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Canadian Copyright Reform Takes Effect 103

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the canuckistan-piracy-terror-watch-list dept.
An anonymous reader writes "This morning, the majority of Bill C-11, Canada's copyright reform bill, took effect, marking the most significant changes to Canadian copyright law in decades. Michael Geist summarizes the changes, which include expanded fair dealing, new protection for creators of user generated content, consumer exceptions such as time shifting, format shifting, and backup copies, and a cap on liability for non-commercial infringement."
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Canadian Copyright Reform Takes Effect

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  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @11:59AM (#41908325)

    Better yet. I live in a contiguous state. How exactly would we go about seceding from this American sinkhole?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @12:01PM (#41908339)

      The North will rise again!

    • by Nerdfest (867930) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @12:06PM (#41908427)

      Well, it is now illegal to break digital locks on a product we bought, even for non-infringing purposes. You may want to stay where you are. That is really the worst part of it, but it's pretty bad.

      • by MeNotU (1362683) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @12:11PM (#41908497)
        This provision alone can make all the other customer benefits meaningless. All a "content provider" has to do is provide ANY means of locking, including something as simple as ROT13, and the customer/consumer cannot legally do anything with it this bill was supposed to allow like format shifting.
        • by m.ducharme (1082683) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @02:05PM (#41909779)

          From the article:

          "At the moment, Canada is arguably more restrictive than even the U.S., though the digital lock rules do not carry significant penalties for individuals. Under Canadian law, it is not an infringement to possess tools or software that can be used to circumvent digital locks and liability is limited to actual damages in non-commercial cases."

          The liability limitation will likely take some of the sting out of the lock provision, as will the $5000 cap on damages for non-commercial infringement. Looks like a bit of a legislative hack, but I suspect that if you're ripping your dvds to stream them around your house you won't have much to worry about (no damages to speak of), and even if you're torrenting your rip, the damages would be pretty low (less than $5000), which is not going to make a big inviting target for the CRIA to attack. Of course, YMMV, I am not your lawyer, etc etc.

          • by crossmr (957846)

            So essentially what it means is that if you content shift a book from a pad to a PC and it was locked (say normally requiring you to pay $5 for the PC version) all they could do is go after you for the $5?

            This may be what the government said about not worrying about private copying. The actual damage is so trivial, that the rights holders would be crazy to go after it. It would cost them more.

      • by ne0n (884282)
        So just stop supporting the fools using those locks. Chances are in excess of 99% that you don't really need to streamrip the latest Britney Spears Does Dallas episode.
        • So just stop supporting the fools using those locks. Chances are in excess of 99% that you don't really need to streamrip the latest
          Britney Spears Does Dallas episode.

          Oooh! I'm going to download that right now!

      • by Kingkaid (2751527)
        I have had a discussion with a few lawyer friends who state that the no-breaking-digital-locks portion may not hold up on court. The logic behind that is that the provinces are responsible for certain types of copyright, and the federal for others. The feds created a law that goes outside their jurisdiction, so it becomes a bit null. I personally always wondered what would happen if I exported the locked file to another country, had it broken in that country and then re-imported the new file...
    • by fm6 (162816) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @01:26PM (#41909327) Homepage Journal

      Do you really want to live in a country where everybody's polite and everybody has health insurance? And the federal police wear silly red uniforms? And gay marriage is legal?

      They even have decent transit in some of the cities. Bunch of commies.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The red uniforms are dress events only, such as ceremonies or photo ops. RCMP standard uniform is not unlike most US police forces: blue.

        I'll give you the rest though! Transit can be improved, but it ain't bad in most cities.

      • by m.ducharme (1082683) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @02:06PM (#41909791)

        Bunch of commies.

        Ahem, excuse me sir, but I believe the proper term is "Canuckistanis". Sorry to bother you.

        • by flyingfsck (986395) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @02:39PM (#41910173)
          You mean: Sorry to bother you, eh.
        • by fm6 (162816)

          Here in greater Portland, we have "Clackistanis", tea party types from Clackamas county just south of PDX. They object to "Portland Creep" which is code for regional planning and regionally funded transportation infrastructure (bridges, light rail, but of course freeways are fine). Just as the national TP is a bunch of fringe types who exist mainly because fossil fuel interests need to push an anti-ecology agenda, the Clackistanis exist mainly because local timber families are sitting on forests that they'd

      • Gay marriages are the best!

