Bill C-11, the so-called “Copyright Modernization Act” will not actually modernize Canadian copyright law.
Instead, if this law is passed as it stands, it will harm my interests as a creator, as well as Canadian culture and heritage.
I’m working hard to master eBook conversion of my debut novel, so I have been valiantly trying to avoid looking at what’s happening with Bill C-11 (an exact revival of Bill C-32, which was itself the Successor to Bill C-60, or Bill C-61). No matter what number, nor which political party is driving it, in every version this law has been a Canadian DMCA.
I became interested during the Canadian copyright consultation when an unprecedented number of Canadians responded to the Government’s call for input into the new draft copyright law. To be fair, this new incarnation actually does do some of the things that Canadians asked for. The problem is that it won’t matter because chances are good we will never be able to make use of these benefits because they will be blocked by what are sometimes called “digital locks”. Or Digital Rights Management (DRM), or Technical Protection Measures (TPM).
It doesn’t matter what you call it.
I thought you might be interested in the best summation of the worst problem with Bill C-11 [the emphasis is my own]:
… the keys to the locks are held by someone other than the owner that is what is locked.
It is not the owner of the copyright that has the keys (to the lock on the content or the lock on devices),
and it is not the owner of the device that has the lock on the device.
It is the device manufacturer and/or software distributor that controls the keys.
In any type of lock, digital or otherwise, it is the interests of the entity with the keys whose interests are protected.
— Russell McOrmond, Digital Copyright Canada: Bill C-11 debate day 1
This is what will make it far worse for Canadians and our culture than what American’s have had to cope with in the original DMCA.
It will be illegal to break the digital lock, even if you have the right to access the content. Bill C-11 will make digital locks the single most powerful element in Canadian copyright law. Copyright will be subjugated to software and device manufacturers. It won’t be publishing companies that decide what books Canadians can access, nor the writers or even the readers of those books.
The company that distributes the software or manufactures the device will hold the keys to copyright law.