P2P or peer-to-peer file sharing has made life more convenient for all audiophiles, among other people. At the same time, it has promoted online copying and sharing of copyrighted files which may breach laws regarding piracy. Because the latter issue is becoming bigger and more relevant today, movements have been started to control online sharing of files.
SOPA is in place already in the United States. ACTA is being proposed on the international level. How about in Canada? Is P2P allowed here? Or is it, similar to United States, being controlled? Well, the short answer is, no, it is not illegal to share files through P2P in Canada. But the answer is not as and straightforward easy as it sounds.
Let’s review some of the laws in Canada to find out about the legality of P2P sharing in the country.
Canada’s Copyright Act
Much controversy surrounds Canada’s Copyright Act. In some ways, this is not a surprise, as it breeds much confusion. For instance, it generally does not allow any copying-distribution of files, including music files. However, it has a “Private Copying” exception wherein copying and sharing of files are allowed as long as it is only for private use and only onto an audio recording medium.
From this exception alone, many points can already be debated on. For one, what are audio recording media? No straight answer can be given. IPod, for instance, is crossed out from the list, meaning copying songs to an iPod is not permitted. Other digital sound recorders, as a unit, are proposed to be excluded from the exception as well. However, no final word is released regarding other digital audio recorders.
Another point of contention is the definition of sharing. Sharing, per se, is allowed under the Act. However, distribution is illegal. But what draws the line between sharing and distribution? Under this law, uploading of files alone, even in a P2P network, is allowed. But if it includes an active act of distributing and advertising your uploaded files, then it is considered “distributing,” thus, illegal already.
As of now, many bills have been proposed –and dropped –to amend the Act. The latest bill waiting for passage is C-11.
Canada’s C-11 is an enactment of the Act above. It aims to better protect the copyright of owners and artists while, at the same time, support the freedom of its citizens. It will try to find a balance between the interests of both the creative minds of the artists and the interested minds of the consumers.
Many parties are against this bill, especially the conservatives. C-11 ensures more lenient internet copying privileges for learning, and a limited use by the general population. The guidelines regarding copyrights in this bill will try to be in line with international standards and, as such, a stricter copyright and infringement laws are to be expected. As of now, though, Canadians can enjoy a lenient hand when it comes to the usage of P2P.
Right now, P2P is not illegal in Canada. Music file copying for personal use –even through P2P –is legal, as long as it is onto an audio recording medium. What constitutes an audio recording medium, though, is under question. File sharing is legal as well, as long as it is not done for profit. Nevertheless, a bill is under way and the days of the discussed laws and provisions may be numbered.
So how do you feel about Canada’s handling of laws? Are they doing the right thing? Or should they continue being lenient to their citizenz? Tell us what you think.