        A guy marrying a guy means two more women available for the straight men.

        And a woman marrying another woman... well, I'm just hoping they have a webcam.

        • by fm6 (162816)

          I passed your post on to Ellen and Portia, and they rolled their eyes and said, "Buy your own porn, dude."

    • Could you imagine trying to pass the DMCA if the American Federal Government had been abolished in 1995? They'd have to get a treatise with 50 individual states. THEN they'd have to get all 50 states to bother enforcing it, and some of them would sign the treaty and just not have the economic resources to enforce it. Then, if they sent their own enforcers, they'd be invaders and start a war--and probably get hanged.

      If any state seceded--if all 50 states dissolved the union--a lot of the framework of thi

    • Better yet. I live in a contiguous state. How exactly would we go about seceding from this American sinkhole?

      And leave only Alaska, Hawaii, and a few other small islands as the "United States"?

      Protip: "Contiguous"... You keep on using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    • I'm guessing starting by sincerely apologizing to the rest of us.
  • What is a "creator of user generated content"? Should that be "aggregator"?

  • by Bradmont (513167) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @12:11PM (#41908483)
    From the article:

    Fourth, the digital lock rules are now also in effect. This was the most controversial aspect of the bill as the government caved to U.S. pressure despite widespread opposition to its restrictive approach. There are some exceptions to the digital lock rules (including for law enforcement, interoperability, encryption research, security, privacy, unlocking cellphones, and persons with perceptual disabilities), but these are drafted in a very restrictive manner. The government has established a regulatory process to allow for new digital lock exceptions, which creates the possibility of Canadians seeking new exceptions to at least match some of the U.S. exceptions on DVDs or streaming video. At the moment, Canada is arguably more restrictive than even the U.S., though the digital lock rules do not carry significant penalties for individuals. Under Canadian law, it is not an infringement to possess digital locks and liability is limited to actual damages in non-commercial cases.

    This is unfortunate. A digital locks rule would not *necessarily* be a bad thing, if it contained a, "as long as it does not supercede the above-listed consumer rights" clause. As it stands, I'm pretty sure this is not the case.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @12:26PM (#41908677)

      Right. This is not the case. Every single concession given to consumers are provided the absence of digital locks. In other words as soon as a digital lock is applied, every single consumer right goes out the window.

      And so yes, Canadians have been fucked over royally by their government (which was just a proxy for the US government) in favour of the copyright lobbies.

      And all of this despite the fact that the government ran (a charade of) a "consultation" across the whole country with Canadians asking what they wanted, and even though Canadians told them overwhelming that they did not want a DMCA, that is exactly what they have shoved up the asses of every single Canadian.

      And as far as it being a DMCA, it's even worse than the US "model" where at least that model allows for a review every few years of new exceptions that should be made to the digital locks provisions. Canadians get no such reviews and will live with these digital lock rules forever.

      • by Bradmont (513167)
        There *is* a process to add new exceptions. Time will tell how it works. (quoted above)

        The government has established a regulatory process to allow for new digital lock exceptions, which creates the possibility of Canadians seeking new exceptions to at least match some of the U.S. exceptions on DVDs or streaming video.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Canada had a regulatory process to allow satellite TV service into Canada, and satellite radio service into Canada. Both took about 10 years to complete, and were completed simply because in 10 years a Canadian media conglomerate had figured out how to monetize Canadian consumers.

          The answer is it will not work because history has shown it doesn't. It's okay, everyone will just keep pirating just like they always did.


      • And as far as it being a DMCA, it's even worse than the US "model" where at least that model allows for a review every few years of new exceptions that should be made to the digital locks provisions. Canadians get no such reviews and will live with these digital lock rules forever.

        From the Geist's summary:

        "The government has established a regulatory process to allow for new digital lock exceptions, which creates the possibility of Canadians seeking new exceptions to at least match some of the U.S. exception

      • So... if something has DRM, someone can send it out of Canada, have the DRM removed, and have the DRM-free version sent back to Canada where it will now be subject to the consumer rights statutes?

        The big question forms around what is considered a "digital lock" and what is considered "format shifting" -- I like to shift my content from encrypted to world-readable, so that I don't have to worry about key expiration. Is this legal until someone claims that the encryption was actually a lock? Is it even lega

      • by Fishead (658061)

        Right. This is not the case. Every single concession given to consumers are provided the absence of digital locks. In other words as soon as a digital lock is applied, every single consumer right goes out the window..

