C-11 Form Letter

Dear [Representative],

As a citizen in your constituency, I am writing you to express my concern with Bill C-11, the “Copyright Modernization Act” sponsored by Christian Paradis. C-11 was conceived as a way of correcting obsolete copyright laws. As written, the bill is seriously flawed, and amendments suggested by the music and movie industries will turn this legislation into a tool of censorship. If implemented, C-11 would place undue pressure on the Canadian citizens, chilling innovation and suppressing free expression.

The Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) submitted a list of suggestions for C-32, the predecessor to C-11. These suggestions are completely toxic, and should not be implemented in any way. In brief:

  • Forcing Internet service providers (ISPs) and web hosts to limit services provided to their consumers, without any kind of judicial review. This article will force ISPs to censor free speech, in hopes of avoiding legal prosecution.
  • Enabling copyright holders to lodge a court order and force ISPs to block “pirate sites.” This raises several issues:
    • It would allow the censorship of non-offending speech, which is not permissible under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    • It would open new holes in Internet security, exposing Canadians to unnecessary danger when browsing the web.
    • The ability to lodge a court order against web sites would be heavily abused by international corporations, and suppress competition from Canadian businesses. This would chill innovation, limit venture capital, and damage the Canadian economy.

To be more specific, I have excerpted several points from the CIMA document, and critiqued them individually:

“Hosting Safe Harbour […] to limit the exception only to innocent hosting providers who do not enable infringement.”
Think of a web host like a hotel manager. They cannot be reasonably expected to run a criminal background check on every single person who stays in their hotel. If a criminal takes up residence, the manager is not “enabling” a crime. They are providing an impartial service. A web host cannot reasonably be expected to screen every single file their users upload; it would slow their ability to conduct business, cripple their income, and make them more vulnerable to foreign competitors.

“To incent service providers to cooperate in stemming piracy by requiring them to adopt and reasonably implement a policy to prevent the use of their services by repeat infringers and by conditioning the availability of service provider exceptions on this being done.”
This language demands that hosting providers take down or actively block access to files that they find suspicious, without any system of judicial review. Given the vast number of files on Canadian servers, this article would be completely impossible to enforce. Instead, web hosts would be forced to censor every single one of their customers without due process, blocking them from accessing innocent sites and unfairly limiting free speech.

“…to permit a court to make an order blocking a pirate site such as The Pirate Bay to protect the Canadian marketplace from foreign pirate sites.”
Firstly, what constitutes a “pirate site”? Many sites are dedicated to hosting files for completely innocent purposes, thus allowing people to exchange personal and professional files without relying on e-mail. However, these sites are also rife for abuse by copyright thieves. When applying for a court order, a content holder could conceivably claim that the entire site is in collusion, and demand that the site be shut down. Many innocent sites will be deemed “pirates”, and will be disabled without just cause. This poses an unfair threat to legitimate businesses, and would severely inconvenience legal customers.

Secondly, this article does not hold up under technical scrutiny. “Blocking a pirate site” would likely entail a process known as “DNS blocking”, which would reroute users from their intended destination and send them to a different page. This process is extremely unsafe for the consumer, opening them up to identity theft, phishing scams, and fraud. In the process of following the law, ISPs would be putting their consumers in harm’s way.

Finally, it is important to realize that this system will be abused. Large corporations will attempt to lodge court orders against smaller Canadian competitors, potentially forcing them out of business. Canadian businesses will be disinclined to innovate, and will contribute much less to the economy. In effect, Bill C-11 will compel Canadian businesses to limit themselves, for fear of lawsuit.

It’s worth noting that similar provisions were proposed in some recent American legislation, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP (PIPA). These bills were met with public outcry, leading to a multinational day of protest and countless calls to Congress and the White House. In effect, these bills became political poison. If proposed in Parliament, amendments like these would be greeted in much the same way, and severely damage the political reputation of those involved.

As a Canadian citizen and voter, I do not support Bill C-11 as written, much less with these proposed amendments. It will not receive my support in any capacity, and I urge you to vote against it. If you support them, I will be deeply disappointed in both you and your political party.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your response.


