Home > C11, Copyright, Digital Policy, P2P > How will Canada’s New Copyright Bill Affect You?

How will Canada’s New Copyright Bill Affect You?

The quick and short answer is robo copyright e-mails from your ISP. That’s it!

Long answer: Canada’s new copyright bill will be getting its 3rd reading in the House of Commons over the next few days.  ISP’s will now have to send you an e-mail if you are caught downloading content.  What’s new is that this is going to be done on an industrialized scale.

In a recent meeting in the US to discuss how the industry failed to gain public support for SOPA/PIPA, the entertainment industry has unveiled its plans to ramp up automatic notifications with what it calls the “Copyright Alert Program”.  According to gamepolitics RIAA representative Cary Sherman stated:

“the software searches through P2P sites for pirated content, then notifies ISPs, who in turn send notices to subscribers alerting them that they’ve been identified as “copyright infringers.”

The entertainment industry believes it must ramp up these notifications as part of an “educational” tactic to counter the influence of big tech companies who don’t agree with their views on copyright, and in their view big tech was the sole cause that defeated SOPA/PIPA in the US. I don’t have to tell you how ridicules that sounds for those of you who’ve followed the SOPA/PIPA protests, but very representative of how these people think.  It also doesn’t help their credibility, and this way of thinking is most likely why the entertainment lobby (for all purposes) failed miserably in bringing in draconian copyright laws in Canada.  Money that could have been better spent on the artists directly, and adapting to a new marketplace in my view.

The “Copyright Alert Program” software should be available and start robo e-mailing Canadian ISPs in the second quarter of 2012.  What happens if you continue to download is basically nothing.  The government has put in a $5000 max digital fine on non-commercial infringement which is statutory, meaning in order for the content industry to obtain this fine, they must first prove actual damages caused by downloading the content.  This is interesting since most if not all the cases involving non-commercial copyright infringement of digital media that went to court in the US were won on punitive damages, meaning you pay because you broke the law, and not based on actual damages occurred. To date I’m only aware of 2 cases that went to court in the US, where the entertainment industry won, and both were based on punitive damage awards.  This has been going on since the mid 90’s.  It’s an utter failure of the content lobby.

In fact the content industry can’t prove that actual damages have occurred for non-commercial file sharing.  The US accountability office, can’t even come up with numbers verifying any negative economic impact on piracy in the US economy let alone online “piracy”.  It maybe impossible to prove.  During the amendment stage of Canada’s new copyright bill, all attempts by industry to bring in a more “punitive” approach to online sharing of media have been shut down hard by all committee members.

So with the new copyright law in place, the content industry is hoping to harass Canadians who share media online in order to try to get them to stop.  But the reality is, the new bill stops short in letting industry sue Canadians for online non-commercial file sharing.  This all changes though if you are caught breaking a digital lock, which on the consumer end is extremely hard to prove.  The government was warned by its own independent researchers on the digital locks provisions to be careful on implementing laws they can’t enforce.

The content industry also lost an attempt to quash the youtube provision of the copyright bill in committee, which allows users to upload youtube mashups video. So in true internet form, and to celebrate this new youtube mashup provision, here’s one of my recent favorites:

http://www.snotr.com/video/8929/BBC_News_Anchor_Remix (Music Execs need to take the tip from the Scottish in this video)

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