Bill C-11 will fundamentally change the Internet, severely limit free expression, and hogtie innovators.

reprint from (Open Media)


Legislation like Bill C-11 could create an Internet lockdown, where Internet users are cut off for no good reason, and vast swaths of the Internet are removed or hidden from view.

Let’s stop this now.

We really didn’t want to send you another email so soon, but we know you count on us to alert you about major threats to Internet choice and affordability. So here it is…

According to copyright experts, giant media conglomerates are lobbying for Internet lockdown powers allowing them to cut Internet access for no good reason, remove or hide vast swaths of the Internet, and lock users out of their own services.

Taken together, these new powers would fundamentally change the Internet, severely limit free expression, and hogtie innovators. And all to supposedly protect Big Media’s content assets.

We can convince the government to stand up to lobbyist pressure if we raise our voices together. Please send the government a message now.

A similar scheme in the US led to a huge public outcry forcing Big Media lobbyists to back off from their plan to impose the now-infamous SOPA and PIPA1 legislation.

Now, those lobbyists are turning to Canada through copyright legislation like Bill C-11 and trade agreements called ACTA2 and TPP3. Internet law expert Michael Geist recently revealed that behind-the-scenes Big Media lobbyists are pushing for powers such as website blocking4, Internet termination for people that threaten their business interests5, and huge threats for sites that host user-generated content (like YouTube)6, in addition to the “most restrictive digital lock provisions in the world,”7 which are already in Bill C-11.

Canadians are not taking this lying down. Across the country, online and off, Canadians are standing up against this Internet lockdown. Protests are being held in several cities today8; at the same time thousands of people are getting active online, using the Internet to say no to the Internet lockdown.

Let’s do our part today ..and make the Internet scream.

Politicians and policymakers have an opportunity to put Canada on the map as a leader in Internet openness and affordability. But they have to know that we’re behind them if they stand up to megacorporate lobbyists. Their approach is backwards: it suffocates online choice and it’s patently unfair.

Let’s kick up some dust. Tell the Prime Minister and the Industry Minister to say no to the Internet lockdown.

For the Internet,

Steve, Lindsey, and your Team

P.S. Thanks so much for standing up for your digital rights. It’s amazing to see Canadians, like our global counterparts, use the Internet to save the Internet.



[1] The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a U.S. bill that, alongside its sister bill PIPA, is designed to block offshore websites that are associated with copyright infringement. SOPA would allow a judge to order any Internet service provider to block a website and any links to it, including links from websites like Google, Wikipedia, or Reddit. It would effectively give the US government and private corporations the power to cripple sites that allegedly—but not conclusively—make unlicensed use of copyrighted content.

[2] Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in an international intellectual property enforcement treaty, primarily lobbied for by big industry in Europe and the U.S. Though there’s little public information about ACTA, it’s clear that it will target “Internet distribution and information technology”. According to the EFF, ACTA raises “significant potential concerns for consumers’ privacy and civil liberties for innovation and the free flow of information on the Internet legitimate commerce and for developing countries’ ability to choose policy options that best suit their domestic priorities and level of economic development.”

[3] The The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is a multi-nation trade agreement that will rewrite the global rules on intellectual property enforcement, and as such could limit the future of the open Internet. Currently U.S. negotiators are pushing to include copyright measures that are far more restrictive than currently required by international treaties (including ACTA). For more, check out the EFF’s backgrounder here.

[4] Big Media is pushing for C-11 to include the power to pull a website or application offline, without the hassle of having to prove it has violated their copyright.

[5] Many proposed laws include rules that mean accused (i.e. not necessarily convicted) “repeat infringers” could have their Internet connections terminated.

[6] This refers to the “enabler provision”, is that overly broad language could create increased legal risk for legitimate websites that host user-generated content. Those websites—including YouTube, Wikipedia, Flickr, and more—could be penalized for hosting content that Big Media controls.

[7] The “digital locks” provision of Bill C-11 could criminalize common practices that most people have been engaging in for years. In short, companies can build “locks” into software or hardware, and anyone cracking those locks—either to share content or to modify the product they own—would be breaking the law. For more, see Peter Nowak’s analysis here. Michael Geist’s quote cited above can be found here.

[8] Find a working list of the events here. We’re especially excited for this one in Montreal.

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