Nov 28, 2020
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Headline, Industry News

New bill targets video piracy

OTTAWA – The federal government has introduced a bill that, if passed, would make it a crime to camcord movies in theaters, bringing a punishment of up to five years in prison for movie pirates and allowing for the seizure of any equipment used in the crime.

Bill C-59 was announced jointly on Friday by Heritage Minister Beverley Oda and Industry Minister Maxime Bernier.

"The existing situation is untenable for the film industry," said Bernier. "The government is taking note and correcting the situation. Canada is, therefore, ensuring that our laws protect the legitimate film industry and continue to be relevant in a fast-changing technological environment."

The bill proposes to amend the Criminal Code, making it illegal to camcord a movie without the theater manager’s consent, bringing up to two years in prison. The penalty jumps to five years if it can be proven that the offender intended to sell, rent or otherwise distribute copies.

The bill has the support of the NDP and the Bloc, but the Conservatives will be hard-pressed to guide it through all three readings and into law before the House recesses for the summer. Parliament is due to go on break June 8, though its session could extend to June 22.

Canada’s largest indie distributor was quick to cheer the move. "We are delighted," said Alliance Atlantis Communications CEO John Bailey in a statement. AAC’s distribution wing carries titles from U.S. mini-majors including New Line and Miramax. "This is an important step towards positive changes to protect the rights of Canadian exhibitors, filmmakers, producers, directors and distributors, and we applaud the government’s efforts."

Camcording is currently illegal only if it can be proven that copies are being made to generate income, rather than for personal use. Complaining that intent is impossible to prove, cinema owners say their only recourse has been to eject offenders under trespassing laws, which do not allow them to confiscate the equipment or recordings.

As a result, exhibitors, Hollywood studios and U.S. lawmakers have long been pressing for changes in Canada that would make it easier to punish movie pirates.

Before a parliamentary committee in mid-May, Douglas Firth of the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association said lax laws were enabling widespread camcording in theaters and that Canada was becoming a source of bootleg DVDs around the world. He used the opportunity to argue for Criminal Code changes on behalf of the Hollywood studios his association represents.

"It’s a huge concern that, within hours of opening a movie in Canada, it’s in 130 countries illegally," said Firth at the time.

Watermark technology on the original prints shows that the unauthorized camcording is occurring in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia, he added.

Hollywood studios lose $243 million in revenue annually from pirated DVDs sold in Canada, according to a report released in mid-May by the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network, representing Canadian intellectual property rights holders.

Oda acknowledged Friday that the federal government had done no independent analysis of the toll of piracy before tabling Bill C-59. She estimated, though, that Canada accounted for between 20% and 25% of all global film piracy.

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Headline, Industry News

New bill targets video piracy

OTTAWA – The federal government has introduced a bill that, if passed, would make it a crime to camcord movies in theaters, bringing a punishment of up to five years in prison for movie pirates and allowing for the seizure of any equipment used in the crime.

Bill C-59 was announced jointly on Friday by Heritage Minister Beverley Oda and Industry Minister Maxime Bernier.

"The existing situation is untenable for the film industry," said Bernier. "The government is taking note and correcting the situation. Canada is, therefore, ensuring that our laws protect the legitimate film industry and continue to be relevant in a fast-changing technological environment."

The bill proposes to amend the Criminal Code, making it illegal to camcord a movie without the theater manager’s consent, bringing up to two years in prison. The penalty jumps to five years if it can be proven that the offender intended to sell, rent or otherwise distribute copies.

The bill has the support of the NDP and the Bloc, but the Conservatives will be hard-pressed to guide it through all three readings and into law before the House recesses for the summer. Parliament is due to go on break June 8, though its session could extend to June 22.

Canada’s largest indie distributor was quick to cheer the move. "We are delighted," said Alliance Atlantis Communications CEO John Bailey in a statement. AAC’s distribution wing carries titles from U.S. mini-majors including New Line and Miramax. "This is an important step towards positive changes to protect the rights of Canadian exhibitors, filmmakers, producers, directors and distributors, and we applaud the government’s efforts."