  1. alan says:

    As a creator of orignal work, I can understand the need for some form of copyright protection, especially when it has become an international free-for-all multi-billion dollar underground business in places like China where there is no intellectual property rights. However, the methodology of attacking the “middlemen” in th supply chain seems not only mis-guided, but punitively stupid. (Why is it the mule gets 25 years to life for trafficking but the manufacturer [i.e. the drug cartel overlords] get nothing?).
    To protect Canadain or XXXXXian Intellectual Property rights requires first and foremost a Universal agreement on same, AND a universal method of enforcement. This is nearly impossible.
    That being said, I thought that the Canadian solution (i.e. previous Copyright Acts) embodied a rational approach and unique solution, whereby although piracy was not eliminated, certainly, intelectual property rights were automatically compensated. The simple taxation of recordable media (e.g. cassette tapes, blank floppy disks, etc, etc), meant that although some were expected to pay regardless of material stored on the media, the revenues generated were nontheless redistributed amongst the community so affected (i.e. SOCAN etc.)* It was a simple but eloquent solution.
    Perhaps we need to reexamine this concept and expand it.
    The previous legislation did have it’s draw backs, (taxing legitamit users; questionable accounting and re-distribution of revenues; inability to conceptualize and incorporate new forms of media storgage and re-presentation) it did present a even-handed compromise to both creator and end-user. It failed however to cover ALL forms of Intellectual Property theft, such as YouTube file renameing and re-posting, or even something as simple as photo-copying, or digitally copying pictures or literary works.
    That said my suggestion would be to expand the theme of the previous legislation. Why not simply expand the tax to include: Paper, and Printer Cartridges; Internet Service Provider Fees; Cable or Satellite TV; e-Readers and/or E-book subscription services;4-G digital streaming; etc.. The additional revenue pool would more than suffice the needs of the original artists, and save untold millions in court costs and legal fees.
    *Bare in mind, that the re-distribution of this newly expanded fund, should follow a logical and even-handed method, not like the current one in use by SOCAN. Under the existing model the revenues are distributed proportionately by CD sales (this does not apply to foreign artist re-embursement). I.E. the bigger your albums sales in a given year, means you will get a larger piece of the pie. This is simply ludicrous. If people are downloading and swapping music files illegally, how is double compensating legitimate sales a fair method of revenue sharing? Essentially the people buying CD’s are directing monies to those who may or may not desrve said funds. Furthermore it does absolutely NOTHING to compensate an emerging artist, or worse still an artist who chooses NOT to join SOCAN. {Please advise me if SOCAN’s rules have changed. This was how it was explained to me several years ago – subject to change without notice.etc.etc.etc.)
    Sadly I doubt very much that Mr. Harper and his band of neo-liberal Conservatives will even consider anything but their own handi-work. It must be remembered, that to control the proletriat you must keep them scared, out of work, and control the media. Terrorists have taken care of number 1, Multi-national Corporations have taken care of number 2, and now with the big boys controlling the Press, and the Radio/TV waves, this new legislation hands over the Internet to them.
    Leafve your WEBCAMS on ….George Orwell was right (he just got the year wrong)

  2. […] by Roby on Feb.08, 2012, under Asinine, Big Brother watching, Canada, economy, karma, News, politics, WTF New here? You may want to subscribe to my RSS feed, or even better, you can keep track of the site AND listen to the station with the Genzel Toolbar. Become part of the Community!If you are from Canada and you are against internet being controlled by four corporations, you’re gonna wanna sign this. Also, go here and sign this! […]

  3. […] Write your local MP [Do you Need a C-11 Email Template?] […]

  4. […] your Local MP – (Here’s a template if you suck at writing […]

  5. […] help us in doing the same for Bill C-11. If you’re a Canadian, write your local MP [Do you Need a C-11 Email Template?], if you’re unable to write, spread the word through social media! […]

  6. Tessa Abbott says:

    I vote no to C 11 !!!!

  7. E Chan says:

    Please keep free speech free reguard less of media and form!

  8. mark brendal says:

    Stop playing with our freedoms,protect our data!!!

  9. M says:

    I appose C-11 as well, protect our data.

  10. Jen Dyck says:

    Don’t do it 😡 The internet belongs to to people, & not EVERYONE disrespects the copryright & download laws: I respect them.

  11. lazureus says:

    I am opposed to C-11

  12. […] to crystallize against this bill. Here’s a great post about C-11 and it contains a link to a form letter for Canadians (or anyone who wants to pretend to be one! to send to their […]

  13. Agnes Gallant says:

    I am strongly opposed to BILL C11 and will not vote for ANYONE if this bill is passed!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    My letter has been sent!

  15. Jeramiah Morrissette says:

    I strongly oppose bill c -11

  16. Kerry Boutet says:

    I am opposed to c-11 bill and I will not vote or support anyone who is in favor of it!!!

  17. Anonymous says:

    I am opposed to c-11 bill and will not vote for anyone who supports it!!!

  18. Jaye Mathieu says:

    Strongly opposed to Bill c-11

  19. Alexander Kurth says:

    This may have once been well-intended legislation, and there are a lot of good points in it, but even without the proposed amendments from the CIMA, there are several clauses on the bill as it stands that make it impossible for me to support.

  20. Owen Riley says:

    This is not cool.

  21. Jason Grenia says:

    I am strongly opposed to this bill!!

