“This is the most comprehensive effort to modernize our copyright laws in over a decade,” James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, said about the country’s controversial new Copyright Modernization Act. The new law — also known as Bill C-11 — aligns Canada more closely with the World Intellectual Property Organization. The country’s long reluctance to update its anti-piracy laws made it a regular on the U.S. Trade Representative’s annual Priority Watch List. In February the International Intellectual Property Alliance said that Canada’s effort to combat piracy “falls far short of what should be expected of our neighbor and largest trading partner, with ineffective border controls, insufficient enforcement resources, inadequate enforcement policies, and a seeming inability to impose deterrent penalties on pirates.” Canada’s new law includes a provision that the U.S. strongly supported that makes it illegal for consumers to break so-called digital locks, including copy protection mechanisms on CDs and DVDs. It also increased the penalties for infringment: Those who use copyrights for commercial purposes without the owner’s permission could pay as much as $20,000 while individuals who do so for non-commercial purposes can be charged as much as $5,000. Internet service providers will have to notify customers when a copyright owner identifies a potential infringement. But the law extends fair dealing provisions to encompass education, parody and satire use; time shifting for legally obtained broadcast media, and reproducing copyrighted work for education purposes. Parliament agreed to review the law every five years. “The legislation isn’t perfect, but it’s a major step forward in terms of job protection and creation in our industry,” says IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb.
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