Camcording is currently illegal only if it can be proven that copies are being made to generate income, rather than for personal use. Complaining that intent is impossible to prove, cinema owners say their only recourse has been to eject offenders under trespassing laws, which do not allow them to confiscate the equipment or recordings.

As a result, exhibitors, Hollywood studios and U.S. lawmakers have long been pressing for changes in Canada that would make it easier to punish movie pirates.

Before a parliamentary committee in mid-May, Douglas Firth of the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association said lax laws were enabling widespread camcording in theaters and that Canada was becoming a source of bootleg DVDs around the world. He used the opportunity to argue for Criminal Code changes on behalf of the Hollywood studios his association represents.

"It’s a huge concern that, within hours of opening a movie in Canada, it’s in 130 countries illegally," said Firth at the time.

Watermark technology on the original prints shows that the unauthorized camcording is occurring in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia, he added.

Hollywood studios lose $243 million in revenue annually from pirated DVDs sold in Canada, according to a report released in mid-May by the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network, representing Canadian intellectual property rights holders.

Oda acknowledged Friday that the federal government had done no independent analysis of the toll of piracy before tabling Bill C-59. She estimated, though, that Canada accounted for between 20% and 25% of all global film piracy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Headline, Industry News

New bill targets video piracy

OTTAWA – The federal government has introduced a bill that, if passed, would make it a crime to camcord movies in theaters, bringing a punishment of up to five years in prison for movie pirates and allowing for the seizure of any equipment used in the crime.

Bill C-59 was announced jointly on Friday by Heritage Minister Beverley Oda and Industry Minister Maxime Bernier.

"The existing situation is untenable for the film industry," said Bernier. "The government is taking note and correcting the situation. Canada is, therefore, ensuring that our laws protect the legitimate film industry and continue to be relevant in a fast-changing technological environment."

The bill proposes to amend the Criminal Code, making it illegal to camcord a movie without the theater manager’s consent, bringing up to two years in prison. The penalty jumps to five years if it can be proven that the offender intended to sell, rent or otherwise distribute copies.

The bill has the support of the NDP and the Bloc, but the Conservatives will be hard-pressed to guide it through all three readings and into law before the House recesses for the summer. Parliament is due to go on break June 8, though its session could extend to June 22.

Canada’s largest indie distributor was quick to cheer the move. "We are delighted," said Alliance Atlantis Communications CEO John Bailey in a statement. AAC’s distribution wing carries titles from U.S. mini-majors including New Line and Miramax. "This is an important step towards positive changes to protect the rights of Canadian exhibitors, filmmakers, producers, directors and distributors, and we applaud the government’s efforts."

Camcording is currently illegal only if it can be proven that copies are being made to generate income, rather than for personal use. Complaining that intent is impossible to prove, cinema owners say their only recourse has been to eject offenders under trespassing laws, which do not allow them to confiscate the equipment or recordings.

As a result, exhibitors, Hollywood studios and U.S. lawmakers have long been pressing for changes in Canada that would make it easier to punish movie pirates.

Before a parliamentary committee in mid-May, Douglas Firth of the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association said lax laws were enabling widespread camcording in theaters and that Canada was becoming a source of bootleg DVDs around the world. He used the opportunity to argue for Criminal Code changes on behalf of the Hollywood studios his association represents.

"It’s a huge concern that, within hours of opening a movie in Canada, it’s in 130 countries illegally," said Firth at the time.

Watermark technology on the original prints shows that the unauthorized camcording is occurring in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia, he added.

Hollywood studios lose $243 million in revenue annually from pirated DVDs sold in Canada, according to a report released in mid-May by the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network, representing Canadian intellectual property rights holders.

Oda acknowledged Friday that the federal government had done no independent analysis of the toll of piracy before tabling Bill C-59. She estimated, though, that Canada accounted for between 20% and 25% of all global film piracy.

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