Fight Canadian Copyright Reform

Below is a letter sent using the Online Rights Canada webpage regarding potential changes to copyright law that might introduce the Canadian version of the DMCA. I don’t normally get that involved in politics, but when I hear about changes such as this, I get riled up. Imagine not being able to legally rip your music CD’s for use in your iPod? Imagine not being able to use your VCR to record TV shows? Imagine it being illegal to make fun of an ad or a song by using part of it in your parody?Imagine this happens because some company (US based or otherwise) buries some wording in a multipage EULA?

From BoingBoing regarding the Canadian DMCA:

It will contain an “anti-circumvention” clause that prohibits breaking the locks off your music and movies in order to move them to new devices or watch them after the company that made them goes out of business — and it will follow the US’s disastrous lead with the DMCA in that there will be no exceptions to the ban on circumvention, not even for parody, fair dealing, time shifting, or other legal uses.

Currently there exists in Canada a levy on all blank media (including iPods), that is supposed to help reimburse artists whose music is not purchased legally. Everyone pays this levy regardless of how they obtain their music. Why does the law need to change?

I’ve read some theories that feel these changes will pave the way for the RIAA to start suing Canadian consumers who have downloaded music. Nothing like gnawing off the hand that feeds you.

I sincerely hope that the politicians seriously consider what this will lead to. There have been two other politicians who lost their jobs because they tried to introduce such legislation.

Here is the letter that was sent.

December 8, 2007

The Honourable Keith Martin
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Dear Sir,

I am a constituent who cares about Canada’s cultural policy, and I am
writing in regard to legislative proposals for “copyright reform.”
During the last Parliament, Bill C-60 provided some very sensible
approaches to this complicated topic, but it also left room for
improvement. As you consider the issue of copyright reform, I hope
that you will work to ensure that any new legislation is not a
regression from the sensible policies set out in Bill C-60.

In particular, I do not believe that “digital rights management”
(DRM) technologies should stop the public from making lawful uses of
their legitimately acquired media. Publishers using DRM push aside
the delicate balance between copyright and the rights of the public –
a balance set according to an assessment of the public interest by
legislators – and replace it with one-sided rules that reflect
publishers’ private interests. Even artists disagree with publishers’
anti-consumer use of DRM, as evidenced by the recently formed Canadian
Music Creators Coalition. Therefore, as in Bill C-60, new copyright
reform legislation should not make it illegal to circumvent DRM for
lawful purposes.

I am also concerned that the use of DRM can threaten computer
security and consumer privacy, as in the recent Sony-BMG “Rootkit”
fiasco. When content companies routinely use technological measures
to control how people enjoy entertainment in the privacy of their own
homes, I think we need protection *from* DRM more than we need
protection *for* it.

These concerns are shared by a substantial and growing number of
informed Canadian citizens. I hope that you will take them into
account when considering any changes to Canadian copyright law.
Thank you very much for your time.\r\n


Greg Fox