Speaking Points — Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
Speaking Notes for the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages on the occasion of a News Conference on Copyright
September 29, 2011
I'll start my comments by thanking bitHeads for hosting us here today.
We actually chose this spot to do this announcement to reintroduce our Copyright Modernization Act to underline the fact that this legislation is about creators; it's about consumers.
But at its central point, it's also indeed about jobs. Our Government has said that we want to focus on the economy in this fall session of Parliament, and this is a central piece of our economic plan going forward. It has to be part of Canada's economic plan to protect investment, to protect Canadian jobs, and to make sure that our intellectual property regime is indeed at the front edge of the world's expectations.
So we're seeking passage of this bill because we want to keep our campaign commitment to Canadians. In our last Speech from the Throne, our Government committed to quickly presenting this long-awaited bill. Today, we are respecting that commitment.
This legislation, which was tabled in Parliament at 10 o'clock this morning, follows one of the largest consultations of its kind in Canadian history, including testimony from 75 witnesses who appeared before a special legislative committee this past year.
It reflects what Canadians already know in the digital world. Most importantly, this bill is indeed about jobs and our economic future. The pillar of this bill is jobs and the future of our economy.
Canada's digital economy is about five percent of our country's GDP. That's nearly $50 billion in direct economic impact for Canadian industries and nearly one million jobs across the country.
For Canadian businesses, copyright matters.
Copyright matters to software manufacturers — software manufacturers who depend on having an intellectual property regime that protects their interests.
Copyright matters to 250 entertainment software companies that employ 14,000 Canadians across the country and deliver $1.7 billion annually to our economy.
Copyright matters to Canada's film and television industries, which create 160,000 jobs in our economy and deliver $5.2 billion to our GDP.
Copyright matters to people at the very venue where we're sitting today. Canadian companies like bitHeads, which has over 16 years of experience, producing top quality mobile apps — for companies around the world.
We need a strong copyright regime to fuel our economy and to create jobs. We're committed to ensuring these companies and these industries have the protections that they need and the law that they require to thrive and grow.
These industries are built on a strong copyright regime that enriches our economy and those who create jobs. We are committed to ensuring that these industries have the protection and the laws they need to develop in the future.
Copyright modernization is also necessary for creators, for artists, teachers, and students who create cultural content every single day of their lives.
This legislation will make it clear to Canadians — to everyday Canadians — that technology is at their disposal and free to be used. Yes, you can use songs on your mobile phone. Yes, you can buy a CD and shift it from a laptop to a desktop to an iPod. And you can do so free from persecution. Yes, you can make a video of your friends and put it on YouTube. And, yes, you can enjoy the opportunities that new digital technology provides you with.
A centerpiece of this legislation, as well, is to make sure that individual everyday Canadians understand that the technology they buy is free for them to use and they can format shift and time shift and use the technology in the ways in which they choose.
This legislation provides clarity for Canadians in that sense, but it also makes sure that piracy is illegal in Canada. And it also makes sure that creators have the right to protect their property with digital locks and digital protection measures.
So this bill will make it clear which technology will be available to Canadians, and it is legislation that is balanced between the interests and needs of creators and consumers.
Canadians deserve strong copyright laws to protect our digital industries — the same laws that have already passed in the States and Europe — and this bill is about common sense. It will make our copyright laws forward-looking, flexible, and in line with international standards.
A key part of this bill, as well, that I would take time to note is that Canada's intellectual property regime has not been updated for a very long time. A good part of the reason for that is the politics inherent in a piece of legislation this complicated that has so many competing interests.
What we want to do with this legislation — and it's a cornerstone of this legislation — is mandate that every five years, the Parliament of Canada has to — by law, regardless of political pressures, regardless of the sometime weakness of politicians — re-examine our intellectual property regime to make sure that we stay at the leading edge of the world's intellectual property standards.
We can't allow this kind of lag to happen again. We can't allow new technologies to come along and for Canada not stay up with the times. We can't allow new technology to come along and for consumers to be left behind and for there to be confusion.
We need and deserve to have the best intellectual property regime in the world, and the five-year mandatory parliamentary review of this legislation ensures that Canada will stay on the cutting-edge to create jobs so we can invest in our economy and continue to move forward.
So, with that, I thank you very much for being here today.
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