Hon. Christian Paradis:
Mr. Speaker, as you know, this is the second time that the government has introduced this bill. During the previous Parliament and for almost a year, the Copyright Modernization Act—then known as Bill C-32—was carefully examined and debated by parliamentarians and stakeholders.
We know how much time and effort members of Parliament, stakeholders and Canadians spent on this bill. The legislative committee created to examine the bill heard from more than 70 witnesses and received more than 150 submissions. All stakeholders were consulted, and the government received letters from across the country.
We fully expect that when the bill is once again referred to a House of Commons committee the work and testimony from the previous Parliament will be carefully considered and taken into account.
Over the course of the committee hearings on this bill in the last Parliament, there were two clear messages that emerged. The first message was that this bill balances the interests of the various stakeholders. The bill, a product of wide-ranging consultation and discussion, sets out a balanced approach to corporate reform in the digital age. While the government strongly believes that this bill delivers the best balance between the interests of consumers and the rights of the creative community, we are open to technical amendments that may improve the clarity and intent of certain provisions.
Second, we heard that Canada urgently needs to pass legislation to update the Copyright Act. By reintroducing this same bill, parliamentarians will be able to build on this previous work in order to enable the swift passage of these important legislative updates. Each year that Canada goes without modern copyright laws, the need for such modernization becomes more evident as technology evolves and new issues emerge.
The last time the act was changed, there were no MP3 players. Video stores were still full of VHS tapes. No one thought we would be able to take pictures with a cellphone and upload them onto computer screens around the world, or use a cellphone to download songs and movies.
The world has changed so much since then that the Copyright Act seems like a law for a different era. The time has come to modernize Canada's copyright laws and bring them in line with the demands and technologies of the digital age.
This bill must be passed in order to modernize Canada's copyright regime in accordance with the government's digital economy strategy.
Digital technology opens new markets and expands the reach of companies. It brings together people and ideas in a way that was still unimaginable only a few years ago. When individuals, companies and national economies create and adopt these new technologies, a number of important things are achieved. Productivity and innovation increase, and new products, processes and business models see the light of day.
The growth of the digital economy in Canada depends on a clear, predictable and fair copyright regime that supports creativity and innovation while protecting copyright holders.
The global economy remains fragile. This bill will help to protect existing jobs and create new ones. It will spark innovation and attract new investments in Canada. It will give creators and copyright holders the tools they need to protect their work and increase their business. The bill establishes clearer rules that will allow all Canadians to fully participate in the digital economy, both now and in the future.
One of the bill's main objectives is to balance the interests of all stakeholders in the copyright regime. Achieving this balance has become increasingly complex given the exponential growth of the Internet. Canadians can obtain protected works online, sometimes through revenue-generating platforms or services, but also through free services, both legitimate and illegitimate. Our capacity to use high-quality Web services to obtain, protect and create copyrighted works is essential to our economic success and our cultural presence in the world.
That is why, in 2009, our government turned to Canadians to get their ideas and advice on copyright reform in the digital age. Thousands of individual Canadians, companies and stakeholder organizations shared their opinions on the best way to adapt Canada's copyright regime to this new age. These consultations showed that Canadians were becoming increasingly aware of the importance of copyright in their daily lives and in our digital economy.
On the one hand, this bill seeks to reflect today's reality where the private, non-commercial use of copyrighted material is commonplace. The bill would authorize many of these uses and establish parameters for cases which, to date, were not well defined.
For example, Canadians could copy works legally obtained on their computers and mobile devices to enjoy them wherever they may be. They could store content in and retrieve it from the information cloud or use a network PVR service.
It will also be legal to integrate protected works into a work generated by a user for non-commercial purposes. That would include recording a home video of a child dancing to a song, or creating original mixes of songs and videos. This exception requires that the rights and interests of copyright holders be respected. There are many examples where copyright holders have benefited from exposure on the Internet owing to work done by users.
Finally, the bill updates the Copyright Act to reflect new technologies and uses by broadening the exceptions and creating new ones for educational and training institutions, technical procedures, the development of software, broadcasters and the disabled.
I would like to point out that great care was taken when drafting these provisions to reflect the needs and interests of copyright holders. The provisions do place limits and restrictions on the use of protected works.
For example, many of these exceptions do not apply to works protected by a technological protection measure or digital lock. Copyright holders told us that their digital and on-line business models depend on the robust protection provided by digital locks. Therefore, the bill strikes a good balance. It allows Canadians to make reasonable use of content while providing creators and businesses, whose work depends on this content, with the tools and certainty they need to launch new products and services.
While our government knows that the overwhelming majority of Canadians are law-abiding, we are concerned about the threat of major penalties that hang over Canadians who infringe copyright for non-commercial purposes. Currently, those who have been found to violate copyright can be found liable for damages from $500 to $20,000 per work.
If people illegally download five songs, for example, they could theoretically be liable for $100,000. In our view, such penalties are way out of line. As such, the bill proposes to reduce the penalties for non-commercial infringement. Under its provisions, the courts would have the flexibility to award total damages of between $100 and $5,000.
However, while the bill reduces penalties for non-commercial infringements, it still seriously punishes those who profit from copyright infringement. Penalties of $500 to $20,000 per infringement will still apply to piracy for commercial purposes. In addition, the bill proposes new tools to target those who find techniques to infringe online copyright and it sets out serious penalties for those who make money by creating and distributing devices and services designed to hack digital locks. It will be very difficult to benefit from piracy.
Hon. James Moore (Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, CPC):
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to be here with the Minister of Industry. I should also certainly give a great deal of thanks to the President of the Treasury Board for the work that he did on Bill C-32, which was last Parliament's version of Bill C-11, which we are debating today.
As the Minister of Industry said, the bill contains a number of provisions that Canadians, I think, will welcome and are welcoming. The bill contains provisions that will provide the ability of copyright owners to control the uses of their works to fight online piracy. This is about individual creators and creative industries, like the video game industry, the software industry, the movie industry, and others. It is having the tools to protect their art, their businesses and their jobs.
For example, the bill includes provisions to protect the technological protection measures and authorizes copyright holders to sue those who enable copyright infringement through such means as illegal peer-to-peer file sharing sites. Our government knows that the best way to deal with online copyright violation is to target those who enable this crime and profit from it.
More specifically, Bill C-11 introduces a new definition of civil liability for those who knowingly enable online copyright violation. Online piracy takes revenues away from creators and reduces the incentive to create. This measure sends a clear message that Canada is prohibiting piracy sites and giving copyright holders the tools to protect their activities. What is more, the bill also introduces new provisions to stop those who develop and sell tools and services for getting around technological protection measures.
Canada is among the first jurisdictions in the world, if not the first, to provide its copyright legislation with this very important tool to fight online piracy. At the same time, we are taking steps to ensure that Canadians are aware that they may be infringing copyright. Canadian Internet service providers have developed a unique model in which they tell subscribers when a rights holder notifies them that a subscriber has infringed on copyright material. This is known as notice and notice. The bill formalizes this practice into law. I would just point out here that this is one of the key elements that consumers have come to us and said they want as part of the bill.
We disagree with the American approach with regard to copyright. We have a notice and notice regime in our legislation, not a notice and take down regime as they have in the United States, for very good reason. These provisions are also on top of a wide array of legal protections already provided for in the Copyright Act that rights holders can use to assert their rights.
Educators, students, artists, companies, consumers, families, copyright holders and Canadians in general use technology in a number of different ways, and this bill simply recognizes that reality. It gives creators and copyright holders the necessary tools to protect their works, their investments, and to develop their business through innovative business models. It establishes clearer rules that will allow Canadians to fully participate in the digital economy today and in the future. More specifically, this bill gives creators and copyright holders the tools they absolutely need.
With this legislation Canadians will also be able to create new works incorporating existing publishing or publicly available works, as long as it is done for non-commercial purposes, as my colleague has said. The new user generated content cannot be a substitute for the original work or have the substantial negative impacts on the markets of the original material or on a creator's reputation.
Canadians with perceptual disabilities will be permitted to adapt legally acquired material to a format that they can easily use. Also, Canadian photographers will benefit from the same authorship rights as creators. Currently, photographers are not considered authors of commissioned works. This legislation changes that.
Consumers and users of content will also see their interests reflected in the bill. Canadians will be allowed to record television, radio and Internet programs to enjoy at their time and choosing with no restrictions as to the device or technology chosen or the time of day.
Under certain conditions, Canadians will also be able to copy for their personal use legally acquired works such as music, movies or other works, on the device or component of their choice. They will be able to make backup copies in the format and on the device or component of their choice.
I would like to close my speech by ensuring the House understands that this was, from the very beginning of the process that we initiated just prior to the summer of 2009, a good faith effort on the part of our government to get copyright legislation done effectively.
The member for Timmins—James Bay was engaged in debate on Bill C-61 when we tabled that legislation. Bill C-61, as it turned out, was not the balance that Canadians were looking for. We think this legislation achieves the balance that Canadians have come to expect. We tabled Bill C-61, there was the fall campaign, and then we came back.
We re-engaged Canadians from the beginning. We went back to square one. We did unprecedented consultation on this legislation. We heard from thousands of Canadians in the process. We went across the country to town halls and we did open, online consultation. We arrived at Bill C-32.
As a result of the participation of thousands of Canadians in that process, we thought we would respect that process--
Mr. Marc Garneau: And 141 in committee and you haven't changed a thing.
Hon. James Moore: Mr. Speaker, the member over there, who barely won his seat and who thinks he is an authority on everything, is chirping at me.
