Canada passes anti-camcording law


TORONTO -- Canada's anti-camcording legislation was enacted into law Friday after making a unanimous and swift passage through Parliament this week.

Bill C-59, which will make it a criminal offense to videotape movies in local cinemas, on Friday received royal ascent after first passing through the upper senate Wednesday.

Robert Nicholson, the federal minister of justice, secured approval from the Senate committee for amendments to the criminal code, making it a punishable offense to record movies at the local multiplex using a personal camcorder without authorization.

A week earlier, Nicholson secured approval for Bill C-59 from the lower House of Commons following debate and three readings of the proposed legislation that lasted only 80 minutes.

The swift ascent of Bill C-59 follows persistent pressure by Hollywood studios on Ottawa to curb movie piracy originating from Canada.

Until now, Canadian exhibitors that caught someone videotaping could do little more than eject them from the theater.

Typically, pirates caught camcording would claim they were making a film for personal use.

On Friday, MPAA chief Dan Glickman applauded the bill's passage.

"By adopting this legislation, the Canadian government has taken a significant step toward reducing the proliferation of camcords generated in Canadian cinemas," Glickman said. "It demonstrates that the Canadian government understands that all it takes is one good camcord to trigger the mass production and distribution of illegal bootlegs in street markets around the world.

Bill C-59 brings Canada into line with the U.S, where Congress passed the 2005 Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, and other international jurisdictions that have similarly criminalized camcording.