Canadian music publishers sing from SOPA playbook on Bill C-11?

The Canadian Music Publishers Association wants provisions akin to the United States’ Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) included in Canada’s proposed copyright act Bill C-11, according to an Internet law and privacy expert.

The CMPA’s proposal to the Bill C-11 Committee calls for Web site blocking provisions included in the bill, said Michael Geist, Canada research chair of Internet and e-commerce at the University of Ottawa. “Yesterday the Canadian Music Publishers Association added to the demand list by pulling out the SOPA playbook and calling for Web site blocking provisions,” Geist said in his blog.

He said the CMPA admitted their proposal bears a similarity to SOPA and Protect IP Act (PIPA), but stressed that it was narrower than the U.S. bills.

In their presentation the music publishers said Internet service providers take an active role in shaping the Internet traffic on their systems and therefore the CMPA wants to “create a positive obligation for service providers to prevent the use of their services to infringe copyright by offshore sites.”

“If the actual wording is as broad as the proposal (the CMPA acknowledged that it has an alternate, more limited version), this would open the door to blocking thousands of legitimate sites,” Geist warned.

Michael McCarty, president of CMPA, said Bill C-11 will be destructive to music creators and rights holders. The bill does not address the biggest piracy problem of all, “corporate music piracy,” McCarty said in a statement on the CMPA Facebook page.

McCarty said that Internet and file sharing sites have wreaked havoc on music publishers. “This powerful combination spawned a decade-long, money-drenched ‘frat party’ enjoyed by entrepreneurs, tech start-ups, venture capitalists, telecoms, Internet search engines and hardware manufacturers.”

“Creators and copyright owners were not invited to the party, but ended up footing the bill,” he said.

But Geist said CMPA’s proposals and others such as the Canadian Independent Music Association’s (CIMA) call for an iPod tax and liability risk for ISPs and social sites would constitute a total overhaul of Bill C-11. “Taken together, the proposals would require Internet providers to block access to foreign sites, take down content without court oversight, and disclose subscriber information without a warrant.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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