We tabled Bill C-32 after unprecedented consultation and we respected the process, and we retabled this legislation. As the member said, we had 141 witnesses before the committee and it would be disrespectful to those witnesses if we did not allow the process to continue. The reason we tabled this legislation is to continue the process, to show respect to those members of the committee, and to all members who have been involved in this process.
Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP):
Madam Speaker, I am very honoured to rise on behalf of the New Democratic Party today representing the people of the great region of Timmins—James Bay. It is my honour every day to serve them, respect their issues as constituents and bring their concerns into this venerable House of debate and legislation.
Copyright is a crucial issue for Canadians. We need to move forward with a regime of copyright reform that will bring Canada into the 21st century.
The word “copyright”, the right to make a copy, was created out of English common law. I like the alternate emphasis in French law, which is “le droit d'auteur”, the right of the author. These are both very similar perspectives, but there is a different balance in the equilibrium of it. It respects an interesting balance of how we develop culture within Canada in terms of the right to make a copy. Who has the right to make a copy and profit from it? That is a “copy right” that goes back to the book wars of the 1700s and 1800s in England as to who actually could control a work and the right of authors to be remunerated for their work and to have some say as to how their work is exploited.
This is a debate that went on long before the digital age and the Internet. The balance of the right to make a copy is not a property right. It has been argued over the years, and copyright lobbyists today will talk about their property and their right to protect their property. They will say they want to put a lock on the door to keep people from going in or to make them pay to go in, and that it is their property.
However, it is not a piece of property. Creativity is not a piece of personal property. It has been defined in Parliament and the courts.
I refer back to the 1841 debates where Lord Macaulay, who was a writer himself who had been ripped off and plagiarized many times over the years, fought within the English Parliament to separate the idea that it was personal property that copyright was created to protect. Macaulay at that time imitated much of the modern debate. He even talked about the pirates of that generation, the “knaves who take the bread out of the mouths of deserving men”, the people who would unfairly infringe on the copyright of the author and not pay for it as they should.
At the same time, he also called copyright an evil. It is interesting that he said that. He called it a necessary evil. He said that copyright should only exist for a period to ensure the author was paid, but it could not be used to interfere with the larger development of society. He said that the creation of ideas is not something that can be compartmentalized: that when a work is created, it is brought into a larger frame. Parliamentarians around the world have been trying to find the balance between people's right of access to new ideas and the right of remuneration of the creator. Those are the two fundamental balances, and they are the balanced principles that the New Democratic Party has articulated throughout these debates for the last number of years. The two fundamental principles in the digital age are the same as they were back in the 1800s in the book wars: ease of access and the right to remuneration.
We talk about le droit d'auteur and copyright, but this bill does not deal with either of those rights. It is about corporate right, which is different from copyright. The fundamental problems with this bill are the provisions on digital locks, which I will get to in a moment, and the direct attack on the collective licensing regime that has existed for artists in Canada for the last number of decades. The right of artists to have remuneration for their copies is under direct attack in point after point in this bill. I will go through the areas wherein the right of artists to be paid is being taken away and replaced by a false right, which is the right to lock down content.
The Conservatives are good about locks. They understand prisons and locks. We heard the minister say the lock will restore the market. I spent many years in the music industry and I never met an artist could feed his or her family on a lock. They feed their families on the right they have as artists to be remunerated through their mechanical royalties, television rights and book rights, and they fight very hard for mechanical royalties. It is a small amount of return for their efforts, but that return is crucial, so when the government comes along and would strike out, as it does in this bill, the mechanical royalty rights that have been guaranteed under the Copyright Board of Canada, it is depriving artists of the millions of dollars that actually make it possible to carry on the works.
There is no balance there, and this is what we need to restore a good copyright regime in Canada: a balance of the rights of artists and the rights of access.
The New Democratic Party has spoken out time after time in this House on the need for a long-term digital strategy so that Canadians can fully participate as digital citizens in a digital public commons. A public commons is a place where people, not just from Canada but from around the world, can exchange ideas and art.
It is certainly fraught with many problems. We have seen that with downloading and with piracy, but it is essential for cultural development in the 21st century that Canada have a long-term digital strategy. We in the New Democratic Party see the need to codify net neutrality so that the large telecom giants and BDUs are not deciding for us what kind of content we can access.
We see establishing a national benchmark for broadband access, including in this latest spectrum auction. What provisions are there to ensure that the regions of rural Quebec and northern Alberta are given the same chance to develop in a digital economy as downtown Montreal or Vancouver? A broadband strategy that looks at the totality of our country is essential. This is the new national dream that we need to be pushing. We have heard dead silence over on the government benches in terms of a digital strategy for broadband, but for the New Democratic Party it is essential. We want to see within the programs of the Canadian government support for the enhancement of digital cultural products, because more products are moving away from the old models. Those old models worked well for us in the 1970s, but this is 2011, and we need to move toward that.
The other crucial element, which we have asked for again and again, is a copyright reform that will address the needs of Canadian consumers, artists and students in a digital realm.
Does this bill do that? No. In its present form, it does not.
What we need to do is to restore the balance. As it stands now, we cannot support this bill, but we are willing to work with the Conservative government to get this bill to committee. If we can make the vital technical changes to ensure that balance, then we are more than willing to bring our efforts as a party and to work with the government to ensure that this bill restores the balance.
I will grant that the government made efforts in Bill C-61, which was a dog's breakfast. Bill C-61 died as soon as it was born because it was the ugliest child of the backroom lobbyists, and they could never sell that publicly. Bill C-32 shows that it is obvious the Conservatives heard there were problems with Bill C-61, but we are not there yet. We have to see whether or not the government is willing to move forward.
I would like to talk about some of the major problems with this bill. There are three areas that are fundamentally flawed: the issue of the attack on collective licensing and the removal of artists' rights to be remunerated for their work, the issue of education, and the issue of digital locks.
I asked my hon. colleague, the heritage minister, about the fundamental problem with the education provisions, which is if students in Fort Albany on the James Bay coast want to take a college course, they would be obliged to burn their class notes after 30 days. As well, college professors who were teaching long-distance education courses to students in northern Canada would have to destroy all their class notes after 30 days because that is an infringement on copyright.
That requirement would mean the creation of a modern book-burning regime. As well, we would see the creation of a two-tier set of rights. There is one set of rights in the analog and paper world that would allow students going to school in Toronto to keep their class notes. Those class notes are important, because year after year students keep them to build a body of work towards getting their degree. However, students on a northern reserve trying to get long-distance learning do not have that same set of rights. They have a lesser set of rights.
I was absolutely shocked to hear from my hon. colleague, the heritage minister, where this crazy idea of modern book-burning had come from, this idea that after 30 days students would not have the right to their own class notes. He said it had come from the ministers of education.
I have met with the ministers of education many times, as well as people throughout the education sector, and I have never heard anyone say that the best idea for the digital development of Canadians is to make kids or adults going back to school burn their notes after 30 days.
That provision is unacceptable. It is backward thinking and it is needless. It is not protecting any business model, but it would have a major detrimental effect, so in terms of education, that provision has to go.
In terms of the digital locks, there is an important right of creators to protect their work. We can think of the amazing work of the gaming industry in Canada, particularly in Montreal, and the millions of dollars that have been invested in creating the games that people all over the world play. We want to make sure those products are not ripped off in their entirety and that business model made to disappear, so there is a provision for digital locks to protect those works.
However, the digital lock cannot override the rights that Parliament guarantees.
This legislation is going to create certain rights. An example is the right to extract the work for satire, parody, or political commentary. We all support that right, yet if there is a digital lock, we would not have that right. We have the right to access a work and move it into a new format; we are told we can do that, but if there is a digital lock on it, we cannot.
My colleague, the heritage minister, said that if we do not like the lock, then we do not have to buy the product. That is kind of a bullish way of talking. I wonder if this guy has lived in the digital world at all. How many times do people buy a product in a store? They will get it online, so if we make restrictive provisions with digital locks, people will just bypass them. That is problematic.
It is important that Canadians believe in the copyright regime, because the copyright regime is fundamental to creating a strong economy and a strong creative community. However, I would say there is not a six-year-old kid in this country who does not know how to break a digital lock, and people would break them with impunity. Should they be criminalized for that? I do not think so.
We need to look at why Canada is putting restrictive digital lock provisions in place. Under the U.S. DMCA, which is the most backward-looking copyright legislation on the planet, even the Americans have recognized the right to extract certain works.
I will give an example to show just how boneheaded the digital lock provisions are. If a journalist on the evening news wanted to show an excerpt from a movie that was being discussed or debated, the journalist would not be able to show that excerpt because he or she would have to break the digital lock to do it. The journalist would have to show a picture of the screen. Can anyone explain to me how having a shot of the screen somehow protects the copyright and the artist when a journalist is trying to extract it for a program?
It is the same with the documentary film producers. The documentary film community is very concerned about the digital lock provisions, because they would impede their ability to extract, which is their legal right under the bill. They have all those legal rights, but if a digital lock is placed on it, they would no longer have those rights.
The government is saying that the legislation of Canada should allow U.S. multinational corporate interests to decide what rights we have. If they decide we have no rights, then we have no rights. It does not matter what the bill says or what the House of Commons says; the government is saying that it would hand over all those rights to corporate interests. That is fundamentally wrong, and it is flawed.
It is also flawed in terms of our obligations under the WIPO treaties. We are signatories to international conventions about intellectual property and we can look at how other countries have dealt with the digital lock provisions. In particular, as I said earlier, sections 10 and 11 of the WIPO copyright treaty states clearly that limitations to technological protection measures may be supported as long as they “do not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work”. That is within the WIPO treaty.
I remember that my Conservative colleagues used to always say that they had to put the digital lock provisions on to be WIPO compliant. However, WIPO itself is saying that countries could decide what those exemptions and limitations are, the limitations being the technological protection measures and the exemptions being the rights that consumers and students should be able to employ.