        Yeah so... I'm never going to buy anything that has a digital lock as now I can pirate for my personal use and not be worried about a ridiculous fine.

        Worst case Ontario they come after me for (up to) $5000, I go to court and represent myself wasting as much of their time as I can asking dumb questions and I have sell my truck to pay for the fine.

        It's worth the risk... but I'm not a lawyer so this should be a good laugh...

    • Even then, it comes down to 'You have these rights, but only if your hackers are better than our engineers.' While in practice all significently-deployed DRM schemes have been broken, it often takes many months, and even then may require substantial skill on the part of the end user to, for example, solder a chip into a console. It's very bad legal practice to have any kind of consumer right that can only be exercised by first winning a battle of skill with an engineer.
    • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @12:48PM (#41908921)

      Under Canadian law, it is not an infringement to possess digital locks and liability is limited to actual damages in non-commercial cases.

      But this is the important part. If you're ripping something for personal purposes, the most they can possibly sue you for is what they can prove they lost. This means that you aren't going to get ten-thousand dollar fines for ripping your BR of Cars so the kids' fingerprints don't get all over the disc. My lawyer has told me to "just eat" a fairly easy $2500 wrong. That means unless you're a commercial offender (i.e. selling for profit) you're going to be just fine.

      And even if you own handbrake + a lot of other ripping tools, that in itself is not a crime and it couldn't be used for getting a warrant.

      • by Sloppy (14984) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @01:24PM (#41909309) Homepage Journal

        And even if you own handbrake + a lot of other ripping tools, that in itself is not a crime and it couldn't be used for getting a warrant.

        It looks like you're right that it's not a crime to have that software, but it looks to me like 41.1(c) makes it a crime to create those tools or provide them. Also, you might be "import"ing the software (a new crime per this law) when you download/update it.

        Interestingly, this law has the same weirdness as US' DMCA: it defines circumvention in terms of doing something without the authority of the copyright owner. But for tools, there never is any specific copyright owner. That creates a two-pronged weakness (just like DCMA) in that

        1. DRM cracking can become legal if enough copyright owners who use that DRM, say they're ok with it, or
        2. Mainstream tools (e.g. Sony's DVD player) may be violators if some copyright owner says they're not ok with it.

        So this law is theoretically solvable the same way as DMCA: everyone, go make a movie, and publish it on CSS-protected DVD. Then sew chaos.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Then sew chaos.

          Um, I don't think you said what you thought you said, and I don't see how it can be an innocent typo, considering how far apart the E and O are on a keyboard. "Sew" means repair a cloth. I believe you meant "sow", which is what you do with seeds to make something grow. I.e., "sow the seeds of chaos."

          You don't read many books, do you?

          • Those who follow chaos don't give a crap about spelling.

            Hail Eris!

            Hail Discordia!

            Not "Hail Spell-checker!"

            • by mcgrew (92797) *

              Those who follow chaos don't give a crap about spelling.

              Then they don't give a crap about communication either.

          • by Sloppy (14984)

            You don't read many books, do you?

            Lies straight out of the pit of hell? Of course not!

            In this thread you spin a yarn against spelling chaos, for words are the seeds of the ideas we communicate. In my defense, I should fairly mention that I am from a friendly flax farming family, simple sons subsisting on seeds we sow so that we may sew, so please give me a break.

            *sigh* At least I didn't screw up affect vs effect again. I hate that one.

  • by Lieutenant_Dan (583843) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @12:11PM (#41908507) Homepage Journal

    I had actually e-mailed my MP directly (a Liberal) and the Minister of Industry Affairs (a Conservative), making it pretty clear about how consumer's rights must be protected.

    Looks like the levy on media is there; I guess music downloading will continue being legal in Canada. I'm fine with that.

    The digital locks piece is what bothers me, and it's good that a process exists to have the governement re-visit this. So on top of my list will be to copy DVDs so that I can use it my devices. Since format-shifting is permitted then this should be fine on principle.

    Michael Geist himself should be commended because he was a solid (constructive) critic and I remember seeing him on CSPAN doing an awesome job explaining the issues to the committee members. He played a BIG part in my opinion to get this bill the way it is.

    • by Bradmont (513167) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @12:19PM (#41908585)
      I am so thankful for Michael Geist's work in our country. He's like a less whiny, more effective version of Cory Doctorow.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You clearly do not understand the bill.

