Thursday, June 12, 2008

C-61 - The canadian copyrights act

The canadian government just introduced the C-61 bill, the canadian copyrights act. It's fairly restrictive towards multimedia consumers, prohibiting multiple usage and indefinite storage of time-shifted copies (e.g. via PVR systems), and it gives judges freedom to impose punitive damages in any case, regardless of whether a copyrighted piece was illegally shared or downloaded. It also leaves out backup rights for DVD and CD media. The almost-upside is that fines for people downloading illegal content are capped at $500 a pop (compared to the $9000 in that one US case). Almost-upside, because of the punitive damage clause I mentioned.

There was some criticism on the creator's rights side as well, as it makes it illegal to "distort or mutilate a copyright performance", i.e. any author can use this clause to sue someone making a satire, criticizing documentary or any form of fair use that puts a negative spin on their work.

Another significant area of interest is DRMs. It's illegal to bypass DRM schemes unless you're doing reverse engineering, security testing, or encryption research.

Personally, I'm not particularly impressed by this bill.

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