An Act to amend the Copyright Act (38th Canadian Parliament, 1st Session)

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Bill C-60 was a proposed law to amend the Canadian Copyright Act initiated by the Government of Canada in the First Session of the Thirty-Eighth Parliament. Introduced by then Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Status of Women Liza Frulla and then Minister of Industry David Emerson as "An Act to Amend the Copyright Act", it received its First Reading in the Canadian House of Commons on June 20, 2005. Bill C-60 passed its First Reading, with the Second Reading scheduled for the fall of 2005. On November 29, 2005, the opposition to the government tabled a non-confidence motion which passed, dissolving Parliament and effectively killed the bill. The subsequent government tabled a new bill called C-61, which also died with a dissolution of Parliament.

Bill C-60 primarily implemented amendments to meet compliance obligations of two WIPO treaties Canada is seeking to ratify, the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. In particular Technology Protection Measures (TPMs) and Rights Management Information (RMI), components of Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems are addressed. It also included updates addressing short-term copyright reform issues dealing with the "challenges and opportunities presented by the Internet and digital technology in general",[1] fulfilling the Government Statement on Proposals for Copyright Reform,[2] originally tabled on March 24, 2005. These focus on subjects such as network service provider liability, remote technology-based learning, and digital inter-library loans. Finally, photography issues were also given attention.

Seen as the Canadian equivalent to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the United States, Bill C-60 met with public opposition before its first reading, with approximately 1800 Canadians signing the Petition for Users' Rights.[3] Those opposed to the bill see Bill C-60 as a move towards strengthening rights for copyright holders, while conceding the rights of users. They appealed to the government to "protect [Canadians'] creative, cultural and communications rights."[1]

Highlights of proposed changes[edit]

TPM protection[edit]

Technology Protection Measures (TPMs) refer to any technology-based solution that control access to works, use of works, or both, ranging from simple passwords to complex cryptographic measures. They are often used to control copy protection of material, and are often combined with other technologies as part of DRM systems.

Instead of explicitly prohibiting circumvention of TPMs, Bill C-60 provides remedies to copyright holders when a TPM is compromised; either circumvented, removed, or rendered ineffective. These powers apply in three cases: (a) compromising a TPM for the purpose of infringing copyrights; (b) aiding in compromising a TPM; or (c) being aware that material in one's possession contains a compromised TPM. These provisions effectively remove the right of people to make private copies of materials protected by TPMs. For example, while people have the right to make private copies of sound recordings, the majority of newer sound recording media have TPMs in place and making a private copy would require compromising a TPM, which is prohibited.

RMI protection[edit]

Rights Management Information (RMI) refers to information that is attached to a material form of a work that permits identification of the work or its author or describes terms or conditions of its use. RMIs are commonly part of DRM systems.

Similarly to TPMs, Bill C-60 does not imply that removing or altering an RMI constitutes copyright infringement, however provides copyright holders with remedies if an alteration facilitates or conceals the owner's copyright. These powers apply in the cases when an alteration to an RMI is knowingly carried out (or known to have been carried out) and the material is: (a) sold or rented; (b) distributed in a way damaging to the copyright owner; (c) as a result of trade, distributed or exposed to sale, rental, or public exhibit; (d) imported material into Canada; or (e) telecommunicated to the public.

Internet related protections[edit]

Network service providers[edit]

Bill C-60 prescribes that network service providers are only required to remove content pursuant to a court order. However, it does require network service providers to operate by a notice-and-notice system. If an allegation of copyright infringement is received, it must be forwarded to the subscriber by the network service provider. While failure to forward the notice may result in a maximum damage award of $5,000, there is no penalty for filing a wrongful notice. Upon receipt of an infringement notice from a claimant, the network service provider is required to retain subscriber identity records for six months. If the claimant escalates the notice into legal proceedings, one year of identity data must be retained. Failure to do so can result in statutory damages up to $10,000 for the network service provider.

Search engines[edit]

Referred to in Bill C-60 as "information location tool providers", search engines abide by a similar notice-and-notice system at that of network service providers. Provisions are made for one exception, the case where a copyright has been infringed through the caching mechanism of the search engine. While not liable for infringements made in this manner, search engines can be ordered to remove the infringing material from the cache, or be requested to stop caching infringing content. In this case, a notice-and-takedown system is established.

Peer-to-peer[edit]

While Bill C-60 does not alter the right to make private copies of copyrighted material, it introduces limitations on the use of these private copies. In particular, the bill would make selling, renting, trading, distributing, and communicating legally-made private copies of a copyrighted work an infringement of copyrights. This implies that if downloads via peer-to-peer are "for personal use, and not redistributed, there will be no infringement."[2]

Photography protections[edit]

Under Bill C-60, photographers commissioned to take photographs will retain ownership of the copyright of these photographs. This change comes as an attempt to generalize the treatment of authors under the act; in the current act, photographers are treated differently. This makes sense for corporate commissioning, where the photographer gains substantial bargaining power. However, for the average consumer, rights are removed, and control over the use, duplication, distribution, display, and derivations of such commissioned works is greatly compromised.

Important issues not addressed[edit]

  • Fair dealing in Canada still relies on an outdated categorization approach which falls short with respect to many newer technology-related issues. For example, reverse engineering and research, time-shifting, and media-shifting.
  • Canadians still lack access to works protected under Crown copyright; works that have been paid for through tax dollars.
  • A licensing system for internet radio is not addressed.

Differences from DMCA[edit]

While similar in many respects, Bill C-60 differs from the DMCA in several non-trivial respects. Firstly, Bill C-60 targets only the act of circumventing copy-protections for the explicit purpose of infringing copyright, while the DMCA targets the makers and distributors of devices using circumvention techniques and bans all forms of circumvention without regard to intention. The latter is seen to be more stifling for technological innovation. Secondly, in the area of the Internet, Bill C-60 imposes a system of notice-and-notice for network service providers. In contrast, the DMCA prescribes a system of notice-and-takedown in order for network service providers to be exempt from infringement liable.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.digital-copyright.ca/static/billc60/fromgov/questions_and_answers_e.pdf
  2. ^ Government Statement on Proposals for Copyright Reform
  3. ^ Petition for Users Rights | Digital Copyright Canada

External links[edit]