Heritage Minister Moore gave a speech yesterday at a meeting of the The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). His focus was on Bill c-32, the Copyright Modernization Act. He made a number of important remarks about the goals behind the Bill. He also used the occasion to comment on some of the Bill’s main critics Here are some highlights of his speech.
Minister Moore stressed the contribution that the copyright industries make to Canada’s economy noting that they “cannot be underestimated, both in terms of stimulating investment and creating jobs”.
He emphasized throughout the speech that the proposed legislation represents a balanced approach, an approach that the Government believes protects the works of creators while recognizing the interests of consumers and Canadians. It is intended to reflect a variety of views expressed during the consultation on copyright policy that was held in last summer.
The Bill is intended to be principle-based, flexible and adaptable to any changes to technology, while ensuring appropriate protections for both creators and users. The modernized legislation is intended to support Canada as it faces the challenges of the digital environment and to enable Canada to take a leadership role in the global digital economy. It is supposed to contribute to an environment that gives Canadians the tools we need to remain creative, innovative, and competitive internationally. It was created to do so in accordance with international standards.
The Bill recognizes that the best way to fight piracy is by targeting those who knowingly enable online infringement. It therefore is intended to give copyright owners new tools to seek damages from these “enablers.” It is also designed to provide tools to creators to protect their investments, to encourage new business models, and to provide certainty for artists and creators to engage in the global digital marketplace with confidence. This includes providing protections for technological measures which are subject to a specific list of exceptions such as encryption research and security testing.
The Bill including the legal protection for TPMs and the making available right are intended to implement the rights and protections of the WIPO Internet Treaties and to bring Canada in line with these international standards. They will allow creators and copyright-based industries to better compete on the international stage. The Bill is also designed to enable Canada to fulfill the Government’s commitment to bring Canada’s copyright in line with those of our G8 trade partners.
The Government decided not to include a graduated response regime similar to what is being implemented in France, UK, New Zealand and elsewhere.
The Bill is also designed to legitimize commonplace private and/or non-commercial uses of copyright material that are currently not allowed or where their status is not clear under the Copyright Act. These uses include posting mash ups on the web or time shifting television programs. It is also intended to expand the existing uses allowed as ‘fair dealing’ by adding education, parody and satire and to enable publically available materials on the internet to be used for educational purposes.
The Bill is also intended to provide other exceptions to clarify the law or to remove impediments to ordinary uses of technology. In this regard, Minister Moore noted that the Bill proposes new exceptions for computer program innovators, limitations on liability for ISPs and search engines, and clarifies that making temporary technical reproductions of copyright material is acceptable.
In answer to questions following his speech, Minister Moore asked Canadians to consider what is in the Bill and to come forward with ideas on how to improve it. He pointed out, however, that there are opponents of copyright reform who “don’t believe in copyright”, who “pretend” to be experts in copyright, but are misleading the public about what it. According to the Minister:
“…Those people who are out there who’re saying copyright legislation/copyright reform is not good, these are people who are dressing up the fact that they don’t believe in copyright reform at all. There’s people out there who don’t believe in copyright at all. They just say well Bill C-61, the old copyright legislation, we disagree with these specific revisions. Well, Bill C-32 we have these specific amendments. Don’t fool yourself. These voices that are out there, there’s people out there who pretend to experts that the media cites all the time, they don’t believe in any copyright reform whatsoever. They will find any excuse to oppose this bill to drum up fear to mislead to misdirect and to push people in the wrong direction and to undermine what has been a meaningful comprehensive year-long effort to get something right. This hasn’t been done as I said since 1997, three years after I graduated high school. It’s been a long time.
We need to amend our legislation and those people out there who try pretend that they’re copyright experts and they want to amend copyright in a meaningful way, don’t be fooled by some of these people. They don’t believe in any copyright. They don’t believe in individuals’ rights to protect their own creations and when they speak, they need to be confronted. If it’s on Facebook, if it’s on Twitter or if it’s on a talk show, if it’s in a newspaper, confront them and tell them they are wrong. Canada from the Hudson’s Bay Company to FTA and NAFTA to the G8 and G20, Canada always has been always will be a trading nation. Our future and our past and our prosperity has always been dependant on investment into Canada be in compliance with international standards opening ourselves up to the world, welcoming investment and working with the world, not being an outlier in the world, disregarding international treaties like WIPO that we’ve signed, disregarding our obligations to protect foreign investment into Canada, Canadian investments into Canadian businesses. We need to protect those investments, protect those jobs and make sure that those voices who try to find technical nonsensical fear-mongering reasons to oppose copyright reform, are confronted every step of the way and they are defeated. And when we do that, this bill will pass and Canada will be better for it.”
Almost immediately following his speech, Prof. Geist, relying upon a second hand source, published a blog suggesting that the Minister had “warned against “radical extremists” seeking to oppose Bill C-32” He then went further suggesting that Minister Moore could have been referring to just about anyone that sought reforms to the Bill including “all opposition parties, consumers, universities, teachers, students, business, and many creator groups are all seeking changes to C-32.”
It is patently obvious that Prof. Geist is misrepresenting who Minister Moore was referring to. Minister Moore was clearly referring to someone, or some people, who fit the following criteria:
- They pretend to be experts in copyright.
- They don’t believe in copyright.
- They don’t believe in individuals’ rights to protect their own creations.
- They are the ones “that the media cites all the time”.
- They “drum up fear to mislead to misdirect and to push people in the wrong direction”.
- They “find technical nonsensical fear-mongering reasons to oppose copyright reform”.
Who might this be? Here are some blogs that might provide a clue as to who Minister Moore was referring to:
*After posting this blog, the complete remarks made by the Minster after his speech were posted online. They included as well the following statements:
“There are those that pretend to be for copyright reform. But they don’t believe in actual copyright reform. There are those that are cited as experts by the media endlessly who are not in favour of copyright reform. They favour only weakening legislation, only in gutting tools that would allow those who are actually investing in jobs to have those jobs.”
“But don’t let those some of them are out there, who as I say are cited endlessly by the media, who pretend to be experts on copyright reform, who put up a smiley, shiny, cute face on what is actually a pretty disingenuous campaign to undermine the rights, the property rights of individual citizens, to invest in their creative goods.”
*A video of the Minister’s speech and comments are linked to below.
For more information about the Copyright Modernization Act or Bill C-11 or copyright reform, see Change and the Copyright Modernization Act.