Canadian Library Association Disappointed, Concerned with New Copyright Legislation

    OTTAWA, June 18 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Library
Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques (CLA) is continuing to
express disappointment and concern with the government's newly announced
copyright legislation, Bill C-61.
    "There are many troubling aspects to this proposed legislation," says CLA
President Ken Roberts, "and unless there are many substantial changes, this
should not become law."
    CLA is disappointed that in many places Bill C-61 appears to give users
some rights, but overall takes away more than it gives.
    "The much ballyhooed 'giving the consumer more rights' is
smoke-and-mirrors," Mr. Roberts says. "Prohibiting access to the tools that
give users their access to legally acquired information is simply wrong."
    The proposed legislation gives rightsholders the power to override users'
statutory rights either by contract or by the application of digital locks.
CLA believes overriding users' rights is not in consumers' best interests.
    "Turning Canadians into criminals because they break a digital lock so
they can legally use a music, video or document file is Catch-22," says
Mr. Roberts. "We shouldn't make owning a hacksaw illegal; we should ensure
theft is illegal."
    For a teenager, the criminal risk involved in shoplifting a CD would be
safer rather than circumventing digital rights management (DRM) software on a
CD they purchased to put on their iPod.
    Some aspects of the legislation are unenforceable and will simply be
ignored, and others miss opportunities to improve access to information. One
example is the missed opportunity on perceptual disabilities, where the Bill
allows users to circumvent DRM software, but the provisions for allowing the
creation or import of the technology to do so are inadequate.
    Another example is loaning of digital content by libraries. Bill C-61
ignores the fact that the 2004 CCH Supreme Court Judgment already allows
Canadian libraries to do desktop delivery of interlibrary loan. Bill C-61
requires libraries to lock up interlibrary loans with DRM tools, something
that most libraries would not have the resources to accomplish. Bill C-61
alone would force many libraries back to delivering interlibrary loan via
paper copies. "On loaning of digital content, C-61 attempts to move Canada
back to the 20th Century," says Mr. Roberts. "This is clearly not workable."
    CLA is also concerned that some of its issues are to be dealt with in
regulations, not legislation. "We don't know enough to determine the real
impact of this legislation on Canada's 21 million library users," Mr. Roberts
says. "Bill C-61 attempts to provide balance, but misses the boat for ordinary

    The Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques
(CLA) is Canada's largest national and broad-based library association,
representing the interests of public, academic, school and special libraries,
professional librarians and library workers, and all those concerned about
enhancing the quality of life of Canadians through information and literacy.

For further information:

For further information: For media interviews, please contact: Ken
Roberts, Chief Librarian, Hamilton Public Library, (905) 546-3215,; CLA office contact information: Don Butcher, Executive
Director, (613) 232-9625 ext. 306,

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Canadian Library Association (CLA)

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