What Ottawa’s new copyright laws will mean for Canadians

Andy Radia
Canada Politics

The Harper government reintroduced its copyright bill in the House of Commons Thursday indicating it hopes to enshrine it into law by Christmas.

Bill C-32, the Copyright Modernization Act, seeks to put more teeth in copyright laws for those who make software, movies and other creative works, while at the same relaxing some of the more outdated provisions.

"Canadians will soon have modern copyright laws that protect and help create jobs, promote innovation, and attract new investment to Canada," Industry Minister Christian Paradis said in a statement.

"We are confident that this bill will make Canada's copyright laws forward-looking and responsive in this fast-paced digital world."

Here's what the bill will mean for consumers:

The law will legalize everyday consumer practices, such as using a personal video recorder to record a TV show for later viewing or copying music from a purchased CD to an MP3 player. These are not allowed under the current law.

Bill C-32 would make it legal for consumers to make a back-up copy of content to protect against loss or damage.

The law includes a YouTube  provision where users can take content and "remix" it for non-commercial purposes.

Libraries will no longer be required to deliver interlibrary loan material in paper form. Electronic desktop delivery of materials such as scholarly or scientific journal articles will be permitted.

The legislation will include provisions that make it possible for copyright enforcers/holders to demand ISP (your address) information from Internet providers, like Rogers or Shaw, when they suspect a customer may be involved with illegal downloading.

Under the law, Canadians will not be allowed to break digital locks, even if it's for personal use. This includes picking a lock on a DVD purchased overseas to watch at home or to transfer a purchased e-book to read on another personal device.

Individuals found violating copyright law could be liable for penalties between $100 and $5,000, which is below the current $20,000 maximum.

(AFP Photo)