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'Canadian DMCA' Copyright Bill Dead Again 307

An anonymous reader writes "Like some kind of B-movie horror series, the latest attempt to revise Canada's copyright law and introduce DMCA-like provisions, Bill C-32, has again died on the order table as Canada's minority government has fallen after a non-confidence vote. This makes it the third copyright revision bill since 2005 to have died. Although this version was regarded as better than previous ones, it still contained awkward anti-circumvention provisions. We can be confident that some kind of DMCA-style copyright bill will be resurrected, but it will have to wait for the next government sequel."
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'Canadian DMCA' Copyright Bill Dead Again

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  • by Joe Jordan ( 453607 ) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @01:05PM (#35623042) Journal
    Gotta credit Canadian politicians for not selling out wholesale like they do in the US.
    • Re:Credit (Score:5, Informative)

      by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @01:15PM (#35623088) Journal

      Any of the parties would, but there have been minority governments for the last seven years, so this bill, which perpetually gets stalled before third reading, keeps dying on the order paper. Get a majority government, regardless of which party forms it, and the legislation will pass.

      • Get a majority government, regardless of which party forms it, and the legislation will pass.

        Not necessarily. There's no requirement for MPs to follow party lines. They could vote against it.

        • That's not strictly true. If the PM decides a bill is a confidence bill, then government side will have to vote the party line, at least. Most bills are confidence bills.

          • by dryeo ( 100693 )

            Usually only money bills are confidence bills, but you're right, the PM can declare any bill a confidence bill.

            • Also, just about everything is a money bill. The definitions of what constitutes a money bill are loose, and the government (any government) exploits this to the fullest.

        • I think Martian is trying to say that the only thing preventing them from passing it is partisanship: right now, the "leading party" doesn't have enough votes to pass it and the other parties are voting it down out of spite. But if any of them gets an actual majority, it's going to go through faster than you can say, "wait.. what just happened?"

    • Re:Credit (Score:4, Insightful)

      by v1 ( 525388 ) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @01:16PM (#35623094) Homepage Journal

      we were just discussing how the USA could benefit from some of the design of canadian law, and it was decided that canada has safeties built into the system so that in the event that the government does something "batshit insane", that it can be dissolved almost instantly. And that's what has happened in Canada. Lie to parliament and refuse to disclose information, BAM you're outa here. Their parliament is a bit like our congress, but our congress neither has the balls nor the power to pull it off.

      • Re:Credit (Score:4, Informative)

        by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @01:58PM (#35623348)

        And that's what has happened in Canada. Lie to parliament and refuse to disclose information, BAM you're outa here.

        Not really, no. The financial figures were a red herring - you don't dissolve a government over something so minor. I started receiving election fliers and phone-calls about two weeks earlier, so that tells you how big a surprise this was. All the parties wanted an election; the claims about the financial figures are a convenient excuse.

        • by dryeo ( 100693 )

          The conservatives have been running ads around here for months telling us about all the free money available to us. I hate to think of how much money has been wasted on the ad campaign by these assholes who claim to be financially conservative yet pissed away a surplus by cutting taxes and increasing spending. Taxes should have been slowly cut as the national debt was decreased without massive spending increases.

      • by alexandre ( 53 ) *

        Though that only worked because of the minority status of the current "government".

        • by mevets ( 322601 )

          Its a bit trickier than that. In a majority government, there is little to be gained by lying and being miscreants. Shy of a mutiny within your majority party, your legislation won't be defeated, so why risk your neck lying or abusing your privilege.

          In a minority, it is really the same situation, only more-so. It is difficult to make one-sided legislation into law; so in theory your legislation should be better balanced, with more facts and figures.

          That is where the last government fell down so badly.

    • Re:Credit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by realityimpaired ( 1668397 ) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @04:00PM (#35624230)

      The public financing laws in Canada are responsible for this, not the politicians. Any donation over $20 is a matter of public record (and can't be anonymous), politicians are not allowed to accept more than the personal contribution limit ($1184 last time I checked), and it's illegal for a corporate entity to make a campaign contribution.

      The US could really benefit from rules like that.

  • Seriously. Canada, Australia and the UK all currently have minority governments/hung parliaments. In Australia and the UK particularly, this is a very rare occurrence (at the national/Federal level). From what I've heard, it's a bit more common in Canada though.

    Anyway I totally agree with the 'all as bad as each other' sentiment. In the Federal election last year here (Australia) I honestly found myself completely disliking EVERY candidate for one reason or another ... first election I've ever felt that way

    • Maybe there have been one or two more minorities in Canada than in the UK over the last hundred odd years, but in general, because both countries have FPTP electoral systems and both have similar parties covering similar areas of the party spectrum, you usually get similar results.

      • by Ciggy ( 692030 )
        Having PR is not guaranteed to be much better - see, for example, the Alabama paradox [] - than FPTP. There are further problems with some PR methods (for example STV) whereby if a candidate had won a seat, if their popularity had been larger they would not have won the seat! (A couple of chapters in "Archimedes' Revenge" by Paul Hoffman explain the paradoxes).
    • In the USA, the house is held by one party, the senate by the other. Isn't that essentially a minority government? It certainly functions like one - a single party cannot force a bill to pass, all legislation needs approval by at least some members of two or more different parties.
      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        One difference is that in a parliamentary system, if the budget (or any money bill) doesn't pass the government falls and the people usually get to vote.

