Friday, July 10, 2009

P2P Sharing Is Legal in Canada

The US is making laws in Canada now. Apparently the Minister of Industry here in Canada is only good for dodging questions and taking ass slaps from US Lobbyists.

The bill, dubbed the ‘Canadian DMCA’ has not been popular with many of those it will effect. Over 40,000 have joined a facebook group, run by Michael Geist opposing it. Geist, a law professor at University of Ottawa, has been fighting to oppose these laws for some time now. On the tabling of the bill, he writes “The government plans for second reading at the next sitting of the house, effectively removing the ability to send it to committee after first reading (and therefore be more open to change)”

The bill is controversial in many ways. Whilst supporters of the bill will point to the allowances for time shifting, format shifting, and the ability to ‘private copy’ (moving a song from CD to an mp3 player for instance). It will, however, prevent that activity, though criminalization, if there is any sort of technological restriction on it. Anti-copy flags on TV shows, DRM on music, or rootkits on CDs would mean that any attempt to make a fair use, would be subject to prosecution and heavy fines.

Perhaps even more important, uploaders, and to an extent, downloaders too (certainly those on torrents), will now be liable. While in the past, the RMCP has stated it won’t pursue uploaders, with new laws come changes in policy for those that enforce the laws. Bill C-61 contains a statutory damage amount of $500.
Quebec -
Sharing copyrighted works on
peer-to-peer networks is legal in Canada
, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday, handing the record industry a sharp setback in its international fight against file swappers.

Canadian record labels had asked the court for authorization to identify 29 alleged file swappers in that country, in preparation for suing them for copyright infringement, much as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has sued more than 1500 people in America.

But the judge denied that request. In a far-ranging decision, the court further found that both downloading music and putting it in a shared folder available to other people online appeared to be legal in Canada.

In that recent case, the Supreme Court ruled that libraries were not "authorizing" copyright infringement simply by putting photocopy machines near books. The libraries were justified in assuming that their customers were using the copiers in a legal manner, the high court ruled.

Finckenstein said the same rationale should apply to peer-to-peer users.

"The mere fact of placing a copy on a shared directory in a computer where that copy can be accessed via a P2P service does not amount to distribution," Finckenstein wrote. "Before it constitutes distribution, there must be a positive act by the owner of the shared directory, such as sending out the copies or advertising that they are available for copying."

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