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Summary of First Reading (June 12, 2008) of Bill C-61 by Denver Gingerich. All page numbers refer to the PDF version of the bill. There is also an HTML version. The sections of the bill that each point summarizes (listed in brackets) can be found in either version. "TM" means "technological measure"; see Technological measures for details.

This document summarizes most of Bill C-61, but omits sections of the bill that contain obvious wording fixes or complicated payment directives that would not apply to most consumers (such as section 30.03).

This document is not intended to support or criticize particular sections of the bill, but only to provide an informative summary.

This summary is also available in OpenDocument format and PDF.


Copyright owner rights, limitations

  1. moral rights (attribution) added and made waivable (17.1)
  2. term extension for unpublished audio recordings (up to 99 years) (23(1))
  3. copyright owner can assign someone to protect their rights and represent them at legal proceedings (-36, -37, +41.22)
  4. 3-year limitation on retroactive litigation (41.24)


  1. person who orders a photograph is no longer the copyright owner, the photographer is (-13(2))
  2. purchased photograph can be used for personal purposes (32.2(1)(f))

Private use exemptions

  1. none of these apply if the work has a TM or if you accepted an agreement saying you can't (29.21(1)(c), (2))
  2. can copy "book, newspaper, periodical or videocassette" onto "another medium or device" (29.21(1))
  3. can copy sound recording onto "a medium or device" (one per device) (29.22(1))
    1. section 80 already allows private audio copying, but we're paying with CD levies (section 81)
  4. time shifting of a TV- or radio- (not Internet-) broadcasted work permitted, but can only watch it once (29.23(1))
  5. damages exactly $500 for private purposes; no need for a court to decide what amount of damages is fair (nice for industry) (38.1(1.1))
  6. damages can be reduced to $200 ("I didn't know") but not if for private use (38.1(2))

Educational institutions

  1. none of these exemptions override anti-circumvention laws (27(2.1)(f))
  2. educational institutions may copy copyrighted material to students; for distance education (30.01(3)(a)-(c))
  3. educational institutions may not keep copyrighted material for more than 30 days after students get their marks for the course (30.01(5)(a))
  4. educational institutions must take steps to reduce access to only students, and to make sure they can't save it (30.01(5)(b),(c))
  5. students must not circumvent the steps (27(2.1)(f))
  6. educational institutions may make digital copies of Access Copyright works, but must "take steps" to make sure it's not used outside the institution and is not printed more than once (30.02)
  7. if copyright holder says digital copies are not allowed, #6 is not allowed (30.02(5))
  8. educational institutions may copy or perform Internet material, but not if there's a notice saying you can't ("All rights reserved"?) (30.04)
  9. no statutory damages may be awarded against a school that makes a digital copy of a paper work (but they can be awarded damages as decided by the court) (38.1(6)(d))
  10. "I didn't know" - if educational institution circumvented TM, only an injuction is allowed (no damages) (41.19)

Libraries and loaning

  1. more leeway to determine when to copy an original if the format it's in is becoming obsolete (30.1(1)(c))
  2. digital copies may be lent, but only if they have TMs, at most 1 copy can be printed, and it cannot be used after 5 days (30.2(5.01))

ISPs and web hosts

  1. ISPs and web hosts not liable for infringement done on their network or on their servers (31.1)
  2. Notice and notice, $5,000-10,000 fine if you don't pass on the notice (41.25, 41.26)
  3. Caching copyrighted material exempted - "Google caching clause" (41.27)

Technological measures (TMs)

  1. "circumvent" includes "to avoid [or] bypass" (41)
  2. TM is "any effective technology...that...controls access to a work...or restricts the doing of any act referred to in section 3" (41)
    1. examples of possible TMs: CSS on 99% of DVDs, AACS on 99% of Blu-ray discs, MediaMax CD-3 on many audio CDs, Fairplay and Windows Media DRM on most of the music in stores such as iTunes and Puretracks
  3. Not allowed: circumvention of TMs (41.1(1)(a)), offering services to circumvent TMs (41.1(1)(b)), distributing/providing tools that circumvent TMs (41.1(1)(c))
  4. Damages for circumvention are same as for copying - p. 32 (41.1(2))
  5. Damages for providing circumvention tools is as much as if the maximum amount of infringing was done (41.1(4))

TM Exemptions

  1. For law enforcement (41.1(1)(a)-(c)) (41.11)
  2. For program interoperability (41.1(1)(a)-(c)) - p. 33-34 (41.12)
  3. For encryption research (41.1(1)(a),(c), not (b)) - p. 35 (41.13)
  4. For privacy verification (41.1(1)(a)-(c)) - p. 35 (41.14)
  5. Security assessment (41.1(1)(a)-(c)) - p. 36 (41.15)
  6. Perceptual disability (41.1(1)(a)-(c)) - p. 37 (41.16)
  7. Broadcasting (41.1(1)(a), not (b) or (c)) - p. 37 (41.17)
  8. Provisions for Governor in Council adding exemptions - p. 38 (41.2)

TM damages, jailtime

  1. Damage reduction for "I didn't know" - p. 38 (41.18)
  2. Jail time and fines for commercial circumvention - up to $1,000,000 and 5 years in jail - p. 45 (42(3.1))

Rights management information

  1. no circumvention (41.21(1))
  2. same damages as circumventing TMs, distributing circumvention tools (41.21(2),(3))
  3. RMI is information that "is attached to" a work and "identifies...the work or its author" or "concerns the terms or conditions of the work's...use" (41.21(4))
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