James Moore says Canadians shouldn’t have to pay for movies in two formats; then why is he trying to criminalize format-shifting?

The Honourable James Moore, Conservative MP for my home riding of Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam, has been in the news a lot the past few months as the point man for the Conservatives’ Bill C-32, which promises extensive reforms to Canada’s copyright laws.

Opposite Mr. Moore, but not in Parliament, is Michael Geist, University of Ottawa law professor. He’s been a critic of the Conservatives’ Bill since day one, and if you’re interested in hearing a well-reasoned take on the legislation, I encourage you to check out his blog.

Yesterday, Geist posted an excerpt of Moore’s appearance on CBC News’ Power and Politics. In the interview, Moore blasts the idea of a levy on electronic devices and recording media to compensate artists who lose money from file sharing and copying by users. He says a levy would be unfair to Canadians who shell out for a DVD, CD, etc. once — after all, he says, why should you have to pay for it twice?

When I buy a movie, I’ve paid for the movie. To ask me to pay for it a second time through another device — and to assume that I’m doing illegal copying, to assume that I’m being a pirate, to assume that I’m thieving from people because I happen to own an MP3 player or a BluRay player or a laptop, I think treats consumers unfairly.

Good point, Mr. Moore; it is unfair to assume that anyone copying a movie is doing it for piracy purposes.

So why is it that the Conservatives’ Bill C-32 would criminalize breaking digital copy protection? Even if you’re just copying a DVD to your iPod so you can watch it on a plane, you are breaking the law, says C-32.

But don’t bother talking to James Moore about any specific problems you have with the legislation. As he tells a meeting of the Canadian Intellectual Property Council, anyone who opposes any part of Bill C-32 opposes all copyright. Period.