Copyright Bill C-11 sent to committee | Print |
Written by Marlee Greig   
Monday, 13 February 2012 13:05

Canada's proposed copyright legislation Bill C-11 has been sent to a House of Commons committee for further discussion and possible amendments. is one of many organizations criticizing bill C-11. Their No Internet Lockdown petition has gotten over 43 000 signatures since launching last week.

Bill C-11 is identical to Bill C-32, which died after the 2011 federal election was called. Bill C-11 was introduced last September and it is the fourth attempt in a decade to update Canadian copyright law. Time restrictions placed on debating the bill in the House of Commons last week forced the debate to end Friday.

"This bill has already been the subject of 75 speeches in this House and an opposition motion to block it from ever getting to second reading. In the previous Parliament, by contrast, the identical bill was sent to committee after only seven hours of constructive debate," said Government House leader Peter Van Loan to the press Friday.

If Bill C-11 is passed,  it will be legal to copy a CD to your computer then to your iPod, record a show using a PVR, or mash-up content for non-commercial purposes.

But critics of the bill said its Digital Restrictive Measures clause (also called digital locks) will trump all those rights. It would be illegal to circumvent a digital lock on a DVD or software, regardless of if the user paid for it, for personal use. That breaking of the lock would be considered an act of copyright infringement, even if no actual infringement took place and the result was permitted under C-11.

 “The biggest worry in the existing legislation are digital locks that will lock Canadians out of innovating, producing and even consuming content in some instances,” Steve Anderson, founder of told the Vancouver Sun. “It takes Canada back in terms of where the whole world is going.”

The “No Internet Lockdown” petition launched by has been signed by 43,000 Canadians.

Now that Bill C-11 is in the committee stage, it can be amended. There are concerns about the influence of lobbyists on Bill C-11.

Bill C-11 has been compared to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the United States.

“Lobby groups are likely to intensify their efforts to export SOPA-like rules to other countries,” Michael Geist, the Canada Research Chair in Internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa, told the National Post.

“In fact, a close review of the unpublished submissions to the Bill C-32 legislative committee reveals that several groups have laid the groundwork to add SOPA-like rules into Bill C-11.”

The most controversial of these is the SOPA-style ‘enabler’ acts. This means companies can take action against sites for “enabling” infringement, even if they do not actually contain copyrighted material. Geist wrote that this provision could be used to sue sites such as Youtube.

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