All those rights are erased under this, so it actually puts us at a disadvantage in comparison to many of our European competitors, which have much more nuanced provisions when it comes to the digital lock provisions.
As it stands now, we have asked a fairly straightforward question on whether the government would be willing to work with us to amend the digital lock provisions to ensure that the normal rights that Canadians should legally be able to access would not be overridden by corporate rights. It has said no. Unless the digital lock provisions change, the New Democratic Party will not support the bill because it is not balanced.
We need to change the education provisions. We need to change the digital lock provisions. We also need to change the issue that the bill, time and time again, attacks the existing collective royalty rights of Canadian artists and that will not build the kind of cultural regime that we need in our country.
We have come through some of the most bizarre copyright wars of recent memory. In the United States we have seen the $30,000 to $50,000-plus lawsuits against kids. The large Sony, Warner, EMI companies are going after kids who download Hannah Montana songs, hitting them up with million dollar lawsuits. We have seen what is called the John Doe mass lawsuits, extending across the United States and moving into Canada, if individuals downloaded the movie Hurt Locker. Mass emails are being sent, suing people based on their IP addresses.
That model of attacking consumers is probably the most dead-end business model on the planet. I was so pleased to hear Canadian artists, all the great Canadian groups that came together under the Creative Music Coalition, say that they did not sue their fans, that their fans were what made them survive. The American model of suing kids, grandmothers and even dead people for copyright infringement is a dead-end model.
We have heard all this talk about piracy and the pirate bays. It is interesting that the very first pirate bay was in Los Angeles. We think Hollywood is the natural place to make movies, but it is not. Why, in God's name, when the vast majority of the U.S. population lives on the eastern seaboard, would filmmakers go to the dessert outside Hollywood to make films? It was because they were escaping the copyright rules of the day. They could not make movies in the eastern United States because Edison controlled the copyright on the camera. However, there was not the same copyright rules in California, so Hollywood was the original pirate bay.
It went on through the years when the VHS came out. Jack Valenti, the defender of the Hollywood industry, called the VHS the Boston strangler of movies and begged Congress to shut it down, to make it illegal because VHS was a threat.
The big pirate company at that time was Sony, which is suing people all over the planet for corporate infringement now, because it had created the VHS player with the record button.
At that time there was a big corporate fight and everybody said that the VHS would destroy Hollywood. However, as you know, Madam Speaker, and you are very young but you were probably right in your prime when the VHS came out, people started to rent movies, something they would never have thought about before because they would go to the theatre. Now they were able to rent movies, so this pirate activity, which Hollywood tried to shut down, became such a lucrative new business that it did not have to bother releasing movies to theatres. It could just release it to VHS and eventually on to DVD.
Mr. Scott Andrews: The Beta player.
Mr. Charlie Angus: Yes, the Beta player and how it was shut down. I ask the hon. member not to intervene in this until we talk about the Beta player.
Let us look at the recording business. In 1906 the musicians in the United States tried to make the roller piano illegal. They thought the roller piano would make it irrelevant to hire musicians so they said that mechanical music was a threat to musicians. Who did not side with them? The American Music Publishers Association did not support the musicians. It figured the more roller pianos sold, the more copyright it would make on the actual sheet music. Therefore, the roller piano was made legal. In the 1920s the recording industry tried to shut down radio because radio was not paying royalties. In each area along the way the problem was the need to find a monetization stream.
The fight in the digital age is no different than it was in 1928 when the royalties of artists dropped over 80% in the recording business because radio was the Napster of the day. It found a monetization stream. We are asking the government to work with us on a monetization stream for artists and unless we find that, we will be at the copyright wars for decades to come.
Hon. Geoff Regan (Halifax West, Lib.):
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased and honoured to stand today in this debate on Bill C-11 on behalf of the Liberal Party and on behalf of my constituents in the great riding of Halifax West.
It is disappointing that the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages do not appear to be interested in listening to this debate.
What we see in Bill C-11 is, as Yogi Berra said, “This is like déjà vu all over again”. In fact, this reminds of another Yogi Berraism. When he was asked about going to Coney Island, he said, “Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded”.
This is the same kind of logic that we find in the government's approach to this bill. The new copyright bill, Bill C-11, is a carbon copy of the old copyright bill, Bill C-32. It has the same ideologically driven principles and it has the same flaws and omissions. It has the same, as my hon. colleague from Timmins—James Bay was just saying, American-influenced digital lock provisions.
However, the Liberals recognize that there is a need to modernize the Copyright Act. We also recognize the need to protect artists, creators, educators and consumers. We recognize the need for balanced legislation. We think it is important to have copyright rules that are fair and balanced.
Instead of that, today we have before us a recycled bill that includes some of the most restrictive digital lock provisions in the world. This is, in fact, an approach that Michael Geist, who is the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, correctly points out is all about satisfying U.S. interests.
I was pleased to see this morning that he actually wrote on his blog today. He states:
|| The Liberal position is consistent with Bill C-60, their 2005 copyright bill that linked the digital lock rules to actual copyright infringement and did not establish a ban on the tools that can be used to circumvent digital locks.
Clearly, this renowned expert on copyright, the Internet and e-commerce is saying that our approach is one that makes sense and is consistent.
In view of those concerns, the Liberal Party will not support Bill C-11. The digital lock provisions in this bill are far too strict and they override virtually every other right that is in the legislation.
These provisions, for example, make it illegal for a mom to move a movie from her DVD to her iPad or Playbook so that her kids can watch it during a long car trip.
These provisions will make it illegal for Canadians to transfer a movie from a DVD to their iPad or PlayBook so that their kids can watch it during a long car trip, because bypassing the DVD protection measures would lead to a $5,000 lawsuit. That is appalling.
I will take the case of a visually impaired student. If that student needs to shift the format of a digital text so he can read it but finds protection measures on the source material, he would not be able to read it unless he breaks the law. How can that possibly be considered a fair and balanced approach? In fact, it is the opposite of fair and balanced.
I know many of my colleagues across the way do not believe their tough on crime agenda means going after busy moms or students with disabilities, but they should actually consider the implications of this bill because that is exactly what they are doing with this bill.
This morning, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages actually claimed that he and the government have the support of the Council of Ministers of Education Canada for the this bill. However, this is what the council actually said, “Much like many other education groups, provincial ministers agree that the digital lock provisions are too restrictive”.
The minister seems to interpret that as support, which is a strange interpretation in my view.
The Liberals are strongly opposed to a government that seeks to make it illegal for ordinary Canadians to exercise their rights to view material they have legally purchased in the format they choose. This is about whether people can change something. If people have a CD they have paid for and they want to transfer the music from their CD to their iPod or, perhaps, to their Blackberry, they want the ability to do that. What the government is saying is that they can do that. It wants Canadians to believe they can do that. However, the government is also saying that it is giving us that right but that it is taking it away because it has put a digital lock on it and we cannot. It is a contradictory position.
Other countries have managed to fulfill their international WIPO treaty obligations without having to implement such strict digital lock provisions. So why would Canada go well beyond what is expected of it? The answer is clear. This bill was drafted for the purpose of meeting the demands of the United States instead of meeting the needs of Canadians and standing up for their interests.
Diplomatic cables, recently released through WikiLeaks, have revealed that much of the bill was drafted specifically to meet American expectations in terms of the digital lock provisions. I find that quite shocking and disturbing. It is not about what is in the interests of Canadians but what is in the interest of some U.S. interests. The Conservatives even offered to provide the United States government with an advance copy of the bill before the Parliament of Canada was allowed to read it.
Hon. Judy Sgro: Shame.
Hon. Geoff Regan: That is shameful. It is hard to imagine that could happen. Surely, the Conservatives would have more respect for Parliament and for the House of Commons than to offer it to a foreign government before tabling it here and making it available for members and for Canadians to examine.
Worse than that, the cables revealed that the Conservatives actually asked the United States to place Canada on the United States trade representatives' piracy watch list. They wanted to scare Canadians into supporting this copyright bill. Talk about a regressive, recidivist, bizarre way to approach this. Ten days after the Conservatives made the request, the U.S. was only too happy to oblige them. Naturally. It is no surprise that they went along fully.
The irony of all this, of course, is that the U.S. is now loosening up its own provisions on digital locks. During the last review of the American circumvention rules, it significantly loosened them up. While it is now legal in the U.S. to circumvent a protection measure to create a mash-up for YouTube, in Canada it is going to be illegal, thanks to the government. Can anyone Imagine that? The Conservatives talk about this being balanced, fair and a modern copyright law. This is regressive.
While the Bush White House had a direct line into the Prime Minister's Office, the opinions and advice of Canadian stakeholders, Canadian citizens and Canadian experts fell on deaf ears.
During the 40th Parliament, a special legislative committee on the copyright bill heard from 142 witnesses and it received 167 submissions. That is a lot of input. As members of Parliament, we also received comments from thousands of Canadians. In fact, yesterday alone, my office received nearly 3,000 emails on this one subject. Canadians are concerned about this and have made lots of comments but the government is not listening.
Much of what the committee heard last winter and spring made a lot of sense. Instead of listening, instead of saying that they heard what the witnesses were saying and that they would make some changes, the Conservatives chose to table the exact same bill with the identical wording. There was not a comma change, a period change or a letter moved in the bill except for perhaps the numbering now because it is a new Parliament.
