Did you know that you woke up this morning to a brand new copyright regime in this country? Of course you didn’t, because copyright is boring. Not so! You can now do many things that you were probably doing before anyway, but now are legal! Let’s do a quick rundown of some of things you may find important.
Oooh boy! Everyone’s favourite bill, Bill C-11 (The Copyright Modernization Act), passed third reading on Monday night this week in the House of Commons. That means it only has to get Senate approval rubber-stamped in the Senate, then get Royal Assent (really a rubber stamp) before becoming the law of the land. It should happen within the month most likely. Democracy in action!
The vote was 158-135. I am too lazy to check every name who voted, but I assume that all the yeas were Conservative. Given that there are 164 Conservative MPs, that’s probably a good assumption.
I was all ready to write a nice long post about the good, the bad, and the ugly of C-11 as it relates to the internet, but it is just too fucking hot and humid for a long post. You need (I need) to get to a swimming pool already. Geist has a good piece on how C-11 has evolved over the years, and IP Osgoode has an outstanding summary of what’s in the bill in a nice neutral way, so go read those if you like. I’ll be busy circumventing digital locks (in the name of education and / or criticism!) while I still can.
While you spend your time today on hold trying to contact your broker to get your hands on some juicy Facebook stock, I’ve got a treat for you! Earlier this week, the Conservatives finally said “enough with this shit” (may not be actual quote), and cut off debate during the report stage on Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act that you are all so sick of by now. With the Bill passing the report stage, it leaves only third reading and a Senate rubber stamp before this baby is law. But to make it fun (?), just like the last time, I’ve slogged through the Parliamentary transcript to pull out some totally out-of-context quotes so we can all laugh / weep at our democracy in action.
Howdy kidz! It’s Monday Morning, which is the absolute bestest time to read legislation! And read legislation we shall. Don’t go away, this is important! Maybe. Last week, Bill C-11, The Copyright Modernization Act (you should all know that by now), made it out of committee and will come back to the House soon for third reading, passage, then rubber-stamping by the Senate before it gets official Royal Assent. And we now have the details of the amendments that the Committee passed. Note that all the amendments passed were Conservative ones, and all the Liberal and NDP amendments failed. Try to act shocked. Anyway, I thought I would take a look at one of the amendments that directly affects the internet and our favourite method to locate torrent files, isoHunt. Let’s break it down after the jump.
In my business, there are no two more important people than Barry Sookman and Michael Geist. They are the giants of Intellectual Property and internet law in this country, and I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with both of them. What’s fun for the outside observer is that they are on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum. Sookman is a corporate guy working to protect the economic rights of the big boys, while Geist is sort of a Lawrence Lessig disciple who stands up for the little guy but who some believe goes a little too far in his disdain for a lot of legitimate protection for rights holders. This has led to some epic pissing matches between the two (though usually done politely), one just a month ago. The latest volley was lobbed yesterday, as Sookman wrote a piece that was, well, hmmm. Not so nice? I can’t really explain it. Join me after the jump for the juicy blockquotes.
Hoo boy, big week for internet law in Canada, in the House of Commons. Two important things are happening / have happened:
1. Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act that I’ve written so much about, passed second reading and was sent off to Committee. As there was never a Canadian Schoolhouse Rock, you probably don’t know how a bill becomes law in this country. Here’s the process. The point is that C-11 is one step closer to law, and the Conservatives are making good on their promise / threat to get this done with as little further discussion and debate as possible.
2. Today, the government introduced Bill C-30 to the House, with the official title of the Act to enact the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act and to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts. You may hear it referred to as “lawful access legislation.” You may also hear it referred to as “internet surveillance” or “online spying” legislation. Ominous! And it is. Basically it will allow the police to get customer info from ISPs and telephone companies without a warrant. Oh, and also force the ISPs to install technology that will let the cops monitor online activities in real time. The government says if you are against that kind of thing, you are pro child-porn. Well that’s a little harsh.
I’m going to actually read C-30 and will prepare a more detailed post about it in the coming days. In the meantime, Geist has a good primer, and here’s the Parliament page about it. Let’s all not jump to conclusions. I am sure internet surveillance in real time can’t be that bad, can it?
EDIT: This post has been edited to reflect the correct name and number of the second piece of legislation, Bill C-30. In fact, I was looking at an older version of the bill that did roughly the same thing. It was misreported in the first story I had linked to, but that link has now been updated as well. I sincerely regret the error and apologize to my 3 readers.
Earlier this week, the House of Commons reopened “debate” on Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act. In part 4 of our series on the Bill, we take a little break from the substance to check out some of the choice quotes the MPs threw at each other when discussion began. Check out your parliamentary democracy in action after the jump. Continue reading →
Start Trek:TNG clips + Patrick Stewart’s gay role from Jeffrey = comedy gold. Well, to us geeky types anyway. But is it legal? Under Bill C-11, yes! Well, sort of. As usual, these things are complicated. Join me after the jump for part 3 of my Bill C-11 series to see what you have to do if you want to create and post on YouTube that “Rebecca Black’s Friday Night Lights” video you’ve always dreamed of.
Allen Mendelsohn is me. I am a lawyer specializing in internet law working out of Montreal, though sometimes I do it in front of the U.S. Capitol. That should tell you what you need to know about internet law in Canada.