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Canada eyes change in copyright law

Bill would make it easier to reproduce content

The Canadian government introduced legislation in Parliament to modernize the country’s copyright laws on Thursday.

It is basically the same law brought to the the previous Parliament but never passed, because the minority government fell, sparking an election.

Now prime minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives hold a majority so they should have no trouble passing the law, which would allow consumers to record TV shows, copy songs they have bought and record Web broadcasts.

The Canadian Media Production Assn., which reps producers, said it was happy to see the legislation back on the table.

But critics don’t like the fact it makes it illegal to break digital locks on content. For example, someone who breaks the digital encryption code on a videogame could face a fine.

“The Copyright Act has not kept pace with the breakneck speed at which digital technologies are being developed and entering the market,” said federal industry minister Christian Paradis. “Our law was designed years before smart-phones became an everyday tool for Canadians and before MP3 players changed the way we listen to our favorite artists.”

The Motion Picture Assn. of Canada has been lobbying for years to modernize copyright legislation.

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