    • by kent_eh ( 543303 )
      Probably because none of the parties seem to be able to come up with a platform, or slate of candidates that appeals to the majority of voters.
      That said, I still want to see continued minority governments, until someone demonstrates that they can co-operate with the other parties for the common good of the nation.
      Perhaps a more narrow minority, though. One where any opposition party can hold the balance on any day.

      Coalition isn't a dirty word, It implies being able to put aside your differences and pla
      • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

        Probably because none of the parties seem to be able to come up with a platform, or slate of candidates that appeals to the majority of voters.

        Not a problem in the UK: they've consistently had majority governments with around 20-25% of the votes for years. This time the choices were universally so bad that no party could even get that few people to vote for them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 26, 2011 @01:18PM (#35623100)

    They can fail a thousand times, they only need to pass once. They will probably try again in a year and keep trying till people get tired of hearing it or they are distracted by something else until it gets passed and then the government will just refuse to repeal it or drag it out till people forget about the old ways.

    What they need to hurry up and pass is a bill that makes it a law that ALL bills made past that point must have an expiration date where it must come up for review at least once every 10 years and if they miss the review or deny it, it is automatically taken off the books and will put a 10 year time table for all the current laws on the books so they must review each and every law passed and renew/revoke them as needed and check them again every 10 years and make sure they votes are on public record on every issue.

    It would really cut down on the bad, useless and redundant laws already there and force politicians to reevaluate their laws every 10 years under the public scrutiny and their vote will be public knowledge.

    • That's not what happened though.
      The bill was never voted on. It was on the table, but because parliament is being dissolved this week, they need to wait until after the election before they can vote on it.
      Not only that though, because it's a new session of parliament, they would need to introduce the bill again and start the whole process again.
      An article was published a while ago here [] about this problem.
      • Maybe. But the gp's proposed solution is still a good one. Laws shouldn't stay on the books for longer than the generation that passed them without the consent the future generations constrained by them.

  • by The Archon V2.0 ( 782634 ) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @01:31PM (#35623168)
    Their stance on copyright and open government is universes better than what Harper shoves down our throats every few years. So as long as they're the same or better than him on the other issues (I fail to see how they could be worse at this point) they're an improvement. []

    • by Rinnon ( 1474161 )
      I plan to do the same. I think I'm even fortunate enough to have someone running in my riding, so they'll definitely get my vote. They'll never get elected, but I don't know if that's the point. If they can get enough votes that the other parties look at them and say "Hey, what are they doing to get all those votes? Maybe if we did what they do, we could take those votes back." And naturally, if suddenly the Liberal Party had the same policies as Pirate Party regarding Copyright, they'd have won my vote.
      • I plan to do the same. I think I'm even fortunate enough to have someone running in my riding, so they'll definitely get my vote.

        Yeah, turns out the party leader's in my riding (Edmonton Centre) and they're having some sort of everyone-welcome planning meeting this weekend. I think I'll go and see how it is.

        Anyway, their candidates: []
        Which has a link to a handy check-what-riding-I'm-in tool: []

    • by alexandre ( 53 ) *

      As a member, I wish they'd show up in my riding too, I guess at some point we'll have to do it ourself :P

      • As a member, I wish they'd show up in my riding too, I guess at some point we'll have to do it ourself :P

        True enough. I'm glad to have someone else in my riding to do it for me, though! I have no head for public stuff.

  • This law would be superfluous anyway, it's already illegal to distribute and sell anything copyrighted without consent. Trying to pass this bill is wasting taxpayers' money.
  • Not in Canada now, but will nevertheless be voting for Libertarians once again. If there is no Libertarian candidate in the riding, will vote Conservative.

    • by selven ( 1556643 )

      There's always the Libertarian-like Freedom Party [].

    • by dryeo ( 100693 )

      Do you always vote for the most fiscally irresponsible party? Or do you just like a party that reduces individual rights and wants to enlarge the prison population because the crime rate isn't dropping fast enough?
      This is what always gets me about libertarians, they preach freedom and vote the opposite.

      • I won't vote for any party that promotes anti-business agenda in any way ever.

        Individual rights only make sense when they include right to make your own living and when the fruits of own labor are not stolen 'for the common good'.

        Common good depends on ability of people to do business freely.

        • by dryeo ( 100693 )

          As someone who owns a small business, things have just got worse for me in the last few years. The conservatives just seem to be big business friendly and big business seems to want to take my rights away.

          • I agree with the sentiment.

            That's why my first vote goes for libertarians.

            However I will never in my life vote for anything NDP, that's impossible, absolutely unthinkable.

            The Bloc is useless, they are also French, so they can go to hell, they have socialist agenda.

            I cannot stand the Liberals, they are dead to me.

            The only sensible choice is libertarian. In absence of that choice I would rather go with Conservatives.

