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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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  • 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 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.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by belmolis (702863)

        We don't have any WIPO obligations. Canada has signed the WIPO treaty but we have not ratified it. See Howard Knopf's discussion [blogspot.com] of this issue. As he puts it, signing is to dating as ratification is to marriage.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      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?

      The copyright system in most countries is fairly badly broken and the internet revolution has made that a more pressing issue. The point of copyright is to provide incentive for the creation of new artistic works. There are lots of ways copyright can be changed that will do a better job than what currently exists. Laws reducing the length of copyright, fixing how much of copyright can be transferred, etc.

      • Actually, the current forms of copyright hinder the development of new art more than they provide an incentive.

        First, if I can live forever on something I once created, why be creative anymore? This applies to companies even more than to normal people, since they are technically immortal and they won't ever create any art "for love" (as a human might, even if he isn't forced to by his hungry stomach). Disney is a perfect example of this. Mickey and Donald will stay protected, possibly forever and a day. Why

    • 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)
  • What to do with copyright? GET RID OF IT. [dklevine.com] Seriously.
    • No. Just as patents should provide an incentive to invent and publish, copyright should offer an incentive to create and enrich the arts with your talent, your ideas, your creation, so people can enjoy it.

      But we need a balance. Copyright should be an incentive. Not the 'right' to milk something you did half a century ago. Not the 'right' to refuse people its use. Not the 'right' to cripple art so you might get a buck but the art will be lost soon after because it is impossible to create copies of it. And wh

      • ...and striving for a balance in copyright/patent law will never work. Copyright started out with a reasonable term and scope. It has steadily and gradually pushed out to the obnoxius abuse of law and culture that it is now. Having a copyright system will always encourage rent seeking behavior. Copyright holders will fight tooth and nail to extend and expand it. They are still doing that now even with the draconian policies they have managed to buy/coerce from our law makers. The only solution is to e
  • 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!'

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.

    • You do realize that the Conservatives form a minority government, don't you?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        You do realize the Liberal's won't be triggering an election over a DMCA law, don't you?

        To further clarify this for you. The Liberals will vote for this bill no questions asked because they don't have any issues with terrible new copyright laws. They would be out of their minds to go to the polls over it. (going the polls means voting down a bill which would result in non-confidence in the government and trigger an election)
        SO even though the Conservatives only form a minority government, passing this law w

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mdielmann (514750)

          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...

        • by jascha00 (1261000)
          Do you seriously think that every single bill introduced by the government has to be passed or they will be kicked out? That basically only applies to the budget and things specifically declared to be confidence motions (http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/library/PRBpubs/prb0812-e.htm#confidence2).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Please read the following website before you flap your gums:

      http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?pub=bill&doc=c-60&parl=38&ses=1&language=E [parl.gc.ca]

      This was the bill introduced into parliment by the Liberal party which (fortunately) died on the floor with the confidence vote and subsequent election. In many ways Bill C-60 was significantly more draconian than bill C-61 http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Docid=3570473&file=4 [parl.gc.ca].

      If you think any Canadian po

    • we get foxnews
    • by mrbcs (737902)
      Where have you been? Harper has a minority government, and will for the rest of his days. Nobody likes him anymore. With the liberals in the east and ontario, the ndp in ontario and bc, bloc heads in quebec, tories on the prairies.. it could be a very long time before Canada sees another dictator, I mean majority government. I could give a shit if we have elections every two years as long as this shit dies like it has every other time they've tried to enact it.

      Canadian DRM or DMCA will be the end of whate

  • For hire (Score:2, Funny)

    by Again (1351325)
    If I was the CRIA, I would be hiring a bunch people to go online and stear the conversations towards my own agenda. Good thing we slashdotted the website. We have foiled their schemes!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @02:41PM (#28785415)

    http://copyright.econsultation.ca/topics-sujets/show-montrer/18

    Answer the questions and email the responses to the address given.

  • It does not matter what the government puts forward in a sense. If I remember correctly the last bill was struck down by the courts because they saw the potential for the legal system to be flooded with cases not in the interest of protecting our free and democratic society(might be wrong). They should be getting input from the legal system as well as the public or the same thing will happen again. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
  • Smoke & mirrors (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PFAK (524350) * on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @02:56PM (#28785651)

    The site was announced on Friday July 17 with the first consultation for Vancouver scheduled the following Monday July 20.

    Typical weasel politics and tactics used by Conservatives.

  • by debrain (29228) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @03:02PM (#28785731) Journal

    If you're Canadian and wish to have a positive impact on Copyright, the Pirate Party of Canada [piratepartyofcanada.com] may be your cup of tea.

  • Of course, any comments you provide to them become their copyrighted material. ;)

  • They may ask the public, but are they actually going to listen to them? Governments have a long history of trying to pacify the unruly mob when government actions are so outrageous as to stir them up, but pacify more often than not appears to mean giving the appearance of caring -- and then going ahead and doing exactly what they intended to do in the first place. That's not even throwing them a bone.

    And it works time-after-time because of the short attention span public who keeps reelecting them!
    • They may ask the public, but are they actually going to listen to them?

      We don't know. They may not know yet either. Whatever the case, it is essential to take place in the consultation.

      Consider the possibilities: a) the consultation is in good faith and they plan to listen, or b) they intend to ignore what people say and use this as cover for a warmed-over imitation of the DMCA.

      In case a) participation is obviously worthwhile: the more we consult, the closer the legislation will be to what we want.

  • 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.

    • hope it reaches its intended audience.
    • If I ever go into politics, can you be my speechwriter?

  • Diderot said.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mr_chaput (73522)

    The freedom to write and speak with impunity, is either the sign of the extreme kindness of the prince, or of the profound slavery of people, Only are permitted to speak the ones who can do nothing.

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