Electronic books and the Canadian DMCA

Sara Bannerman has an important post that notes how the growing importance of electronic books has particular implications for the forthcoming copyright bill. As devices such as the Kindle and iPad become increasingly popular, more and more people will purchase their books electronically with DRM included. As Bannerman notes:

For many books, and especially academic ones, the price for the ebook is the same (sometimes hundreds of dollars) as it was for the print edition. Canadians shouldn't live in a world of expiring and disappearing books. Consumers should have the right to use books the way they're used to doing - to buy them and have them for life, and to use them for years to come on future generations of devices.

Bannerman's concerns are highlighted in this video created at the Vancouver Film School, which recently won the school's award for public enlightenment. Note that most of the debate around copyright reform does not argue against the use of all DRM. Rather, it focuses on the need for balance in the implementation of legal protection for DRM, by arguing that existing exceptions (described by the Supreme Court of Canada as "user rights") should remain effective even where a publisher has implemented a restrictive DRM system.

Michael Geist is a law professor and the Canada Research Chair in Internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa.