabled
The Canadian government's Industry Minister, Jim Prentice, has today officially tabled Bill C-61, a set of proposed amendments to the country's Copyright Act. Early versions of the changes have been criticized by thousands of citizens -- and a number of businesses and other organizations -- as overly harsh, and too close in nature to the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Prentice has defended amendments as necessary for bringing compliance with the World Intellectual Property Organization treaty Canada signed in 1996.
Today's bill is said to have been somewhat liberalized in response to complaints, and if passed would continue to allow ISPs safe harbor from users' copyright infractions. Similarly, ISPs would only be forced to pass on copyright notices rather than halt illegal material themselves, Reuters notes.
People would also be able to copy legally-bought files at will, but would not only be forbidden from circumventing DRM locks, but even distributing the tools needed to do so. In theory, wording in the legislation could also prevent Canadians from unlocking cellphones. Long-time critic Michale Geist also observes that uploading copyrighted material to YouTube could result in fines as large as $20,000 or more, and ISP provisions may be subject to the proposed, controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
Time- and format-shifting would remain possible, but files could not be kept indefinitely.