Canadian Bill C-11 Committee Review Concluded

IT Management

Share this Post

A special legislative committee of the Canadian Parliament concluded it's clause-by-clase review of Bill C-11 Tuesday, and now the bill heads to the House of Commons for a third reading. In total, eight government-sponsored amendments were added to the bill.

In this latest round of amendments, the bill's "enabler clause" was expanded, holding ISPs, social networking sites, and filesharing hosts more accountable for the content their users share online. But "virtually all other copyright lobby demands - website blocking, notice-and-takedown, iPod tax, copyright term extension, disclosure of subscriber information - were rejected," reports University of Ottowa Law professor Michael Geist, who live-tweeted updates of the entire proceedings. Meanwhile, consumer- and education-group-backed provisions were left intact. These included provisions regarding:

  • User-generated content
  • Time shifting
  • Format shifting
  • Backup copies
  • The degree of Internet provider liability, and
  • Statutory damages

The bill's fair dealing was also left intact, despite pressure from publishers and copyright collectives.

The major sticking point for Canada's ruling Conservatives, however, was the issue of digital locks. The Tories--with direct backing from Prime Minister Stephen Haper, as well as support from the U.S.--refused to budge on digital lock restrictions, and so in its current reading Bill C-11 will rendering the breaking of digital locks illegal for any reason. Future regulation may open the door for exceptions to this provision--especially for consumers with perceptual disabilities--but for the moment, at least, the bill (if passed) would prohibit all digital lock-breaking, even if consumers break the locks in order to access legally purchased content. There's a chance that NDP Members of Parliament may even base constitutional challenges to the bill on this provision.

Following a third reading in the House of Commons, the bill will also need Senate review and royal assent before being enacted into law, but all this could be done and Bill C-11 (in its final form) enacted into law sometime within the next few months.

Photo Source: