Feeds

Canada moots tough sanctions for DRM flouters

Proposes fines cap for 'mere' infringement

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The Canadian government today unveiled a controversial proposal to update the country's copyright laws.

Bill C-61 seeks to fight piracy over the internet by giving companies even more power over where digital content can be moved.

While it reduces the maximum fines for criminals actually caught violating intellectual property laws — the bill makes it illegal for anyone to break the digital locks (DRM) that restrict how media (even legitimately purchased) can be used.

It's a somewhat confusing solution that government officials behind the bill call a "balanced approach to truly benefit Canadians".

Industry Minister Jim Prentice and Heritage Minister Josée Verner presented the legislation at a news conference today on Parliament Hill.

Canada's government sought to introduce similar copyright reforms in December, 2006, but back-pedalled quickly. Outraged opponents claimed the the government was simply copying the US Millennium Copyright Act and pandering to US lobbyists and record labels.

This time around, ministers delivering the bill stressed the "made-in-Canada" approach again and again in the announcement.

The bill proposes to reduce the liability for an individual from Canada's current maximum fine of $20,000 for each infringement to just $500 per case, even if it involves multiple offenses. (Assuming the offending files are for private use only.) That means, for example, an individual caught downloading 20 songs illegally would still be fined a maximum $500.

But if that person was caught having circumvented any DRM on those files, the current $20,000 maximum damages per infringement would once again apply.

This would effectively mean copying a song purchased from Apple's DRM-protected iTunes store to another device would be illegal.

In addition, any person caught making, selling or distributing technology designed to crack DRM protections are subject to criminal charges.

The bill states that it is not an infringement to record audio or video being broadcast for personal use, unless it was available solely over the internet or circumvents any DRM. Recording television shows that are flagged by broadcasters is also illegal.

"It's a win-win approach because we're ensuring that Canadians can use digital technologies at home with their families, at work, or for educational and research purposes," said Prentice in a statement. "We are also providing new rights and protections for Canadians who create the content and who want to better secure their work online."

According to Canada's The Globe and Mail, the legislation is unlikely to be passed by the minority Conservative party. Parliament is also set to break soon for summer, presumably leaving the bill to die.

A digital copy of Bill C-61 (with no DRM, we hope) is available here. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media
Not paying Murdoch? You're gonna get a right LEGALLING - thanks to automated software
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer quits Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.