The heritage minister has said publicly that he will not accept any changes. Today, he seems to be singing a bit of a different tune but we will have to wait and see if that is true. His handlers in the Prime Minister's Office have let it be known that they do not even want full hearings on the bill. They do not want members of the House, many of whom are new to the House, to hear from different witnesses and to have the opportunity for a full debate on the bill. I hope not, but perhaps we can expect to see today what we have seen in the last few weeks from the government on every major bill so far, and that is it using closure to move it quickly forward and to ram it through the House. Because of this heavy-handed approach, the undue American influence and the government's unyielding and misguided stance on digital locks, the Liberals have no choice, in our view, but to vote against Bill C-11.
A central concern heard at previous committee hearings was how the expansion of fair dealing into areas such as education would affect artists and creators. Many authors explained repeatedly that the changes in the bill would significantly affect their business models, and that is an important concern for us. However, in Bill C-11 we see no attempt to improve the definitions of fair dealing or provide any kind of certainty to these authors.
Finally, the Liberal Party continues to believe that artists and creators deserve transitional funding in order to cope with the effects this bill would have on their revenue streams. For instance, by no longer allowing creators to charge for ephemeral recordings, artists will lose a revenue stream of roughly $8 million a year. We believe the government should provide some transitional assistance to help artists adjust to the new reality. That is why we proposed in the last election a fund to compensate artists.
Many members will be aware that in the past there was a levy on blank cassettes and CDs. At one point that levy was producing revenue of $27.7 million for Canadian artists, and that was a very important revenue stream for them. Unfortunately, over time things change and people are not using as many cassettes or that many blank CDs and, therefore, the revenue has gone down to about $8.8 million a year. That is a dramatic drop for the artists who were relying on that. It seems to me that the government ought to be recognizing this and trying to find a way to respond to it, but it does not seem interested. It does not seem to have any concern for the impact this is having and we should be concerned.
As a result of the many problems in the bill, particularly the fact that the government has demonstrated that, after hearing 142 witnesses, reading 163 submissions and hearing from thousands of Canadians commenting on it online, in emails and so forth, it does not feel the need for any changes whatsoever, I want to bring forward the following amendment. I move:
|| That the motion be amended by deleting all of the words after the word “That” and submitting the following:
||“this House declines to give second reading to Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, because it fails to:
||(a) uphold the rights of consumers to choose how to enjoy the content that they purchase through overly-restrictive digital lock provisions;
||(b) include a clear and strict test for “fair dealing” for education purposes; and
||(c) provide any transitional funding to help artists adapt to the loss of revenue streams that the Bill would cause.
Mr. Pierre Dionne Labelle (Rivière-du-Nord, NDP):
Madam Speaker, here we have another bill to modernize copyright, the same bill that was introduced by the industry minister on June 2, 2010. The short title of the bill is the Copyright Modernization Act, but I do not think this is the right title; it should have been called the digital lock act or the padlock act, based on what happened in the past.
It was about time that the government introduced, in legislation, the principles contained in the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, which Canada signed on December 22, 1997. Unfortunately, the Conservative government used this as an opportunity to include several provisions that undermine the foundation of copyright. The Copyright Act is the legal foundation that ensures that creations can be reproduced, presented and communicated to the public while guaranteeing proper compensation for their creators.
The people most overlooked by this digital lock legislation—which is being passed off as copyright legislation—are the creators. To weaken copyright by creating a series of exceptions that allow people to use creations without authorization or any financial compensation is tantamount to preventing a group of workers from earning a living from their trade. I will talk later about the financial repercussions of this bill's provisions on creators.
This bill also does away with collectives, a tool that artists created for themselves to facilitate access to their creations in full compliance with their rights. It also jeopardizes cultural industries by cutting off their supply of creations and by preventing them from developing markets that meet the needs of consumers while protecting their investments.
The bill contains over 40 new exceptions, most of which mean no compensation for creators, and this flies in the face of a fundamental principle, specifically, that as soon as a creation is used, there is no reason the creator should not be paid. It is simple; it is clear. That is the basis of copyright.
A royalty is not a tax. Since the start of this debate, the Conservatives have been trying to make the link between royalties and taxes. They are not the same thing. Every industry, to varying degrees, benefits from government assistance through investment, research and development tax credits, and also direct subsidies. Just look at the aerospace, agri-food and information technology industries, to name a few.
Cultural industries are no different. All these industries fiercely protect their intellectual property under the Patent Act, the Industrial Design Act, the Copyright Act or any other intellectual property protection legislation.
What ends up happening? Everyone, as taxpayers or consumers, pays for using the creations of these companies, whether we are talking about software, drugs or iPods, since royalties are included in the price of the product or the price of the software licence, for example.
What is wrong with paying royalties for using music, images, videos and books? The creators of that material are entitled to compensation, just as teachers are entitled to their salary and the mason who repairs the school wall is entitled to his pay.
It is not a tax; it is a royalty we pay to the copyright holder, as we do for many creators in a number of different fields. With all the new technology at our disposal, we have to stop thinking of ourselves simply as consumers of the creation of others. If we write a short story or a novel, compose a song or invent something, we would obviously like to receive fair payment for our creation, our work.
Creators are inventors. They have patents on their creations and are entitled to their fair share. That is why we have to “think different”, in the words of the famous Apple slogan. Let us hope this slogan inspires us to follow through.
I will quickly go over the provisions of this bill and the various exceptions discussed—there are about 40—which will deprive creators, artists, composers, musicians and photographers of the royalties to which they are entitled. I should also mention writers.
What is the significance of broadening the concept of fair dealing for the purpose of education, parody or satire? This will obviously go before the courts. They will have to define the scope of this section. In the meantime, uncertainty will persist and users, especially teachers, as well as copyright holders, will wonder about permitted uses. I already said in another presentation that, with the arrival of the majority Conservative government, with the building of new prisons, these Conservatives will invent new crimes to fill their prisons. There are several new crimes in this bill. We did not know they were crimes, but now we have punishments. Things we do on a daily basis will be criminalized and punished.
This provision affects monies collected by the Société québécoise de gestion collective des droits de reproduction—Copibec; the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada; and the Quebec Collective Society for the Rights of Makers of Sound and Video Recordings. All these organizations appeared before the committee, but the government did not use anything from their presentations. Instead, the government decided to borrow from provisions implemented in the United States. The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, or SOCAN, and the Société québécoise des auteurs dramatiques are also opposed to this provision, as are the Producers' Audiovisual Collective of Canada, Audio Ciné Films and Criterion Pictures when it comes to the reproduction of literary, artistic, dramatic, musical and audiovisual works, the public performance of musical and audiovisual works, and the presentation of dramatic works in educational institutions.
What about lost royalties in Quebec because of the broadening of the concept of fair dealing? In fact, what is fair dealing? The law does not specify what is meant by fair dealing. This will result in the loss of $11 million annually for creators and copyright owners. Every year schools, CEGEPs and universities make 175 million copies of excerpts from protected works.
Let us remember that fair dealing is a loose concept that will put an end to the right to grant or deny authorization to use a work and the right to receive remuneration for the use of a work, thus affecting the rights of 23,000 authors and 1,000 publishers in Quebec.
The Conservatives are opening Pandora's box. The education sector is very large. It does not make any sense. If people can photocopy books for educational purposes without providing compensation, no one will want to write books. Furthermore, since the term “education” is not defined in the bill, this new exception could apply to any sort of educational activity and not just to activities carried out within the school system.
Another exception is reproduction for private purposes. An individual may reproduce a legally obtained work on any medium or device and provide access for private purposes. The government could have chosen, as the artists and performers have requested, to expand the existing compensation system for transferring a sound recording to blank media such as cassettes, but it chose to make it free.
We know that, right now, when we make a copy of a work on a disk, royalties are paid to the creators—29¢ on each CD, for example. Obviously, with the growth in virtual storage methods, the revenue from royalties has disappeared like snow on a warm day, dropping from $27 million to $8 million in a few years. There is nothing in this bill to compensate for these losses.
Creators are dismayed to see, in a copyright bill, that the only thing the government is concerned about recognizing is not copyright, but digital locks. The number of blank cassettes and DVDs sold is declining steadily, the amounts redistributed to creators are falling, and creators’ associations are hoping that a similar royalty will be applied to the purchase of devices like personal stereos, as was said in committee, based on the size of the hard drive or flash memory. The existing private copying regime does not affect those devices, however; only the recording media. And fewer and fewer media are being used.
The use of photographs is another exception that has been criticized by photographic artists. An individual may use for private or non-commercial purposes, or permit the use of for those purposes, a photograph or portrait that was commissioned by the individual for personal purposes and made for valuable consideration, unless the individual and the owner of the copyright in the photograph or portrait have agreed otherwise.
On the question of later viewing, an individual may reproduce a work that is being broadcast for the purpose of listening to or viewing it later. Only one copy may be made and the individual may not keep the recording any longer than is reasonably necessary in order to listen to or view it later.
To summarize, I make a copy of a recorded program that I have paid for in order to watch it later, but I would not be entitled to retain the copy any longer than is necessary for the later use. How can that be verified, and who is going to do it? Who is going to make sure that I do not keep the copy indefinitely or I do not lend it to my neighbours? If I lend it to my neighbour, is that going to be a crime liable to a $5,000 fine? If I look at the criminal provisions in the bill, that might well be the case. I would become a criminal if I lent a program to one of my friends. I think the penalty applied to this type of conduct is excessive in the circumstances.
With respect to backup copies, the owner of a work will be able to make backup copies and use them to replace an original work rendered unusable. Devices that can no longer be used will therefore have to be repurchased, but not the content.
There are some odd things in this bill. It is difficult to make head or tail of it.
With respect to communication of a work by telecommunication, educational institutions will be able to communicate lessons containing copyrighted works to students by telecommunication. The institution will have to take measures "that can reasonably be expected" to limit the distribution of the work and will also have to destroy the copy within 30 days of the date on which the students receive their final evaluations. However, no penalties are proposed if the institution fails to take the necessary measures.