  22. Nancy Grenia says:

    I disaggregate to this as well and will not support it!

  23. A Friendly Guest says:

    I feel it is necessary to point out that WE are the government, and as the government WE allowed this to get so far. However, being the government brings us the means to stop it. We pay taxes to ensure that we can tell OUR parliament our wants and needs and they MUST hear us out. If the majority of citizens vote in favor of the idea then they MUST execute it. WE own our homes, WE own our cities, WE own our country.

    • Anonymous says:

      You would think so, however MPs vote however they are told to vote by their leadership and if they don’t they are removed. The leaders decide based on who has the most money. It’s not really about what’s good for the “little people,” but about big business and power. Unfortunately, all the politicians are the same, even though they pretend they are not. They just spend money on different things.

  24. Commander.Awesome says:

    Although I hate the idea of C-11, and love the idea of a letter template for a representative, I think this is too long.

    After a certain length, I feel representatives will stop reading. Our laws may look drawn out and horrible, but this is a PERSON reading this. It’s our responsibility to be concise and to the point when writing to government officials.

    What’s the point of submitting a complaint if the overwhelming response from the government will be “tl;dr?”

    • Anonymous says:

      This is absolutely too long. I agree with what it represents, but I tried to force my self to finish but it was too long winded.

  25. Anonymous Coward says:

    Here’s a link where you can see how your MP voted. It really surprised me to see that NO Conservatives voted for it…

  26. G. Jarrett-Amor says:

    Yet another way the government is trying to destroy the average persons life. I’m tired of all the games they play, as if they care about everyone below them.

  27. Josh says:

    When society benefits the government always interferes so we don’t.

  28. Any Voter says:

    Dear representative, I oppose bill C-11 and releated amendments for many reasons. I know your time is brief, so I will summarize ones most important to you. If you vote for it, I will never vote for you or your party ever again.

    A Regular Voter.

  29. Jenn says:

    Find your MP here and email them today! Call them today! Urge them to vote ‘nay’ to Bill C-11.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for this link. It makes it a lot easier to share with networking sites/friends when there is less work involved for the person who is reading the message. The MP-Finder made it very easy. Two emails confirmed in five minutes.

  30. Joceline Lacroix says:

    This is ridiculous!

  31. […] was looking forward to chillaxing for a bit, until I found out about this. SOPA-like legislation is now in Canada. Time to get to work… Share this:TwitterFacebookLike […]

  32. Mitchel Holt says:

    Isn’t the government supposed to be standing up for the people that support it?
    This is not a dictatorship Mr. Stephen Harper, I think its time to put the people before the profit! You and all of the politicians make enough money to live very comfortable so when an anti-piracy lobyist comes a knocking you should send him a walking!

  33. C.T. Gerow says:

    Freedom. People died so we can have it. When did we become a dictatorship?

  34. Amy Richard says:

    stop this bill!!

  35. Michelle Smith says:

    Stop C11!

  36. David Chute says:

    It’s this kind of disrespect for the greater populace (the 99% or so it would seem) that differentiates the ‘politician’ from the ‘statesmen’. When the greater good is routinely sacrificed for the ‘thrill’ of power and the money that bolsters it, we slide ever more quickly toward the ultimate controlling doom of ‘Big Brother’ not only having the last word but the only word.

    It is up to us to share our will and deem Common Sense the rule in a body where Common Sense is not nearly common enough.

    Indeed the last word is ours and we, ultimately, will not be subjected to oppression.

  37. Allison Chappel says:

    Unbelievable! This bill cannot be passed! What ever happened to “the true north strong and free???”. Oh, right, we’re just the north, controlled and bitch slapped. Thanks for nothing, Government of Canada!

  38. Matt says:

    Day by day…. We loose our rights. The canada our fathers and grandfathers fought for is bieng destroyed by polaticians.

  39. Stuart Bisenberger says:

    It doesn’t take too much intelligence to know that if we (Canadians) continue along this path of restriction and domination, there will be grave consequences that will enable great change. The cost for this change to take place can be avoided by making decisions now about the future well-being of the children of Canada and their children. We are a patient society, but like anyone… we can only stand by for so long before we feel we have to intervene in the direction the leaders of this Country and the leaders of the World (including the elite) are taking with the future for our Children. You are the most important Canadian there is right now at this moment. I personally feel you should start acting like it! You may not be remembered in 20 years, but the retribution of your actions and decisions could be felt for hundreds of years. Whether good or bad, that is your choice!

  40. Amy McCloskey says:

    What good is a voice if it is not used?

  41. […] A reader has submitted an excellent form letter to send to your MP concerning C-11 and asked that I post it for the use of anyone who’d like to email their MP directly. Here’s the link. […]

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