Proposed Amendments to Canadian Copyright Act to Reportedly Include Harsher Laws on Digital Locks, File Downloading

Proposed Amendments to Canadian Copyright Act to Reportedly Include Harsher Laws on Digital Locks, File Downloading
As we recently told you, the Canadian government is furiously drafting a new bill to amend the Copyright Act, and might even have it ready as early as next week.

If the bill goes through, it could dramatically change the way that people use technology to acquire their music and other copyrighted digital files. For one thing, information leaks from government insiders have indicated that the bill includes harsher anti-circumvention rules that will prevent consumers from breaking digital locks on electronic devices and content, reports the CBC.

Toughening up on technology protection is a move that has got the government a lot of backlash, and was one of the boiling points in a previous bill being shot down in 2005, and then again in 2008. It's being reported that the new bill currently being worked on is much in the same vein as the previous ones, and critics argue it favours copyright holders over consumers. That means the government is siding with the entertainment industry - be it music, film, or other forms of entertainment - instead of Canadian fans.

One critic of the new proposed laws is Russell McOrmond, policy coordinator for the Canadian Association for Open Source, who spoke out against the bill in an opinion piece for IT World, saying, "I don't believe [these] locks should be legalized. While time has advanced, I do not get the impression from what I've read from Canadian politicians that the level of the debate has advanced. Having the copyright holders behind recorded music having to choose between digital locks and levies would at least be a short term amendment that could help advance the inevitable ongoing debates in the future."

McOrmond also wrote that he believes locks such as technology protection measures (TPM) and digital rights management (DRM) are on infringement upon consumer rights.

"It is obvious that if I own something... it is me and not someone else that maintains the keys for any locks applied to what I own," he wrote. "Non-owner locks on technology are based on the idea that the manufacturer of the device, not the owner, should control who has keys to the locks they have applied."

 The debate over consumer locks is one of the many controversial issues that will come out of the upcoming proposed amendments to the Copyright Act. It's expected the proposed changes will be the harshest laws yet for Canadian consumers in the area of music downloading and file-sharing. The bill is also believed to include laws around music technology such as iPods other music players that will make it harder for people to download and copy music and other copyrighted digital files.