Canada puts forth copyright legislation

$500 fine sought for 'private use infringements'

TORONTO -- The Canadian government on Thursday introduced long-awaited anti-piracy legislation that proposes to prosecute Canadians who download music, movies and video games without the permission of copyright holders.

The update to the Copyright Act of Canada promises $500 fines for "private use infringements," essentially Canadians found in possession of bootleg music or movies.

The Copyright Act amendments also proposes $20,000 fines for Canadians that break a digital lock to make bootleg product, and still steeper fines for anyone that profits from the sale of pirated product.

The far-reaching reforms also would make it unlawful to unlock cell phones or copy protected music files to iPods or other digital media players.

Industry Canada minister Jim Prentice said that the amendments create "new rights and protections" for content creators that want to secure their work online.

Canadian content creators, including major music labels and software producers, applauded the copyright reforms, but the Canadian Music Creators Coalition, which represents indie music creators, criticized the federal government for parroting the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act and not opting for a made-in-Canada solution to Internet piracy.

"As we feared, this bill represents an American-style approach to copyright. It's all locks and lawsuits," said Safwan Javed, CMCC member and drummer for Wide Mouth Mason.