      You CANNOT copy DVDs, despite paying to be able to on blank media. They are protected by a digital lock and digital locks trump *every* other right you have. You CANNOT format shift when a digital lock is applied. Wanna hold your breath on waiting for digital locks to be applied preventing you from doing that? You can. I guarantee you will not suffocate.

      • by twnth (575721)

        IANAL, but as I read it you can copy a dvd to a backup dvd as the digital lock remains intact on the backup, therefore not circumvented or broken.

        However, you cannot rip the dvd to another format because that removes the digital lock.

        You can rip music, because there is no digital lock to break, and therefore the format shifting is legit.

        I think it's a fuzzy area that a court may have to sort out, if a copyright holder decides to push it (for the grand prize of $5000, not likely, I think)

      • by Em Adespoton (792954) <slashdotonly.1.adespoton@spamgourmet.com> on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @02:15PM (#41909903) Homepage Journal

        You clearly do not understand the bill.

        You CANNOT copy DVDs, despite paying to be able to on blank media. They are protected by a digital lock and digital locks trump *every* other right you have. You CANNOT format shift when a digital lock is applied. Wanna hold your breath on waiting for digital locks to be applied preventing you from doing that? You can. I guarantee you will not suffocate.

        While true, and worrying, exemptions can be created, and unlike the US, things like that actually happen in Canada. I expect the exemption list to get pretty big over time. Secondly, actual damages for breaking a digital lock for personal use are restricted to actual damages, not punitive damages. Good luck proving (in Canadian court) that some megacorp is damaged by me breaking a digital lock to watch my DVD on my iPad. They may try to push the "We provide an iPad version and lost that sale" argument, at which point I have the choice of paying them $14.95 or replying that if I had known I could not do this when I purchased the DVD in the first place, I would not have bought ANY copy, so they actually come out ahead. Unlike the US, this is actually considered a reasonable argument in (some) Canadian courts. When the money at stake is less than $15, good luck getting someone to actually pursue a case.

        Now, if someone is provably breaking DRM on a significant amount of digital media (cracked versions of expensive software that can be proved to be cracked and not received DRM-free), the digital locks issue could begin to be a problem.

        The way it's set up though, the DRM statute is really only an issue for businesses or people engaging in black market profiteering. This in itself could be a serious issue for small businesses who deal with format-shifting digital content, but everyone else is pretty safe. Of course, any modifications to the bill as it stands now could have a number of unforeseen negative consequences.

    • by guidryp (702488)

      Looks like the levy on media is there; I guess music downloading will continue being legal in Canada. I'm fine with that.

      Levy is still there, but downloading music is not legal. I believe there are now specified damages of $5000 for infringement.

      The free for all is now over.

      • That's exactly the question that I have.

        I always liked the free-for-all.

      • Er, the cap is $5000, and the injured party has to prove actual damages.

        • Er, the cap is $5000, and the injured party has to prove actual damages.

          That's very intriguing. I was worried that the $5000 was statutory like the US $150,000. Suppose that you were found guilty of downloading 100 songs. In the US, that would cost you $15M and in Canada $500k. For someone who doesn't have this kind of money, it makes no difference -- you're bankrupt either way. But when you consider *actual* damages, in both countries you'd be one the hook for about $50, assuming the wholesale price f

          • I think you're essentially correct, with the caveat that I don't know whether the cap is per infringer or per infringing song. I'm sure you can appreciate the difference. It's still better than minimum statutory damages.

          • Just looking at the statute, and it's complicated but it looks to me like the rule is that you can get any actual damages you can prove, or elect before the end of the trial to get statutory damages. The statutory damages would be between $100 and $5000 for non-commercial infringers, jointly and severally. Which essentially means that if you file a lawsuit with 10 infringers and 1000 songs each, if you elect stat damages you're limited to at most $5k for all the infringers. Which is kinda nifty. And very ve

          • by lgw (121541)

            I don't think in either place that you can be sued for those penalties for downloading, as downloading isn't distribution. Most of the lawsutis have come from people who were using P2P, and were thereby uploading (perhaps without even realizing it worked that way).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @12:13PM (#41908513)

    A great deal has been made about the expansions to fair dealing in this bill. However, there is a provision that "digital locks" cannot be circumvented, even for the legitimate purposes enumerated in the fair dealing expansions. The logical conclusion of this is that anybody producing any intellectual property can just slap a ROT13 cipher on their work and call it a digital lock. From there, all the new restrictions will apply, and none of the benefits. Anybody who reads the digital locks provision would realize that it's a loophole big enough to fly a 747 through, but based on the Conservative government's repeated refusal to amend that provision, it seems to be a feature, not a defect.

