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Scary Canadian Copyright Reform

  • 14th Jan, 2007 at 10:39 AM

Destroyed CD
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

According to the Canadian Press, there will be chilling changes to the Canadian Copyright Act introduced to parliament next month. Canada has been very progressive about copyright law, mostly because our government has been very slow to do anything about it. This does not mean that we shouldn't put up a fight, though.

The proposed amendments are meant to lock down the existing business models of large media conglomerates, while closing the creative commons that independent artists draw upon. Attempts to circumvent Digital Restrictions Management technologies, even to just to watch a DVD you bought on your own device, will be illegal. Other fair use and fair dealing situations aren't considered, which means a huge segment of you will be made criminals, if this legislation passes unmodified.

You should write to the Hon. Bev Oda, M.P. with your opinions. Here is a sample letter that I sent to her office.

Dear Ms. Oda,

I understand that your office is working on new copyright legislation. As a concerned Canadian citizen and a Canadian artist, I am disturbed to read reports that your proposed legislation is meant to defend the business practices of media industry leaders, and not to protect the rights of individual artists and users.

As you are aware, modern technology is causing rapid change to various media industries. Certainly, distributing music, films, books, and other forms of art has never been simpler nor cheaper. At first glance, this seems to be terrible, since historically, large media conglomerates are the ones that mediate the creation and distribution of mass-market art.

Fortunately, modern technology has had a positive impact on individual artists. Now anyone can record a song without needing a studio contract, distribute it over the Internet, and master their own CDs. Is it any coincidence that Canadians, with their currently lax copyright laws, are among the leaders for independently-produced music? Can we afford the chilling effect that widespread DRM would have on the production and dissemination of Canadian culture?

Thank you for your time.

Your sincerely,
Simon Law

If you're interested in technology law in Canada, you might want to check out Michael Geist. He's a law professor at the University of Ottawa and the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law.

Update: Russell McOrmond notes that you should probably write your own M.P. as well.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
14th Jan, 2007 16:20 (UTC)
I think you'll get more impact by writing to your MP, rather than Bev Oda, seeing as the latter is largely financed by large media conglomerates.
14th Jan, 2007 16:32 (UTC)
thanks for posting and doing this.
(Deleted comment)
14th Jan, 2007 18:36 (UTC)
Wait – are you saying that, because you think the law would be difficult to enforce, we have nothing to worry about? Please tell me that's not what you're saying.
(Deleted comment)
14th Jan, 2007 22:47 (UTC)
I'd like to think so too, but other countries have managed to pass similarly draconian legislation. According to Wikipedia, the following are illegal in Australia:
- Home recording of broadcast radio/television content for private use whether for time-shifting or watching more than once.
- Home copying of legitimate recordings for private use whether for media-shifting or backup.

Completely unenforceable, obviously. I'd like to think that wouldn't happen in Canada, but you never know. Be worried!
14th Jan, 2007 19:17 (UTC)
For what it's worth, the Canadian policymakers use "DRM" to mean "copyright regulation of digital media" and they use "TPMs" (Technological Protection Measures) to mean what everybody else calls "DRM".
14th Jan, 2007 19:31 (UTC)
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The requested URL /contact.htm was not found on this server.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
Apache/1.3.37 Server at www.bevoda.ca Port 80

(Deleted comment)
15th Jan, 2007 04:43 (UTC)
It was clearly a temporary error on the part of the website.
14th Jan, 2007 19:56 (UTC)
There was an interesting piece in Saturday's Globe about this:


I would, however, love to see the Canadian government stand up to American big business..
14th Jan, 2007 20:04 (UTC)
As much as i don't like to admit it, i've got some reasonably strong nationalist tendancies when it comes to Canada / U.S.A. political dealings. Frankly stated, there's little i like more than our elected politicians telling the U.S.A. to cram it. Sadly, it rarely ever happens. :/
14th Jan, 2007 20:08 (UTC)
And while we're on topic, kudos to Montréal for being the Cam Capital of Canada. The world of mass media needs to wake up and realise that evolution is an unstoppable process, and that the traditional ways of milking money out of the populace just aren't relevant anymore.
14th Jan, 2007 20:21 (UTC)
Thanks for the heads up, Simon. I'll bring this up at the next Imprint edboard meeting.
14th Jan, 2007 22:43 (UTC)
Publishing letters to MPs, signing petitions
People should consider going to http://digital-copyright.ca as a clearinghouse of information on this issue. We have two petitions we have been collecting signatures for that are tabled in parliament. As familiar as we are with these issues, most MPs are totally unaware.

It is also helpful if people publish the letters they are sending to MPs, as well as any replies they get. This way constituents will know how seriously, or not, their MP is taking this issue. This information will then be quite useful in the upcoming federal election that is expected this spring.

Russell McOrmond
15th Jan, 2007 17:17 (UTC)
Thanks for the info. I will follow up when I can ... in a day or two.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )