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Canada to Crack Down on Theater Camming
June 25, 2007
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Canada's anti-camcording legislation has received royal assent. Royal assent means that the debate is over and a bill was agreed on and will be implemented into law. One of the more controversial aspects of the law was how fast it got to this status in the first place. The speed was very impressive in legislative terms. On June 2nd, the bill was tabled. It received royal assent in a blistering 22 days from the day it was first introduced.

The content of the bill had few people disagreeing or fighting the legislation. It may be why it received support from all the parties in the first place. On the other hand, it was the way the bill came to be that has some scratching their heads.

For instance, the bill amended the criminal code which made bringing a camera into a theatre and recording a motion picture illegal. Isn't that already illegal? In fact, such an act was illegal before the bill came to be. That admission was made by none other than the justice minister himself, who was quoted, "I do point out to people that the country is not completely bereft of laws in this area."

But that was before the governor of California paid a visit to Canada. The tune was then changed dramatically and the Minister of Canadian Heritage was quoted as saying, "Canada's new government will take action to put a stop to the problem of film piracy and will bring forward amendments to Canada's Criminal Code."

So why the sudden change? Some theatre owners suggest that there was a gap in the criminal code that says that a theatre owner can only evict someone from the theatre if that person was caught with a camera. If any charges were to be laid, the owner must prove that the recording would be for commercial distribution.

So the new law, according to Bill C-59, states "A person who, without the consent of the theatre manager, records in a movie theatre a performance of a cinematographic work [...] is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years; or is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction."

The bill also states, "A person who, without the consent of the theatre manager, records in a movie theatre a performance of a cinematographic work [...] or its soundtrack for the purpose of the sale, rental or other commercial distribution of a copy of the cinematographic work is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years; or is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction."

The Canadian arm of the MPAA, the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association (CMPDA), was pleased with the bill's passage.


"We commend The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson, Minister of Justice, and the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry for taking decisive action to combat the most significant threat facing our industry," said Doug Frith, President of the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association. "We look forward to the introduction of the bill on Friday and to ensuring Canada has a law to deter criminals who steal films by taking the images right off the screen."

Another controversial aspect of the bill is the origin. Many would say that it's a rather obvious result of intense lobbying from south of the border, mainly by the American movie industry. Of course, the MPAA, with help from other sources, pushed several puzzling numbers.

It took about 5 months - from pressure by the movie industry to the bill receiving royal assent - for the Canadian law to be passed.


This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: Copyright Issues
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: International
Technology News :: Security

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