  • by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @02:09PM (#35623406)

    I'm one of the very large group -- one might say the majority, by the way -- who refuses to vote. This is another great example of why that's the case.

    Certainly each party promisses something different, and has differing priorities and differing desires. But in the end, the actuall end-result difference between one party and another is totally and complete insignificant. A few more dollars in this direction, a few less in that direction.

    In the end, at the end of the year, my taxes sumto roughly the same amount plus or minus 5%, the roads have roughly the same number of holes, there's about the same amount of construction, public transit still begs for money that I don't think it should have, the same number of hookers are on the same corners, and the same rocket-powered homeless person manages to get from the theatre performance to the stadium faster than I can.

    With no difference of any substance, I care, but don't see any value in voting.

    • by dryeo ( 100693 )

      Do what I usually do, vote for the Rhino's or the marijuana party or the pirate party. Just actually vote to make it clear that you don't support any of the main parties.

      • Spoiling my ballot is the way to do that. Not voting for one. And you're correct. We should all go and spoil our ballots.

    • Here is the value:

      Since in power, here is a small list of Harper Government actions...
      Shut down parliament to stay in power (more than once)
      Obscured access to information, removed media access rights to politicians
      Puts out favorable press releases saying "Harper Government" instead of "Government of Canada"
      Forged documents to cancel funding
      Withheld information about F35 and prison program costs from parliament
      Trying to copy America in ways that even Americans are learning were huge mistakes
      Fired Ve
      • I was here for the G20, it went perfectly. In a city of over 7 million persons, and hundreds of cultures, nothing actually went wrong. That's awesome.
        But that ultimately highlights my scenario. You can list hundreds of things that this government has done. You can't tell me how the other government would have done in the same years. More importantly, you can't tell me how your list actually affected me in the last few years or in the next few years -- before it changes again. But I can try.

        Shutting do

      • by fritsd ( 924429 )
        With such a list, I wonder what your previous government's stance was on the ACTA treaty (Or was Canada not a party in that).
    • by thechink ( 182419 ) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @04:38PM (#35624452)

      With no difference of any substance, I care, but don't see any value in voting.

      That's copout to not get involved.

      If Diefenbaker was never elected the Avro Arrow might never have been cancelled
      If Pearson was never elected we might not have Universal Health Care
      If Trudeau was never elected we might not have the Just Society and re-patriated constitution
      If Mulroney was never elected we might not have Free Trade

      Are you saying that these elected men had no substance? Their policies (good or bad) shaped what Canada is today and their influence on everyday life was huge.

      It's easy to get cynical with today's politics but I'd rather have a say in what goes on (not matter how small) than no say at all.

      Some day one of those elected leaders is going to do something that will greatly affect you, what are you going to say then?

      • And if the avro arrow never had been cancelled, we'd be the strongest military might on earth, and all would bow before us. Or, we'd be a substantial military might, and the usa wouldn't be comfortable next to us, and we wouldn't have the largest open unpatrolled free border in the world. Flip a coin.

        and if we didn't have health care, we'd be like so many other countries in the world, and we'd have less tax and buy our own anyway. or we'd have 10% more health-related problems and we'd have ads for hospit

        • Some day, IF one of those elected leaders does something that greatly affects me, THEN you'll be correct. But for the last 32 years, you've been wrong.

          Have I?

          In the last 32 years we've seen the re-patriation of our constitution and the implementation of a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That's had a huge impact on Canadian law and rules that govern us. That affects you.

          In 1988 an entire election was fought over the Free Trade Agreement with the USA. John Turner's Liberals opposed it. So the FTA was not a given. Our economy would be much different today if it wasn't implemented. Yes that would affect you too.

          Then there's NAFTA with Chretien, Paul Martin's

    • What pisses me off about voting in "democracies" dominated by political parties is that you're not given the choice to vote on individual issues. Instead, you can only vote on groups of stances on issues in the form of political parties.

      e.g. Choose One:

      Party #1

      • * Lower Taxes
      • * Daily ass-rapings for everyone

      Party #2

      • * More Accessible Education
      • * Daily mouth-rapings for everyone

      Party #3

      • * More open government
      • * Daily genital mutilation for everyone

      Gee. Great options. :-\

      Minority governments in Canada end

  • by dogsbreath ( 730413 ) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @05:26PM (#35624822)

    The upside to minority governments is that they get so busy fighting and posturing that they have little left to go about interfering with their countrymen. Anything that gets passed has to be done with some consensus from the other parties. Eh, can't get along well with others then down you come.

    We get a regular chance to vote the b*stards out, which of course is the main purpose of any election: vote out the incumbent before they get too ensconced in their positions of power. Even if they get back in as a minority, they still have to mind themselves or they have to go back and roll the dice again.

    The only downside is the cost of each election. That is an issue... but a lot of out of work folks make some money working temp for Elections Canada. Better than other money hand-out programs.

    Canadian campaigns tend to be limited in length, from min 36 days to the record of 74 days. Usually about six or seven weeks. No year long brain damaging onslaught of political party dogma and drivel.

    And we mark paper ballots with pencil. No voting machines. Close results have meaningful and accurate recounts.

    Here's hoping for another minority government! Cheers!

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire