Copyright law: Episode II, the saga continues

The lock may be opening

Well, nobody said it was going to be easy. But at least some legal scholars and commentators are sighing in relief as Bill C-32 appears to have been placed under further review due to recent rulings south of the border (at least based on recent comments made by our Industry Minister, Tony Clement).

See, in many ways, Bill C-32 was modeled on the infamous Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the United States, specifically in its introduction of the “anti-circumvention” measure (see my previous post), arguably its most controversial measure.

However, while in Canada we were arguing heatedly over the merits of outlawing the mere attempt to break a “digital lock” placed on copyrighted content, something happened… the American elephant rolled in bed and we felt the earth quaking strong and clear in the true north. The Library of Congress decided to cut down on the digital lock protections under the DMCA by exempting six categories of copyrighted work from the anti-circumvention measures under certain conditions. The rulings mean that in the US you can now break the lock on your mobile device to put other software applications on your device’s platform. Or break the lock on a DVD to incorporate short portions of a movie into a new work for purposes of commentary or criticism. Guess who’s unhappy now?

In Canada, all our digital media start-ups will have to wait for the fall when Parliament resumes in order to witness the continuing saga of Bill C-32.