This provision suffers from a somewhat split personality. It is sending the message that these works must be destroyed but there is no arrangement for verifying this. In any event, if it is not destroyed, that is no penalty. I wonder what we are talking about. I would really like to know what firm of lobbyists went to see the Conservative government and asked it to include this kind of provision in the bill. I do not understand.
For extension of the photocopy licence, institutions that have been issued a photocopying licence by Copibec will be able to make digital copies and communicate them to students by telecommunication. The photocopying licence’s provisions will apply to that type of use, and the royalties will be calculated the same way. How will fair dealing for educational purposes be reconciled with this exception?
Institutions in possession of a photocopying or reprographic licence will also be able to make digital reproductions and transmit them by telecommunication. Paid-for photocopies could thus be transmitted by way of digital reproduction, however they get somewhat lost in the maze that is the digital world.
Teaching institutions will be able to access works available on the Internet for educational purposes. We all do this: we use Google, we consult Wikipedia, etc. This exception would not apply to works protected by a technical measure—a lock—or to works displaying not simply the copyright symbol but also a clearly visible warning prohibiting their use. Thus, the principle whereby works are protected as soon as they exist in some medium, without the need for any other formality is reversed, and rights holders who do not wish to provide free access to their works would be forced to lock them or attach a warning. This fails to take into account the millions of works already available free of charge for educational purposes on the Internet under the current licensing system.
As far as reproduction for visual presentations and examinations is concerned, the current legislation permits the reproduction of a work by hand and its presentation by means of an overhead projector. The bill will authorize the reproduction and visual presentation of a work on all platforms irrespective of the type of technology, be it a USB key, an interactive whiteboard, or a computer screen. This exception will not apply if the work is available on the Canadian market in the medium in question. The legislator has removed the possibility of obtaining a licence from a collective society in order to stop the use of this exception. This amounts to an immediate loss of half a million dollars to the copyright holders represented by Copibec.
This is another example of a provision in this bill that does not assist authors but rather deprives them of up to $500,000 in income.
We spoke earlier of provisions in the bill that apply to libraries, museums and archives. Let us see how this applies in the case of loans to institutions. Libraries, museums and archives designated as such under the act will henceforth be able to transmit digitally formatted articles from periodicals to users for private study and research purposes. These institutions must take steps to prevent the user from printing more than one copy of the article or from transmitting it to a third party.
Librarians who forward articles to users must take steps to ensure that these users are not able to transmit this information to a third party. As I cast my mind to my municipal library in St-Hippolyte, I wonder who will have to handle the directives this legislation entails. How will that person proceed?
In the culture sector, the general feeling about Bill C-11 is that, in its current form, it undermines the principles at the heart of copyright, principles that have historically provided an environment that is favourable to creators, producers, distributors and consumers of cultural property. This bill will compromise Canada's ability to compete in a global digital economy and will undermine the economic future of those creating Canadian content. Artists indicate that numerous clauses in Bill C-11 demonstrate a lack of understanding of the creative industry's structures within an evolving technological environment. Parliamentarians have a responsibility to amend the bill and keep the positive measures. In order to develop an innovative knowledge economy, Canada needs to staunchly defend intellectual property.
If Bill C-11 is passed in its current form, there will be serious financial consequences for artists, for Canada's cultural industries, with losses estimated at $126 million per year.
We should be removing all of the clauses that go against the current law and eliminate the revenue currently being generated. This includes the provisions that legalize certain kinds of copying, without providing any compensation. We must allow the educational use of copyrighted material without compensation.
It seems as though all of the attempts at copyright reform in Canada have had very little to do with creating a system that balances the rights of creators with those of the general public. That is what the NDP wants. We do not want to further criminalize the actions of individuals. We want this bill to clearly set out copyright guidelines for creators, to help them enter into a growing, evolving universe.
Mr. Jamie Nicholls (Vaudreuil—Soulanges, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, no one can deny that Steve Jobs was an innovative thinker in the world of business. He gave innovation and business sophistication a face. He became an icon of the new economy. We have lost him but the innovations of his company, namely the universal digital machine, the personal computer, which members on both sides of the House depend upon for their daily work, remains with us. I doubt any member would argue that deep changes occurred in our society through the introduction of the personal computer in our daily lives.
My first introduction to computing was through my dad. He worked for a company called Control Data as a truck driver and he delivered the cardboard cards that kept the information on the federal government's computers in Ottawa. I used to draw on the backs of the cards that were thrown away, so maybe it was one of the first mash-ups or culture jamming that I did.
Then my dad brought home a tape recorder. We recorded our own stories on it and taped over bits that we did not like. It provided hours of humour listening to our own squeaky voices. Then we realized that maybe we could record stuff we heard on the radio and we listened to songs instead of waiting for them to come on the radio. We could sing to those songs and record at the same time. Our minds were thinking of all the possibilities that we could do with the technology that was put before us.
Around the same time that we were doing these goofy things, Mr. Jobs brought his Apple computers to the world. There was also at this time a lawsuit going on that my hon. colleague mentioned and it was the Betamax case.
We were not early adopters in my family so we did not have a VCR when it first came out. Apparently when the Betamax came out in 1976, the television industry was up in arms. When the VCR came out there were no video stores, no rentals, nothing, so, all we could really do with a VCR was record television shows. In effect it became the first time shifting device. Instead of sitting down when broadcasters dictated, we could choose our own time to watch things; that is, if we could program the device, which many people had difficulty doing, so it became the task of members of my generation to do it because our elders could not figure out how to do it.
Television broadcasters did not like this additional consumer control because they did not want consumers to have control. Their greatest fear was the loss of revenue due to people fast forwarding commercials and watching movies and television shows from their personal libraries instead of tuning in to the broadcaster's schedule. The VCR dictated the time that people could watch shows.
The theory of copyright laws is that they limit control over the use of content to the copyright owner. They leverage the right of copyright into revenue. People cannot use what the copyright owner owns unless they pay. The theory is that revenue creates incentive for the creation of new works.
Broadcasters were worried about their revenue. Movie studios were incensed that consumers could record their movies. The sky would fall they said. They did not want VCR technology. They wanted a ban on it, so they filed a lawsuit against Sony, the maker of the Betamax. The studios wanted control over the design of the VCR. TV broadcasters and movie studios wanted certain recording features on the machine, like the recording button or the fast forward button, eliminated. I ask hon. members to imagine the VCR without a fast forward button or a record button, or let us consider for a second a world where the VCR was banned, which was the original intent of this lawsuit.
The reason why I mention all of this is because technology has evolved. People have to be active in the programming of their family lives. We need a more active population, a wider field of choice and possibilities. They have to have the idea that anything is possible because that is the foundation of innovation. I should remind members that innovation is precisely one of the greatest challenges and one of the greatest weaknesses in our Canadian economy right now.
Thankfully, in 1983 the U.S. supreme court decided that the VCR was a legal device. Years later the movie industry hailed the VCR as something great. The industry received huge profits from the sale of videos. The industry that had previously feared and misunderstood the VCR realized that it could get money from this new machine. It wanted to lock the march of progress at that time but realized that the VCR provided a monetized stream for it and it was no longer fearful of it.
When I was 20, I managed to get my hands on a video camera. I taped some of my surroundings, took my favourite REM CD, clipped some stuff from the TV, and put them all together using the VCR. It was not very good, admittedly. It was kind of clunky. However I had created something new, something that allowed my interpretation of the music. That action was something that has gone on for ages.
Troubadours in medieval times would take words of songs and change them. Tellers of oral tales would change elements of the story to suit their local cultures. In our times we have groups like Negativland and DJ Danger Mouse, amongst others that do essentially the same thing.
This legislation would try to make this activity illegal. Unlocking the digital lock, something that a young Norwegian did to DVD encryption in the last decade would become a crime.
The 1998 law that the U.S.A. brought in, the DMCA, was found to be unenforceable. Basically this could not be enforced. It is too hard.
The greater problem here is that we have a digital age and a universal digital machine. All the information that we have nowadays, music, movies, text, is all in digital form now. When it is brought into a digital machine, it all gets translated into the same form of information. There is an innovation that happens there when people interact with that.
All the information is digital, so to be truly effective, to protect the copyright owner as this bill tries to do, one would effectively have to control computers. It is this idea that the U.S. tried to do. It tried to develop this idea of the Fritz chip. Every digital device would have this chip that would lock certain activities on that device. However, computer scientists have said this is impossible, that they would not be able to invent something like that.
Basically, a universal machine, a personal computer, would have to be turned into a somewhat limited machine. The effect of that, of course, would be to limit the innovation that we use these machines for.
There are also questions in legal circles about the provisions in this legislation that say that perhaps these are not measures that would fall under a copyright act, they would fall under ideas of property or civil rights, which are a provincial jurisdiction.
To finish off my discourse, I would like to state 12 reasons why our copyright laws are already strong enough and do not require any renewing to protect the copyright owners.
Number one, Canada has about 36 copyright collectives, many of which have received substantial direct and indirect government subsidies. The U.S. has only about half a dozen with no government support. The U.S. is asking us to impose this legislation, and yet we already have stronger copyright legislation than the U.S. does.
Number two, Canada has a full-time Copyright Board which has normally had four full-time members plus a sitting or retired judge as chairman, currently about a dozen full-time professional and administrative staff. The board has enormous policy and effective law-making powers. No other country of which we are aware comes close to having such a large, permanent, powerful and full-time copyright tribunal.
