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Canada Reintroduces Law to Toughen Online Copyright

Canada introduced changes to its copyright law that would give rights-holders more control over how works are distributed online, and allow companies such as Apple Inc. to impose “digital locks” on protected material offered on devices like the iPad.

The bill is the latest attempt by the Canadian government to modernize Canada’s Copyright Act, which last underwent major changes in 1997.

Under the legislation, copyright owners will have exclusive control over how works are made available on the Internet. Owners will be able to apply “technological protection measures,” commonly known as digital locks, to prevent unauthorized access of copyrighted material.

“Canadians will soon have modern copyright laws that protect and help create jobs, promote innovation, and attract new investment to Canada,” Industry Minister Christian Paradis said in a statement. “We are confident that this bill will make Canada’s copyright laws forward-looking and responsive in this fast-paced digital world.”

The proposed law will implement treaties, signed by Canada in 1997, that establish rights and protections recommended by the World Intellectual Property Organization.

The legislation is similar to earlier versions introduced by the governing Conservatives that were blocked by opposition parties. The bill may pass this time after Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives won a majority of seats in the House of Commons in the May 2 general election.

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