Austerity budget, free trade, crime bill: Conservatives eye sweeping changes with 2012 legislation
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4. Bill C-11: Copyright Modernization Act
Status: Currently, Bill C-11 is in its second reading in the House of Commons.
This bill – officially titled An Act to amend the Copyright Act – lacks the high profile of the Conservatives' law-and-order and immigration agendas. But with recent worldwide website blackout protests against the U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), Bill C-11 has been called Canada's own SOPA. And it has some music, film and online content users extremely worried.
“The bill represents a key pillar in the government’s continued support of the digital economy,” federal industry minister Christian Paradis told The Hill Times. “It will provide a framework that is both forward-looking and flexible, and which gives creators and users the confidence they require to fully engage in the global digital economy.”
Essentially, Bill C-11 seeks to modernize Canada's copyright laws – expanding copyright protection into the digital and online realm.
But critics warn that this copyright bill panders to industry interests at the expense of freedom of information and expression – even allowing government to censor content and block access to websites deemed to “facilitate” piracy.
“Behind-the-scenes,” wrote law professor Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, in the Toronto Star, “the same lobby groups that promoted SOPA in the U.S. have been pushing for drastic changes to the Canadian bill would make it even more restrictive by limiting new consumer rights, expanding potential liability, and importing provisions similar to those found in SOPA.”