Number three, broadcasters pay far more for copyright loyalties than their counterparts in the U.S., much of it for rights that do not even exist in the U.S., for example, the ephemeral right. The U.S. provides an outright exemption in 17 U.S.C.112 for the ephemeral right.
About $50 million a year more, over and above, is being demanded by a collective dominated by the American dominated record labels for this right, in addition to amounts now collected by composers, authors and publishers. Canada's Copyright Board heard a major case on commercial radio where this and other issues will be decided in December 2008 and January 2009. However, it will probably be at least 18 months to 2 years after the hearing before a decision is announced, based on the timing of some recent major decisions from the board.
Number four, the Canadian Copyright Board values each right under the Copyright Act brought before it separately with little regard to layering and multiplicity of the tariffs which result in effect for the same transaction. Whether this is an error in approach by the board and/or in policy and/or in legislative drafting is subject to fair debate. The fact is that the U.S. law goes to great lengths to avoid such a result as recent court decisions have confirmed.
Number five, educators pay far more for copyright clearance than their American counterparts pay. There is simply no mechanism in place in the U.S.A. analogous to the excessive $5.16 per K-12 student or the excessive per student and course pack rates payable to access copyright for post-secondary students. There is a similar mechanism for Quebec. Canada's Copyright Board has pushed back on what it considers to be fair dealing in the classroom for what the Supreme Court of Canada arguably requires and American law clearly permits. The Copyright Board's controversial decision is currently under judicial review.
Number six, Access Copyright is trying to collect $24 a year for each full-time employee in Canadian provincial and territorial governments, not including Quebec. This potentially would be a cost of $6.5 million a year for Canadian taxpayers, which seems absurd in view of the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada, since most, if not all, copying of protected material would likely be for research purposes. Nonetheless, a very expensive proceeding would slowly unfold before the Copyright Board and probably beyond into the courts. Even with an unusual push by the Copyright Board to get this moving, it would likely drag on for years.
Such a tariff or equivalent mechanism would never get off the ground in the U.S.A. for many reasons, including that state sovereign immunity is well established by the U.S. Supreme Court. There may very well be provincial crown immunity in Canada but to what extent it would be invoked is currently unclear. At any rate, this new attempted tariff by Access Copyright has no counterpart in the U.S. and is yet another situation in which U.S. copyright owners could prove to be better off in Canada than in their own country.
Number seven, Canadian law requires payment for certain educational uses that are explicitly exempted in the U.S.A., such as the performance of films in a classroom.
Number eight, Canada has no explicit statutory exception for the performance of music for the purpose of selling sound recordings or audiovisual equipment as is found in section 110(7) of the U.S. copyright law.
Number nine, Canadians pay large amounts to SOCAN and NRCC for performances in countless bars, restaurants, retail stores and other small business establishments. The U.S. notoriously exempts these establishments, contrary to a WTO section 110 ruling which the U.S. continues to flout. The U.S. is by far the leading adjudicated current violator of international copyright law.
I could cite more examples which I found online in a blog. I have shared the author's thoughts with the House on why our copyright laws are already stronger than those of the U.S. and yet we are getting pressure from multinationals to impose this law on Canadians when our law is already sufficiently strong.
With that I will conclude.
Mr. Brian Masse:
Mr. Speaker, I was. That is a type of Liberal infighting, a Chrétienite versus a Martinite, with regard to the Manley history. However, it is clear that this has been used as an example to validate this legislation.
I was about to raise other third-party concerns that have been voiced in the debate that Canadians should hear. One of them is from Dr. Michael Geist, a renowned technology commentator. He has been quoted on Bill C-11 as saying that the foundation principle of the new bill remains that any time a digital lock is used, whether on books, movies, music, or electronic devices, the lock trumps virtually all other rights. He also states:
|| This means that both the existing fair dealing rights and Bill [C-11]'s new rights all cease to function effectively so long as the rights holder places a digital lock on the content or device.
We have a significant problem with the digital lock and we believe that having this type of testimony makes things more balanced as it is not just from the users. Later on we will hear some quotes from the artists as well.
I have statements from the cultural industries, which represent over 80 arts and cultural organizations across Quebec and nationwide. They argue that the bill would be toxic to the digital economy and warn that it would be a failure of the entire act itself. They suggest that the bill is actually toxic to artists.
The Writers Guild of Canada has a different take regarding its interest on the bill. It is a complex bill and issue. It states:
|| They are neither forward-looking nor in consumers or creators’ best interests. Digital locks, at their best, will simply freezes current revenue streams for creators.
There are other experts in the field, such as the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. This is what it has to say on digital locks:
|| Overall, these digital lock provisions are some of the most restrictive in the world.
|| To achieve a fair balance between users and copyright owners, the government needs to fix the digital lock provisions before this bill passes into law.
That is another counter to the one extreme case being used regarding Mr. Manley and his interests that are represented.
The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, SOCAN for short, states:
|| Without this balance, the creation of creative content will eventually decrease, as Canadian creators will be unable to make a living.
Presently, the average wage of a Canadian creator and artist is approximately $12,000 a year. That is not sufficient and the bill would take away some of their actual earnings forthright. This is a very important issue for artists because in this economy they are certainly suffering quite significantly. On top of that, they have a history in Canada of not being the most compensated in the workforce despite the fact that billions of dollars are generated from this industry, which I believe is around 7% of the GDP in overall impact.
Mr. Howard Knopf , a copyright lawyer, states:
|| The Digital Locks (TPM) measures continue to divide Canadians and to defy consensus. [They] are stronger than required by the WIPO treaties and stronger than necessary--
Why does the bill appear to be going overboard regarding digital locks?
What can be brought to bear on this issue is pressure from the United States. It was interesting to see the former minister of industry suggest that we should actually leak an advance copy of our bill to the United States. What is intriguing in itself is that instead of sharing it with Canadians, the people he represented as the minister, he would leak a document to the United States in advance to more or less get the Americans' opinion or blessing.
Later on the former minister's ministerial aid, the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka, suggested that Canada be put on the United States' piracy watch list. This was also intriguing because I worked with the member for Edmonton—Leduc to improve Canada's international representation regarding piracy on a number of different visits since 2002 with the Canada-U.S. Parliamentary Association, which is a bipartisan group. We met with members of Congress and senators in the United States. We attended bilateral meetings. We went to different conferences across the United States to meet with Governors and different legislatures on a statewide and nationwide scale.
We often heard that the Hollywood movie industry was upset that Canadian films were allowed to be filmed in our studios or in our theatres. That was true. It was a grey area of the law and we had a problem with the filming and distribution of pirated movies. That was ratcheted up through the U.S. system and it gave us a black eye in many respects. To be fair, there was good evidence that in some specific places in Montreal and other theatres pirated versions emerged. They were being sold on the streets of New York and other places like that just as easily as in Canada but it became a problem.
I am aware of the good work done by the member for Edmonton—Leduc as a representative. We were able to work in a group and make legal changes here in Canada to remove that problem. A lot of effort went into reversing the reputation that Canada had at that particular time with the United States. Therefore, I have difficulty understanding why the second removed former minister would suggest that we would leak a copy to the United States and that the aid for the previous minister, the member from Muskoka, would want Canada to be on the U.S. piracy list.
The member for Timmins—James Bay talked about some of the countries that are on that list. They are not countries like Canada. When we are working hard together on international relationships and trading partner issues, why would we want to subject ourselves to that type of behaviour? It shows that the government will buckle under pressure, as it has many other times, regarding U.S.-Canada government relations, which has subsequently cost Canadians.
This digital lock issue could cost Canadians. That is why we believe it is important to have a digital strategy. I will get to the digital strategy because it does affect us.
The devices we are using today which have changed so dramatically will continue to change in the future as well. It is not only about the types of devices and how they are used but also about how the content is shuffled from one device to another and the many ways in which it is used.
I have a Sony PlayStation. When I download a song I can use it on my PS3 but having it on my Playbook is a different problem altogether. When I buy a particular song I believe I should have the right to use it on both those devices. Therefore, it also involves the mechanics of moving the content around.
We often talk about net neutrality. Canada needs to take a moment to define "net neutrality". It is not only important for consumers and their use of different entertainment and other available devices but also for business, especially small business. In the past we have heard testimony on net neutrality with regard to throttling posing bigger challenges to some of the smaller companies' ability to stream, their access to streaming, as well as the value of streaming. We believe that net neutrality is important for consumers as well as businesses in the country.
We want a national strategy on broadband. It is very important. Many times we have seen companies focus on specific areas of development, such as the large urban areas where the costs are more beneficial than out in the suburbs and rural areas. We believe that in Canada it should be similar to our highway systems and other physical infrastructure which connects Canadians from coast to coast to coast and that we have that ability to communicate.
That is why the CBC is so important and we believe in it so strongly. In Windsor, where we are dominated by U.S. content and material, it is nice to hear stories from Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, the Yukon or British Columbia. We get that through a national broadcast structure that is important for keeping our national identity.
We also talk about having a strategy on the spectrum auction. The government ended up in court over the last spectrum auction. It is an important asset. The type of spectrum we are getting is significant and would offer us a great advantage toward building this national infrastructure. However, we need to look at where the resources would come from. The last time the spectrum auction assets came in they were dumped into the central fund. We want to see a national strategy put in place that would take advantage of that and use it as an opportunity to put our broadband, and our society in general, in a better position. The U.S. is approximately two years ahead of us on this. It is an important point.
We do not know when the government will have the spectrum auction and the final terms. It is critical as it is affecting business decisions due to the uncertainty of how we would use and implement the different research, technology, communications, et cetera. We do not know exactly what will take place next and we need to catch up to the United States. Being that much behind the U.S. does not offer the same type of opportunities for investment because we are looking at that when making decisions.
