Copyright bill returns with changes for final House vote
Digital lock provisions remain despite opposition attempts to remove
A bill that will update Canada's copyright laws is heading back to the House of Commons with amendments as early as Thursday morning — but without the changes opposition MPs had hoped for.
That puts bill C-11 one step closer to becoming law, with two remaining votes in the House before it moves to the Senate.
Glenn Thibeault, the chair of the special committee that looked at the legislation, said he plans to present the report as soon as possible, which would be Thursday when House business begins. The committee finished its clause-by-clause reading of the bill Tuesday, accepting eight changes from government MPs but defeating all amendments suggested by the NDP and Liberals.
Steve Anderson, national co-ordinator of Openmedia.ca, a national campaign for open and low-cost internet, says the bill is a win for consumers over all, but the group is still concerned about how the legislation handles so-called digital locks on copyrighted content. C-11 makes no provisions to allow consumers to break digital locks on material they've bought.
Opposition MPs tried to exempt users who break locks for lawful reasons, to make a backup copy for example, but Conservative MPs wouldn't budge.
Anderson says there were groups lobbying for stricter provisions, like access to subscriber data from internet service providers or the ability to terminate internet service for first-time offenders who are convicted of violating the copyright law, and he's pleased those changes didn't make it into the bill.
"Until the bill is passed we'll certainly be encouraging the government to consider especially removing the digital locks provision or just altering it so that it's more fair to Canadians... and certainly we'll be encouraging Canadians to speak out," he said.
"The fact that the digital locks provisions weren't revoked, I think it's a step backwards in terms of our free expression and open access to communications."
Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore has defended the digital locks provision, arguing it's up to content producers whether they want to put locks to their material. Creators working in music, for example, tend not to use the digital locks while video game producers use them more widely.