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Canadian Gov't Asks Public About New Copyright Law 77

Posted by timothy
from the hunched-on-the-border-stealing-our-wifi dept.
Mike Lawrie writes "The so-called Canadian DMCA has had a long history. Historically, proposed legislation has favoured the views of CRIA, the Canadian arm of the RIAA almost completely. However, this time around the government is consulting the public before drafting the bill. They have launched a (Linux-based!) website designed to provide a public forum for discussion. Now is the time to speak up."
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Canadian Gov't Asks Public About New Copyright Law

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  • Re:What can I say? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eln (21727) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @02:22PM (#28785153) Homepage
    Don't get too excited just yet. Just because they're soliciting feedback doesn't mean they'll listen to it. More than likely, they'll cherry pick public responses that support what they were going to do anyway, and use them to claim they have "public support".
  • by HalAtWork (926717) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @02:24PM (#28785181)
    Canada doesn't need any new laws, copyright law is already established, making illegal copies is already illegal. Why do we need any new laws? If anything, Canada should not have the kind of copyright extensions that we have seen in Europe and USA.
  • by Garbad Ropedink (1542973) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @02:24PM (#28785187)

    This is the Harper government you understand. This bill's gonna get passed regardless of what people say. Though maybe he's using the 'Linux-based!' website to woo computer nerds to the cause.

    'Well he hates the environment, he's plunged the country into a debt our grandchildren will still be burdened with, he hates gays, minorities, the french, socialists, our healthcare system, Ontario, all of eastern Canada, he refuses to give interviews to any Canadian media but frequently appears on Fox news (which we don't get up here), but he likes Linux, so I guess he can't be all that bad!'

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @02:29PM (#28785245)

    This is the Harper government you understand. This bill's gonna get passed regardless of what people say. Though maybe he's using the 'Linux-based!' website to woo computer nerds to the cause.

    'Well he hates the environment, he's plunged the country into a debt our grandchildren will still be burdened with, he hates gays, minorities, the french, socialists, our healthcare system, Ontario, all of eastern Canada, he refuses to give interviews to any Canadian media but frequently appears on Fox news (which we don't get up here), but he likes Linux, so I guess he can't be all that bad!'

    There isn't even a bill yet. The Harper government is asking for public opinion before they draft a bill, and considering the public outcry on the bill that died in the fall election this is not surprising.

    PS. Standing up for the strong part of Canada's economy (natural resources) does not make him hate the environment.

  • by Magic5Ball (188725) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @02:30PM (#28785267)

    [citation needed]

    It's also disingenuous to both complain that the government doesn't consult with constituents, and then to complain about the speculative output of the consultation before you have seen it.

  • by xZgf6xHx2uhoAj9D (1160707) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @02:34PM (#28785319)
    It's complicated by the fact that Canada foolishly signed on to WIPO. In order to honour our international obligations, we have to make our copyright laws completely draconian and dysfunctional, or at least that's the rationale they're using. Really I'd much rather see them diplomatically try to weasel out of WIPO.
  • by Xiph (723935) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @02:38PM (#28785377)

    To Cement fair use
    To reduce ridiculous copyright lengths
    To differentiate between commercial and personal abuse
    To ensure that the copyright legislation promotes diversion creation of culture.

  • by multisync (218450) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @04:25PM (#28787041) Journal

    Here are a couple more:

    1. Abolish the tax on blank media. Fair dealing is non-infringing activity, and copyright holders should not be compensated for it
    2. Establish the right of citizens to access the copyrighted media they own, even if it means defeating technological measures put in place by copyright holders to prevent them from doing so (I would actually go further, voiding copyrights on media that is encumbered by DRM, as it prevents these materials from ever entering the Public Domain)
  • My letter (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sj0 (472011) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @05:38PM (#28788315) Homepage Journal

    Copyright, like most things, is a contract between artists and society. Originally, the contract was to allow the use of government resources to prevent publishers from reprinting works without paying the artist their due. There is a monetary cost to society in enforcing copyrights, as well as a cost inherent in the monopoly on works granted by copyright. In ages past, the trade-off for this burden to society was being forced to release the works into the public domain after copyright expired, within a reasonable time limit. Further, governments would only enforce copyrights in civil court, it wasn't a criminal issue, and copyright law was limited to the act of copying itself.

    This century has seen unprecedented shift in copyright, where copyright owners are seeing more and more rights, with fewer and fewer responsibilities. All Canadians pay taxes on blank media which is handed to the copyright industry. Copyright terms are now several lifetimes long. Now the copyright industry is trying to make the act of copying a criminal offense, and further making peripheral acts illegal and subject to civil and criminal prosecution.

    The perpetuity of copyrights is effectively theft of our own culture. "Happy Birthday To You" is a song first written before the second world war, but singing it in public is technically illegal and will be for another generation. Records from the turn of the last century, songs for example written about the depression or the first world war, are illegal to distribute despite the artists who wrote or sang them being long dead. This affected me personally recently when I found someone's amazing record collection with some incredibly interesting songs about life during the depression, but couldn't share any of the unknown songs I found. It won't be long until the records deteriorate completely, and these pieces of our past are gone forever.

    Copyright today isn't structured to foster creativity, it's structured to allow companies to build portfolios. The same chilling effect I felt when I wanted to share the old songs with others is felt with artists, musicians, and writers who want to pull from old sources to build upon their own works. When our past culture is stolen, our own present culture becomes transient and loses a lot of value. Scriptwriting would lose tremendously without the works of Shakespeare to draw upon, musicians would lose tremendously without the works of bethoven and bach to draw upon. The current stifling copyright legislation is eradicating more contemporary Shakespeares or Bachs. They disappear into a mist of "Not profitable to sell, not legal to distribute".

    Further copyright won't help increase investment in Canada -- Positive conditions for creative workers will, including progressive copyright that allows artists greater freedom to use our history to build their own works. No film company will say "Oh, even though Vancouver is inexpensive to shoot in and very friendly, they haven't criminalised DRM circumvention so we'll go to New York instead".

    Ironically, the best thing for everyone would be to continue what was inadvertently started by the copyright industry themselves when they lobbied for the levy on blank media. American film and music companies are now trying to sue their customers into buying media, but this is the worst solution possible -- regular people are finding their lives ruined over a trivial matter, and principled people are no longer buying movies or music because it's unjust to fund such lawsuits. If Canadian laws protected everyone; consumers, new artists, and existing copyright holders, and tried to create a balance rather than simply creating a draconian wall of legislation, I think we'd see more creativity coming from Canada, which would draw the global digital economy into our borders to leverage our talented engineers, technicians, writers, artists, and musicians in a way that more restrictive countries wouldn't enjoy.

  • by mdielmann (514750) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @09:08PM (#28790277) Homepage Journal

    So what you're saying is, it's Harpers fault the Liberals either don't have a spine or principles? Just want to be sure I'm following what passes for logic from you...

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