Published Jul 21, 2009We've got better health care, less guns and now it looks like Canada is once again seriously considering much more lenient copyright laws than our counterparts down south. According to a Reuters report, the Canadian government is preparing to craft new copyright legislation that will reduce penalties for copying or trading legally downloaded music and movies for private use.
The last attempt to introduce the changes to current legislation was made in October of last year, but the bill that was introduced at that time was struck down. Now the government is looking to begin a new round of talks with all interested parties, with the first meeting taking place Monday (July 20) in Vancouver.
The last bill, introduce in June of 2008, would have allowed Canadians to copy legal downloads to their iPods and computers without repercussion, although they would still be banned from getting around any digital locks applied by the products they were using.
The proposed legislation also reduced the penalties for trading legal downloads to a maximum of $500, as opposed to the current $20,000 per infringement. Where before exchanging five downloaded songs could cost someone up to $100,000, under the proposed bill the most they could be charged is $500, an amount most law firms wouldn't bother pursuing. Commercial piracy would have still been serious business under the previously proposed bill, however, with perpetrators facing up to five year's jail time, plus severe fines.
Meanwhile, those good ol' boys down south are watching us like hawks. The U.S. Trade Representative called Canada out in April, putting us on a piracy blacklist due to its concerns about what they feel is our slack approach to intellectual property rights and the amount of downloading that we do.
The latest look at copyright laws in Canada could do a complete flip-flop, though, if we see a federal election in a few months and the government changes hands.