It is similar to physical infrastructure. In my community we are finally working toward implementing a new border crossing. If the legislation passed in Michigan for that it would allow for better investment decisions to be made in Canada. Once it is developed and rolled out and we can see the physical asset, predictability can take place.
We also need to deal with the issue of e-commerce. We have heard testimony at the industry committee regarding Canada's e-commerce. It is a dog's breakfast. The other day we heard testimony that Canada is very much behind on e-commerce and that it is a disadvantage. We also heard testimony to the effect that we are not being treated the same as the United States and that Canadian companies are paying higher fees and charges. We should be looking at all of that.
These are the elements we have for looking at the new age because what we are dealing with today will change a lot.
Going back to Bill C-11, we are interested in getting it to committee to hear more testimony and we hope that the government will look at a couple of things.
I want to touch on the issues I believe are important.
There is a five year review of the bill. I have moved amendments on other bills, some of which have passed through the House of Commons, to have a three year review of a bill. Technology is changing so quickly and the artists are caught up in that. I have read a number of testimonies not only from people in commerce but also from artists stating that there will be a diminishment of Canadian content and remuneration going back to the artists themselves. We should not be leaving them in the lurch for five years. Perhaps we should be looking at a three year review.
One of the things that is very important about that review, and I am sure we will hear this debated, is whether or not the legislation can get out the door, get working and provide a proper analysis after five years. We need to research that. I think three years or some other provision for artists needs to be in there if we are to have the five year review because we are hearing enough testimony that there are problems.
I want to talk about long-distance education. For the most part, it pertains to rural areas. However, long-distance education is also taking place in cities because people are looking for specific degrees, specific information and specific areas of improvement. That is important because, as a competitive society, we have heard that Canadian education needs to be better and stronger.
I have a problem with the 30-day provision where the material would dissolve or we get to the old-fashioned book burning scenario where we have to destroy the product. I do not understand that. When we buy a product, we have that property.
I remember the days in university when we would try to sell our books because when the next edition came out it was a little bit different. That is an important point to make because I think there is some overcalculation here. Each year the book would change a little but we were made to buy the newest edition. I remember the days when only a bit of the content was different but we were forced to buy the new textbook because of the change.
I do not understand why we would want people to lose the education and training materails that they would pay for from their own pocket because of a 30-day cycle. It is very important. I know many professionals, doctors and other individuals who regularly refer to the material from which they learned.
I do that for my own research in the House of Commons. If we research a topic or have the research done by the Library of Parliament, I often review the material a number of times at different points in time. I do not know what advantage there would be for individuals to take college courses via long distance if they could not review the materials whenever and however they wanted.
We can research that some more to determine the exact veracity of that, how the definitions will be defined and who will control that. It will be interesting to hear testimony at the committee hearings.
I am a little bit cautious on that, because I have seen in the past, whether it be with fibromyalgia or other types of disabilities, where people have been denied certain support systems because the disability was not as so-called obvious as others, or there was no burden of proof, or there would be an extra expense to get doctor's notes or other types of learning support documents at different times. I am a little bit concerned about that.
I will wrap up on the important issue of royalty rights. The royalty rights are a stabilizing fund for our artists. There have been a lot of changes over the years to the types of materials that we have had and the way they get remuneration. It is a new world, a new age, which is why we have gone through several machinations of this bill. It has always created a problem because we are trying to find the right balance at the end of the day between the consumers and ensuring that our artists are compensated. It is tough because we all want to have stuff but having it for free is just not fair for the people who have actually spent their time, energy and money creating it.
We want to have balance in there and stripping away the fund is something that I cannot accept. We need to have a solution for it. As I said, the annual average income for an artist in Canada is around $12,000. That is not sufficient to live on in this day and age in our communities. We need to ensure we are going to compete.
It is very common to have great relations with the United States. I go over to the United States all the time. However, we are fiercely proud because we have Canadian content and we have that Canadian identity that is not only recognized by the people in the United States but is celebrated by them, too. We push back into their content with the great artists, the men and women we have in Canada.
Mr. Scott Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate all in the House who have spoken to the bill so far. It has been quite informative. This is a very large, deep, complex bill. It has been bandied about now for the last 12 years, and as my hon. colleague pointed out, the number of emails and amount of input we are receiving on the bill have been quite substantial. In a 12-hour period I have received 2,200 emails regarding this issue. A lot of these emails were addressed to the ministers involved, the ministers of both heritage and industry, and copied to me as the heritage critic, but it certainly gives an idea of just how large this issue is. The implications are going to be felt for quite some time. I want to thank everyone who wrote to our party or to me personally about this matter and about the provisions in the bill.
I will not go back to the historical context, which goes back to Gutenberg, but I certainly would like to talk about the recent additions of this debate and how we have handled it going back to the WIPO treaties, which I will talk about in a little while.
The WIPO treaties were around 1996. As signatories to them, we have to come up with the right legislation to strike the balance that everyone keeps talking about. It is up to us in the opposition to make sure that balance is struck and to raise the bar in debate to make sure that the balance is there.
A lot of the debate is centred around digital locks. The supremacy of digital locks, as my hon. colleague from Timmins—James Bay mentioned earlier, has become a very contentious issue. I will also talk about the creation of works and the protection of the rights of artists, which we feel are of prime importance. As the heritage critic, I spoke to many artists about this issue and about how they want their works to be protected.
As we have all mentioned, in the case of copyright the balance we are seeking is a very thin line between infringement and the right to use a piece of copyrighted material for personal reasons only, and not for other reasons, either commercial or non-commercial. That is why we are here: to seek that balance and to raise the bar.
I would like to give some background now. I would also like to thank the Library of Parliament for providing us with information about what was Bill C-32 and now is Bill C-11. What I will read pertains to Bill C-32, but as the government pointed out, it returned the same bill to the House as it was before, and nothing has been changed.
Copyright is a legal term describing rights given to creators for their literary and artistic works. Copyright attaches to an original work that is fixed in some material form. In other words, copyright protects the expression of an idea or intellectual creation, but it does not protect the idea itself. That is the balance that we need to achieve. It is that one person's perception of a certain idea, and the thought and work that go into that, must be protected. We know that for the vast majority of artists or authors, the remuneration for their work is not always quite up to what it would be in other industries.
The Copyright Act that we speak of and that we hope to change sets out the right to authorize or prohibit certain uses of a work and to receive compensation for its use. There are certain general themes that we have to go through, much of which is to achieve the balance between the right of creators to use their own material for the sake of a profit or to put forth an idea, and the right of others to use this idea and to further their own.
There are two types of rights. Artists who consider themselves to be creators have the economic right to derive financial reward and to make a living at what they do, and of course there is the moral right to protect the integrity of their original work.
That, too, we need to look at when we talk about ephemeral rights, digital locks or TPMs, international agreements and how we are going to do this, because there is another factor we have to consider: although we would consider this to be domestic legislation, it is really an international concept. This is why we create legislation around the treaties that we sign. It is one thing for an artist to have material and to use it for the sake of profit, but it is not only used domestically: it can be used outside our borders. As a result, we have to seek out ways to protect artists and the ways in which they want to make a living.
In the Copyright Act, part I, literary works are described as books, pamphlets, poems, dramatic works, film, videos, DVDs, plays, screenplays and scripts. Musical works are compositions that consist of both words and music or music only. Artists' work includes paintings, drawings, maps, photographs, sculptures and architectural works.
Part II of the Copyright Act contains provisions for what we call “neighbouring rights”, consisting of copyright protection for three categories of work that fall under “other subject-matter”. They include performers' performances, such as actors, musicians, dancers and singers who have copyrights in their performances; sound recordings, meaning copyright for makers of recordings such as records, cassettes and compact discs of the old days, and what is available on MP3 or clouds, which I believe is now being talked about as also protected by copyright; and communication signals. Broadcasters have copyrights in their broadcasting communication signals as well.
We get to the gist of what the Copyright Act was set up to do in the beginning, the genesis of which goes back hundreds of years, and that is to protect the integrity of works for economic reasons and to provide the original artists with a moral right to hang on to their pieces of work. Reproduction can take place in various forms, such as printed publications or sound recordings, and therein lies the protection purpose: the distribution of copies of a work through its public performance, its broadcasting or other communication to the public; its translation into other languages; and its adaptation, such as turning a novel into a screenplay. These are examples of what we hope to provide protection for.
At the same time, we need to look at other things that would be contained under part III of the Copyright Act. That is where we get into the concept known as fair dealing.
The United States of America normally calls it “fair usage”. In Canada and in the international context we use it primarily as “fair dealing”.
Here is what we consider: non-profit education users are considered in this bill, as well as non-profit libraries, museums, archives and those with perceptual disabilities, parody, and satire. All of these categories fall under fair dealing, which is the use of copyrighted material to further education of the masses, let us say through museums and archives, and of course its use for those with disabilities.
Earlier we talked about the situation in which long-distance education could be at risk. There are passages that could deeply affect people involved in long-distance education. It is something that we in the Liberal Party are very concerned about.
In the past, there have been deep discussions about rulings in the Supreme Court, in particular CCH Canadian Limited v. Law Society of Upper Canada. It was a judgment that looked at fair dealing in the context that it should be dealt with, which is to say the fair use of copyrighted material for the sake of the general public. What derived from that was the six-step process. The six-step process talked about six different measures that include having to look at the particular cases through a useful analytical framework to govern determinations of fairness in future cases. These measures include, number one, the purpose of the dealing or the purpose of doing this; number two, the character of the dealing; number three, the amount of the dealing; number four, alternatives to the dealing; number five, the nature of the particular work; and number six, the effect of the dealing on how the work would be dealt with in the marketplace.
