The US Congress ruffled many feathers when it considered passing the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which would have restricted access to websites hosting or facilitating copyright infringing content. The debate saw fiery opinions on both sides, which resulted in the bill being curtailed, at least for the time being.

Canadians have been comparatively quiet about the copyright issue, although politicos continue to discuss it in the form of the Copyright Modernization Act, a.k.a. Bill-C11. With numerous comparisons being made to similar legislation in this country, what should entrepreneurs and startups consider if a SOPA-style law comes to Canada?

Like SOPA, Bill C-11 would target websites that contain copyright-infringing content in addition to websites that ‘enable’ acts of infringement. In doing so, it would allot more rights to owners and creators of content by providing greater protection against piracy. On the flip side, it could very well restrict consumer access to content and impinge on businesses whose services depend on consumer-generated content.

With Bill C-11 in the hot seat, here are some things to consider:

  • Entrepreneurs and innovators work hard to develop and distribute Canadian content. For startups, enhanced protection could improve the odds of survival during these tumultuous times and ensure proper compensation for inestimable hours of labor.
  • Copyright law balances on a fine line between protecting the ability to produce and distribute content, and impeding these actions. It’s important to find the right balance.
  • Some of the most successful startups depend on user-generated content. It’s an important part of the digital economy that requires deeper reflection before any hasty decisions are made.

While the fire has fizzled down south, things continue to sizzle on the home front — stay tuned.

For more information on Bill-C11, have a look at this parliamentary webpage.

Michelle Abarca-Cuming

Michelle is a Communications Intern at MaRS and a graduate student in Ryerson. See more…