    In short, this is a huge loss for the Canadian public, and a huge win for content producers.

    • A great deal has been made about the expansions to fair dealing in this bill. However, there is a provision that "digital locks" cannot be circumvented, even for the legitimate purposes enumerated in the fair dealing expansions. The logical conclusion of this is that anybody producing any intellectual property can just slap a ROT13 cipher on their work and call it a digital lock. From there, all the new restrictions will apply, and none of the benefits. Anybody who reads the digital locks provision would realize that it's a loophole big enough to fly a 747 through, but based on the Conservative government's repeated refusal to amend that provision, it seems to be a feature, not a defect.

      In short, this is a huge loss for the Canadian public, and a huge win for content producers.

      All it takes is for one person to unlock that lock -- and suddenly all the fair dealing applies again, unless it can be proven that the person circumvented a lock to get the content. Since everyone is allowed to possess tools needed to circumvent the lock, good luck proving who it was who circumvented it -- for less than $5,000.

      There are so many loopholes in both sides of this law that it will be interesting to see how it actually works itself out in court (if it even makes it there for anything but massiv

  • by Anonymous Coward

    we need more of your copyright crap
    tally hoe for TPP up next to take more of your rights away

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx.b c . ca> on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @12:23PM (#41908629) Journal

    To be fair, I have to say that those fair dealing exemptions are a good thing to be added to the law.

    The core problem is that those exemptions can be revoked entirely at the discretion of the content maker who can simply decide to utilize a digital lock.

    This is an inherent self-contradiction. If fair dealing was allegedly a reasonable exemption to copyright infringement, then why should a choice that the consumer has no part in making (the decision to utilize a digital lock) change that? Even at best it's irrellevant, and it's a damn-near certainty that most Canadians aren't going to care about this at all when they are engaging in practices that still may qualify as fair dealing, and allegedly could have been completely exempt from copyright infringement, but are suddenly illegal just because of a lock's presence. Consumers may have a choice to not buy such locked content, but by offering legal protection for digital locks, the government has created an added value incentive for publishers to utilize them, and this so-called "choice" that consumer have is restricted by the actual availability of unlocked and alternative content, which in the face of the added value that locks might have for publishers, is only going to get smaller in the future.

    People do not obey laws that do not agree with... at least not in the long run, and it is as certain as anything that Canadians will break this restriction at their own convenience, privately or otherwise.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @12:38PM (#41908811)

      Canadians have even been counselled to break the law by the government. In particular Conservative MP Lee Richardson said:

      If a digital lock is broken for personal use, it is not realistic that the creator would choose to file a law suit against the consumer, due to legal fees and time involved.

      See http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/6089/125/ for the full write-up about it.

      So the situation in Canada now is that the government passes laws Canadians don't want/like but not to worry, just ignore them.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        So business as usual then...

      • This is not entirely unlike the state of marijuana laws in the country. A small amount for personal use is still, as far as I know, strictly illegal with few exceptions for medical reasons. Growing large amounts is also illegal. But cops are too busy to enforce that law, so that sort of thing slides all the time.

        But philosophically, you have to think about whether the law is meant for enforcement or punishment. If you break the law by making your own copy of a DVD that you already own, there are probably no

    • Consumers may have a choice to not buy such locked content, but by offering legal protection for digital locks, the government has created an added value incentive for publishers to utilize them

      Yeah, and just where's the added value for the publisher in a product that consumers refuse to buy? Just say no to locked content. Most of it is mass-market crap not worth having anyhow.

      • by mark-t (151149)

        The added value comes from the additional legal protections that the locks get.

        If legal protection did not offer any additional value to a work, then to give just one obvious example, most people who make free content would put it into public domain instead of bothering to utilize copyright at all.

  • new protection for creators of user generated content

    So... users? I think you mean hosts of user generated content...

    • by Cyko_01 (1092499)
      Well, sort of. In the case of youtube google is the creator or the .flv video using videos provided by users. In the case of megaupload it is still the user
  • Anyone who decodes that devilishly clever code scheme will be guilty of breaking the locks.

    All codes are symbol patterns. Just because a code is common does not mean it is not a code.

  • Who said: Blame CANADA???

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

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