A Detailed Look at Bill C-32 – Canada’s Copyright Reform Bill (Part 6 – Final)

A Detailed Look at Bill C-32 – Canada’s Copyright Reform Bill (Part 6 – Final)

After 5 parts, we begin to near the end of our look at Bill C-32, Canada’s copyright reform bill. While we may have covered a large number of broad topics, there are still some interesting topics left in the bill to discuss.

Introduction

We’ve been covering Bill C-32 for a while with raw and in-depth analysis. Previously, we’ve debunked the myth that there are exceptions in the bill for circumvention, so consumers shouldn’t worry because the exceptions are so limited, very few Canadians would even come close to getting minimal benefits from those exceptions.

While the Canadian government may wish people like us would stop criticizing the bill by looking at it and reading the bill provision by provision, we have decided to forge ahead and continue reading the legislation anyway since many people find analysis’ such as ours beneficial and informative.

Before we continue, we have to stress, as we have in previous sections of our analysis, that we are not trained professionals in Canadian law. The contents should not be treated as legal advise in any way, shape or form. This is merely a concerned Canadian citizen reading through the bill and talking about the provisions in the bill, nothing more.

We continue with the end of page 3:

Section 49 – The Three Year Window to Sue

Our analysis picks up with a very interesting provision tucked away towards the end of the bill:

43.1 (1) Subject to subsection (2), a court may award a remedy for any act or omission that has been done contrary to this Act only if

(a) the proceedings for the act or omission giving rise to a remedy are commenced within three years after it occurred, in the case where the plaintiff knew, or could reasonably have been expected to know, of the act or omission at the time it occurred; or

(b) the proceedings for the act or omission giving rise to a remedy are commenced within three years after the time when the plaintiff first knew of it, or could reasonably have been expected to know of it, in the case where the plaintiff did not know, and could not reasonably have been expected to know, of the act or omission at the time it occurred.

This is probably one of the scariest provisions in the whole bill. Let’s say someone circumvented a DRM to put music on their ipod. Then lets assume that a rights holder has heard of someone listening to that song on the iPod knowing that it was only available through a CD which has only been released with a digital lock (be it seeing them on TV or whatever). That rights holder can just mull around for 2 and a half years if they want, then when, say, the sales dip a little, they can track down and sue that individual they saw in passing for copyright infringement because they circumvented a digital lock.

One can only imagine what kind of abuse this provision allows for rights holders. It may be a provision that was also under everyone’s noses this whole time.

The only good thing about this is that a court has to OK this:

(2) The court shall apply the limitation or prescription period set out in paragraph (1)(a) or (b) only in respect of a party who pleads a limitation period.

Section 56 – Copyright Collectives Will Collect Whether or Not Rights Holders Permit It

56. (1) Subsection 76(2) of the Act is replaced by the following:

(2) An owner of copyright who does not authorize a collective society to collect, for that person’s benefit, royalties referred to in subsection 29.7(2) or (3) is, if such royalties are payable during a period when an approved tariff that is applicable to that kind of work or other subject-matter is effective, entitled to be paid those royalties by the collective society that is designated by the Board, of its own motion or on application, subject to the same conditions as those to which a person who has so authorized that collective society is subject.

If we are reading this correctly, then this could spell serious trouble for radio stations that choose to simply play, say, Creative Commons or Public Domain material. This is because it doesn’t matter if the rights holders authorized charging, for example, a radio station, royalties, the royalties are going to be collected anyway. This could harm any small radio station that banks on the thought that if they play public domain material, then they wouldn’t have to pay royalties.

Section 58 – Review of the Bill in 5 Years

58. Section 92 of the Act is replaced by the following:

92. Five years after the day on which this section comes into force and at the end of each subsequent period of five years, a committee of the Senate, of the House of Commons or of both Houses of Parliament is to be designated or established for the purpose of reviewing this Act.

This is an important note more than anything else. It’s also pretty straight forward as well. After 5 years when this bill comes in to force, the bill needs to be reviewed. It’s great because we have seen numerous flaws in the bill already.

Section 63 – Coming in to Force

63. The provisions of this Act come into force on a day or days to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.

Presumably, this would come in to force as soon as it receives royal assent and whatever other formalities that needs to be addressed.

Conclusion

This short section contained two very important notes about the bill, the three year deadline and how copyright collectives can collect regardless of material – the latter being, in my view, very disturbing since it seems excessive to grant such a huge time window like that. What if someone doesn’t even know they are infringing and the rights holder basically tallies up all the infringements for the purpose of a huge payday? That’s one way this opens up for a huge amount of abuse from rights holders.

There you have it! That is our review of the copyright bill from beginning to end. We did our best to leave no stone unturned and hope you found something new in the bill you didn’t already hear about. We don’t claim to be 100% accurate in this review 100% of the time (it is, after all, an extremely complex and complicated bill after all!), but at the very least, you can read the provisions and be the judge yourself. We just hope this bill is, at least, somewhat more readable thanks to our review – if not, you can always read the bill yourself or check out what Michael Geist has to say about C-32. Wikipedia does have a page on the copyright reform bill, but currently, there isn’t much on that page as of yet.

Previously: A Detailed Look at Bill C-32 — Canada’s Copyright Reform Bill (Part 1)
A Detailed Look at Bill C-32 — Canada’s Copyright Reform Bill (Part 2)
A Detailed Look at Bill C-32 — Canada’s Copyright Reform Bill (Part 3)
A Detailed Look at Bill C-32 — Canada’s Copyright Reform Bill (Part 4)
A Detailed Look at Bill C-32 — Canada’s Copyright Reform Bill (Part 5)

See also: Bill C-32 — Canada’s latest copyright reform bill

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