Canada may be facing its own DMCA according to Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa. And, “given the strength of the copyright lobby, we may need protection from the next copyright bill,” he says.
With that in mind, tomorrow Giest launches 30 Days of DRM page and an associated wiki which will, “seek to provide a starting point for the kinds of protections politicians and policy makers should be contemplating,” at the same time forming a compilation of DRM policy issues.
While there was much to criticize about Bill C-60, the last attempt at copyright reform in Canada, “given continuing pressure from the copyright lobby and American government, the Conservatives’ bill may be, “far more extreme in its approach,” says Geist, stressing that anti-circumvention provisions which grant legal protection to technological protection measures (TPMs) are likely to be the most contentious issues.
“In plainer English, traditional copyright law grants creators a basket of exclusive rights in their work.”
“TPMs or digital locks (such as anti-copying technologies on CDs) effectively provide a second layer of protection by making it difficult for most people to copy works in digital format. Anti-circumvention legislation creates a third layer of protection by making it an infringement to simply pick or break the digital lock (in fact, it even goes further by making it an infringement to make available tools or devices that can be used to pick the digital lock).”
Under the DMCA, it’s an infringement to circumvent a TPM, “even if the intended use of the underlying work would not constitute traditional copyright infringement,” Geist emphasises.
The House of Commons reconvenes in a month and to highlight exceptions and limitations that should be included if a Canadian DMCA is introduced, starting tomorrow, each day for the next 30 days Geist will post a new provision focusing broadly on marketplace concerns, public protection, and fair circumvention,” .
“We should be working on a positive copyright agenda that includes an expanded fair dealing provision, reform to the statutory damages provision, the elimination of crown copyright, and protection from DRM,” he states.
“Instead, given the strength of the copyright lobby, we may need protection from the next copyright bill.”