Joan Ramsay, president of ESAC, praised the measure:
It’s simple: Every time someone acquires an illegal copy of a video game, money, in turn, is not going to those Canadians who work so hard to develop and publish games. That’s money that cannot be reinvested in creativity, job growth, and industry development. Copyright reform is essential to strengthen our competitiveness as an industry.
But not every Canadian is so pleased with the proposed new law. David Shipley of the Kings County Record writes:
I’m not opposed to making illegal to download copyrighted music, movies and video games… But I’m dead set against any law that would make it illegal to take music from legally-purchased CDs and put it on your own personal computer or MP3 player – that’s fair use.
If the Tories include fair-use killing provisions in the updated copyright law, I hope it is defeated either in the House of Commons or by the courts.
A report in the Canadian Press labels the bill controversial:
The long-awaited changes [to the bill] are a hot political potato for [Industry Minister] Prentice, who must find a middle ground between business interests who want strict protection for intellectual property, including recordings and films, and Internet users accustomed to downloading material free.
There’s speculation is that Mr. Prentice will try to come down the middle as much as possible, imposing a $500 fine on individuals caught downloading copyrighted files… The video game industry wants the law strengthened to allow Internet service providers to monitor high-speed downloads and shut down transfers containing unauthorized copies of games and other files.
University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist is concerned that the legislation will be too restrictive – like the USA’s:
I expect Minister Prentice to characterize the law as a Made in Canada solution, yet the reality will be that the key provisions are born in the USA. In doing so, the new law will have serious negative effects for Canadian consumers who could be locked out of their own purchased content, as well as for privacy, education, and research.
As GamePolitics has previously reported, here in the US, the ESA has been complaining for years about what it views as lax Canadian copyright protections. Yet, some officials north of the border are loathe to implement a Canadian version of the US’s consumer-unfriendly Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA).