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This article was published 29/9/2011 (3346 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA -- The Conservative government said Thursday it won't budge on controversial rules about digital locks in its new copyright bill.
The provisions would make consumers liable for thousands of dollars in legal damages if they break the digital encryption on a purchased DVD or video game to make a backup for themselves.
Saying the consequences of such actions "are potentially really quite disastrous," Heritage Minister James Moore told reporters the government is open to technical amendments of the bill, but he wouldn't budge over the general prohibition against breaking digital locks that prevent people from making copies -- even for personal use.
This includes picking a digital lock to view a DVD purchased overseas, to transfer a purchased e-book to another personal device, or to create a backup copy of a purchased online game.
The bill, tabled in the House of Commons Thursday in the exact same form as the one that died with the 2011 election call, does not distinguish between such activities and a person picking a lock on a DVD in order to burn and sell thousands of pirated copies.
"I don't see us moving," Moore said of the digital lock provisions. "This is not about anything other than empowering creators with the tools to protect themselves from those who would steal from them."
When the bill was debated last year, it received praise for balancing the interests of copyright holders and consumers on some contentious issues. But it was criticized for its approach to digital locks; opposition MPs accused the government of caving to U.S. pressure.
"We've heard all the arguments and we're comfortable with our legislation. We think it's the right balance," Moore said.
The Conservatives, who now hold a majority of seats in the House of Commons, expect the bill to pass the House before the end of the year.
The legislation, to be reviewed by Parliament every five years, legalizes practices such as using a personal video recorder to record a TV show for later viewing or copying music from a purchased CD to an MP3 player, as long as there is no digital lock on the product.
The bill also proposes to extend fair-dealing exemptions to cover satire, parody and education -- meaning students, educators, artists and satirists can break copyright under limited circumstances if the use itself is fair. Canada's copyright law already allows for the use of copyright material for non-commercial research and study.
The Conservatives are also proposing, through the so-called "YouTube" or "mash-up" provision, to make it legal for people to remix creative content into new works -- as long as it's for non-commercial purposes and does not have a significant adverse effect on rights-holders.
The bill also will enshrine in law a "notice-and-notice" approach to Internet Service Provider liability, to protect Internet intermediaries from liability for the actions of their users. Without such protections, ISPs, search engines, video sites and blog hosts are more likely to remove legitimate content if they face legal threats.
-- Postmedia News