There is another international concept that talks about copyright. It is in what is called the Berne Convention. That is a three-step process that is very important, because this three-step process from the Berne Convention is used in many international contexts.
Personally, I think it is a pretty good place to be, because it gives the public, legislators and the courts a measure by which they can look at what is perceived to be fair dealing. It is being used in many contexts. One context was in Canada, although it was expanded upon into the six-step process.
Essentially, the Berne Convention looks at those three measures. Those three measures talk about restricting them to personal cases, that they do not conflict with the normal expectation of the work, and that they do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author.
Therefore, one of the situations that we should consider in doing this is that whether it is a three-step or six-step process, it will be a multi-step process by which the courts can adequately judge what is considered to be fair dealing in situations like the education exemption.
We can have a deep discussion in committee about how to deal with the broad exemptions brought forward, such as the non-profit education sector. I have received hundreds, if not thousands, of emails about this particular exemption. The Canadian Federation of Students believes that the exemption works, because it allows students to further their education as long as it is respectful to the particular author. However, we have received many emails and letters and have had verbal discussions and presentations from authors--people who make a living from writing textbooks, for example--who feel that this particular bill is not the balance that would help them in any way, shape or form.
That is why I believe that if we start talking about the exemptions, we should also talk about a responsible way to handle them. A multi-step process is a good way to consider. Many jurisdictions around the world that considered them to be broad have narrowed down these exemptions, because they have seen how this works. It is something we should discuss in committee, and I will get to that a bit later as well.
Part IV talks about civil and criminal remedies, awards for damages and loss of profits, injunctions and fines.
We have talked about statutory damages. In many cases some people feel they are too stringent, while others feel they are too light. There is a distinction between commercial usage and non-commercial usage or infringement. Commercial infringement requires a larger penalty because of the damage it may cause in the marketplace and how it may skew certain markets by what it does. Non-commercial infringement should be considered as well, and not so much at a higher dollar value, as with fines and remedies or even jail terms.
One of the issues that came to light back in 2005 or 2006 was that the big multinational recording companies were taking kids to court for infringing on their material. I remember making a statement at the time in committee that my 10-year-old had just downloaded a song from a website. It was file sharing. He did not know he was breaking the law. I did not know he was breaking the law at the time. Perhaps I am a technological laggard, but nonetheless it was basically the same as my son walking into HMV, grabbing a CD off the rack, putting it in his pocket and leaving. What is the difference? It is stealing music. It is stealing someone's material, and it should not be allowed.
In order to do this, we have to adapt to the new technologies that we have and the technology that we use to entertain, to create music, to receive that music and enjoy it. If I purchase a piece of music, I listen to it either on a CD, an MP3 player or my Blackberry. The discussion then becomes one on how a particular artist receives compensation for the work that he or she has done.
That is the discussion that was brought forward in the House in the last session regarding the levy. The opposition called it the iPod tax, which is incredibly disingenuous and an absolute insult to people who are making a living from music.
The funny thing was that a week prior to calling it the iPod tax, the government slapped a security fee on people who were checking in at airports. I could have easily called it a traveller's tax. The security fee is okay, but the iPod tax is something entirely different.
The hon. member for Peterborough talked about how it did not matter whether it was a fee or a levy, that a tax was a tax. However, time and time again we are seeing fees such as EI premiums going up in January. The terminology is never a “tax”. It is only a tax when the government deems it to be a tax.
Unfortunately, some of the debate gets off the rails and it become disingenuous. If we are going to committee with this, we should deeply consider a decent, mature, responsible debate about what is at the heart of this debate, which is to allow people to receive compensation for their work. We all know now that people are achieving music in different ways.
It used to be considered a levy when a charge was put on an actual CD. If people bought blank CDs or cassettes, they could record from the radio or other devices to get music for free. They still had to buy the blank CD or cassette, therefore the levy was applied to that. It was a way of remuneration for artists whose music was stolen by many people, some people who were unaware of it.
That is the type of debate we need to have in the House. I would implore the government, as well as the opposition, to have this debate in the House right now. Unfortunately what has happened is we have heard all this testimony, well over 140 witnesses and over 160 submissions, yet no changes have been made to the legislation.
The government says that it is sincere about going ahead, but going ahead with what? There is no indication whatsoever that any changes will be made other than to the “technical stuff”, which is really a technicality in and of itself.
If the government wants to continue this any further, we should consider a deep discussion about this and serious amendments, which is why I support the amendment put forward by my colleague, the member for Halifax West. It talks about a way of handling the legislation before it gets too focused and too confined. I have problems with the digital locks and the education exemption, which need to be looked at. I hope we can have that discussion.
Mr. Pierre Nantel (Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, it is my great pleasure to speak to Bill C-11, because I have a special interest in it. I spent nearly 20 years in the recording industry, which has seen some hard times. In our opinion, there can be no objection to reviewing the Copyright Act. Obviously, today, in 2011, we are lagging behind at the international level in terms of modernizing the law. It is high time it was done. The other major western countries have done it and it is our turn. It is really past time.
We deplore the fact that the bill is a little like Swiss cheese: there are a lot of bubbles, a lot of holes, in terms of protecting rights holders and creators. We are talking about this bill in theoretical terms but, in concrete terms, as my colleague was saying, the way we consume cultural products today is different. Before, we bought a record for $15 or $20, we took it home and we listened to it. While the recording industry has kept up its production rate and budgets have declined slightly—since with technological progress we can now record music more cheaply—it is still a cultural industry. Investors, industrialists and consultants who support a creator invest large amounts of money to make a product that will sell.
We are not talking about a minstrel strumming a lute on the church steps. These are people who have created songs, and other people who saw a business opportunity there and said that everyone is going to want that song or that album and will be prepared to pay a price to buy it and listen to it. What the recording industry has experienced is unparalleled in terms of plummeting revenues.
I will give you a brief overview. The complete operation of producing an album, which includes recording, promotion, video clips, launches and so on, calls for a budget of about $100,000. That is a very ordinary budget in an ordinary recording industry. We are not talking about a huge operation like a Michael Jackson album made before his death, that might have cost $1.5 million to produce. We are talking about an album that would have cost $20,000 or $30,000 or $40,000 and all the associated expenses.
To recover that investment, the companies, the recording industry—and that means jobs for people who work in this field, as I was lucky enough to do—would sell the record for between $15 and $20. Today, with modernization, the Internet, digitization of music and the incredible capacity to create master quality copies, this is no longer the same generation as when we were young. Then, we copied music onto cassettes and there was often more background noise than music. That is no longer the case today, and that is the issue.
If a digital version of a song exists, thousands of copies can be made in a few hours and the rights holder will have been deprived of his due. When people today buy music on the Internet, they sometimes buy the complete album but usually they buy the CD in a store. Those who buy their CDs and their music on the Internet very often take a piecemeal approach, by downloading one, two or three songs at a time. The retail price is $1 or $1.49. That means that the recording industry, as it attempts to recoup its production and marketing costs of approximately $100,000, did so based on a price of $15 to $20 per CD. Nowadays it has to make do with $2 or $3.
I sincerely believe that no other industry has experienced such a drop in revenue in such a short time. We are talking about huge percentages, from $15 or $20 to $3. This is unprecedented. The industry is already on its knees. We must enact legislation now on behalf of the rights holders, so that the situation can be corrected.
Copyright is essential. Allow me to quote the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages who, referring to Canada, stated that the cultural sector contributes twice as much as the forestry industry to our GDP.
The arts and culture sector generates spinoffs of over $46 billion and provides work for over 600,000 people. This is an industry, a sector of the economy, that is extremely important.
There are problems with Bill C-11 in relation to YouTube, the education system and other related areas. The biggest problem, however, has to do with the collective copyright collection system, commonly called private copying.
Earlier, I gave an overview of how we used to consume music. We all know that a decade or so ago, the CD-R hit the marketplace. Using an ordinary home computer, it was possible to copy a disc—ideally, one that had been purchased—and immediately make a copy of it that would be identical from a quality standpoint, with only the graphics missing. This craze led to creators, the rights holders, feeling like they were missing out, and they successfully went about putting in place a compensation system. Compensation is the right word here. The private copying system is a form of compensation for losses incurred as a result of the development of a new technology.
This system, which initially applied to audio cassettes, CD-Rs and DVD-Rs, generated significant amounts of money. In 2008, for instance, the figure was $27.6 million. The following year, the amount raised through this private copying compensation system dropped to $10.8 million and it continues to decline. Why? Certainly there are those among you who have purchased CD-Rs at one time or another, and very few people buy them these days. As far as music consumption is concerned—I am talking about legal consumption in a suitable format—people now copy their music onto a portable digital player, an iPod or an MP3. The format the royalty was based on, in other words the CD-R, has become completely obsolete by the current changes.
That is why the copyright owner lobbies have asked that this private copying compensation system be extended to include portable digital players or iPods. As the hon. member was saying earlier, the members opposite reacted by wearing t-shirts that said No iPod tax. This is great. It is a very good response to the creators who were feeling forgotten, cheated and abandoned.
What can we offer those creators today when Bill C-11 does not address the problem of the private copying system? This is certainly the most important aspect of all. We could talk about exemptions for the likes of YouTube, which is increasingly becoming a competitive alternative to the way music has traditionally been distributed. I keep talking about music because it is an area I am familiar with and also because music was the first victim of this digitization and this new accessibility. In a few years we will have the technology to download feature films very quickly. Some may say that is already possible, but it is still not very common.
The thing about music is that the video for the song being copied takes much longer to download. The problem that music is currently experiencing will very quickly spread to the other cultural media we find on the Internet.
I will stop there for now.