Here We Go Again: Canadian Government Revives Copyright Bill

Here We Go Again: Canadian Government Revives Copyright Bill
Last year, the Canadian government unveiled a new Copyright Act, but it was set aside when the spring 2011 election began to heat up. Now -- surprise, surprise -- the Conservative government has once again reintroduced the Copyright Modernization Act.

Heritage Minister James Moore explained [via CBC] that the government "didn't alter a comma" in the original bill (which is a shame, since elements of the bill sounded woefully out of date when we heard about them the first time around). Now that the Conservatives have a majority in the House of Commons, this one is unlikely to get shelved because of an election or opposition. Moore hopes to have passed before the end of the year.

Perhaps the act's most controversial element is its strict laws in regards to digital locks. If passed, the act would make it illegal for any consumers to attempt to circumvent a digital lock, even if the consumer is attempting to use a legally acquired product for personal use.

The bill also includes stricter punishments for those who enable online piracy. Internet service providers, however, are off the hook and are not liable if users illegally obtain copyrighted content. They are, however, required to issue warnings and retain records of communication for use in court proceedings.

Thankfully, the bill does include some user-friendly measures. Under the new laws, it would be legal to back up your media content on another device, so long as you're not breaking a digital lock. What's more, users can record radio, TV and internet broadcasts for later use. It's also allowed to incorporate legally acquired content into your own work, so long as it's not for commercial use (YouTube users are celebrating at this provision).

To learn more about the Copyright Modernization Act, you might want to read our previous announcement about the bill, and read some analysis in our subsequent Music School feature. And remember: if you don't agree with the bill, you just might be a radical extremist.