As rumoured for many months, the Canadian Minister of Industry Jim Prentice today introduced Bill C-61, which has been described as a "Canadian DMCA law," referring to the controversial American law that has seen academics - like Princeton's Edward Felten - unable to present research papers.
The Canadian law notable includes anti-circumvention clause that will make it illegal to break digital locks on copyrighted material. The controversy arises from the fact that this anti-circumvention clause will override existing rights, so the "fair dealing" right to backup, copy, cite and analyze commercial works will be restricted at the whim of copyright holders. Moreover, mashups and satire will be criminalized by the bill if they "distort or mutilate a copyright performance."
The bill was controversial even before its appearance and Jim Prentice declined to present it to the public before today due to the massive outcries from citizens, academics and opposition leaders, one of whom said:
There's no excuse for why the government has not consulted broadly the diverse stakeholders. The government has not thought this through. It has not thought about how it will enforce these provisions. There's a fine line between protecting creators and a police state.
Law professor Michael Geist has a detailed analysis here.