File-sharing law to be tabled next week: CTV
CTV.ca News Staff
The federal government will introduce new legislation aimed at toughening up copyright laws in the digital world, CTV News has learned. Still, industry stakeholders who say file sharing is stealing say the laws are not stringent enough.
About seven million Canadians download music from the Internet and the Canadian market for music downloads is estimated to be $100 million, according to The Canadian Independent Record Production Association.
"Somebody once described it as the the celestial jukebox, because you can find just about anything out there," Internet user Joey de Villa said.
Copyright holders have long been pushing for the federal government to toughen up laws. While new legislation will be tabled next week, industry stakeholders say the legal action is still not tough enough.
"Not only is it not as tough as we would like. It doesn't provide the adequate legal framework that we would like," Graham Henderson, of the Canadian Recording Industry Association told CTV News.
The new legislation will contain rules that will make it illegal to hack or break into the digital locks often used to prevent the copying of movies and software -- although it will remain perfectly legal in Canada to copy a CD for personal use.
"The digital locks themselves can be used to take away rights that users already have," University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist told CTV News.
The legislation also sets up what is called a notice-and-notice regime to handle complaints of copyright infringement.
Under this system, an Internet service provider will receive a notice from a copyright holder complaining about violations from its provider's customers. The ISP would then send a notice to that customer.
"If a father or mother gets a notice from their ISP that they might be sued because of the activities of their teenaged son or daughter, you could be pretty well assured that that activity is going to change," said Jay Thomson of the Canadian Association of Internet Providers.
This puts the onus on a rights holder to prove a violation has occurred.
But that's still not good enough for de Villa.
"I want to be policed by the police, rather than by the record companies," he said.
This legislation likely won't become law until later this year and experts say it may only be the first of several changes to the legal environment on music downloading. They expect entertainment industry heavyweights to continue pushing to banish Internet-based file sharing.
Last month, Canadian record labels were dealt another legal blow in their quest to curtail online music sharing.
In a unanimous decision, the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the Canadian Recording Industry Association's appeal to oblige Internet service providers to release the names and addresses of 29 people alleged to be trading music with Net surfers.
As well, the judges refrained from making sweeping conclusions on copyright laws -- specifically about whether downloading or uploading music should be illegal.