What Bill C-11 could mean for digital content
Posted: March 29, 2012 | 9:50 ET by Tessa Wegert
It's called Bill C-11 and in many ways it's Canada's version of the infamous US House of Representatives and Senate Internet Privacy Bills that have sparked such conflict in recent months. South of the border the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) have media conglomerates and technology companies going head-to-head, the former battling against pirated content and the latter combatting what it perceives to be censorship. Wikipedia may not go dark for us, but our proposed Bill C-11 isnít any less controversial.
The Canadian Copyright Reform Bill includes provisions similar in nature to SOPA and PIPA, namely "digital lock" and anti-piracy regulations. Both here and in the US film studios, record companies, and other businesses that have suffered financial loss due to digital content piracy are eager to crack down on this practice. Although the online enablers targeted by the Bills are largely sites that operate overseas, there could be implications for domestic sites as well Ė including legitimate user-generated content sites like YouTube.
In an online world that's increasingly reliant on content sharing, one has to wonder if the Bills will do more harm than good. While they stand to mark offending sites as liable, their language might also result in wrongful accusations. Meanwhile, the fear of a potential lawsuit could begin to affect technology investments and stunt the growth of the sector.
From a marketing perspective, it seems a bit illogical for companies that support the Bills to release clips of their films, music videos, and television shows as part of their online ad campaigns in the hope that they'll go viral. There's a fine line between piracy and online sharing, and once content is released onto the Web it becomes very difficult to manage. Is it possible to have the best of both worlds, in which content can be shared en mass without infringing on copyrights? Time will tell.
To learn more about Bill C-11, visit the following sites:
House of Commons of Canada
Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa
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Tessa Wegert is a veteran media strategist with a background in media planning and buying, content development, ad copywriting, and campaign management. As a prominent industry writer she has been covering digital marketing and technology for leading newspapers and trade publications for over a decade. Connect with her on Twitter (@tessawegert) and LinkedIn.