By Russell McOrmond 4/7/06
The First Session of the 39th Parliament was opened on Tuesday with a Speech from the Throne. While copyright wasn't listed as a top priority of Canada's new Conservative government, there have been indications that the new Heritage Minister wants to table a copyright bill soon.
The Liberal Heritage critic Mauril Bélanger is already calling on the government to, "introduce during this Session of the 39th Parliament copyright legislation to incorporate the amendments recommended in 2005 amending the Copyright Act by implementing the provisions of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) Copyright Treaty as well as updating certain other provisions of the Act."
Michael Geist is suggesting the Conservatives might take a different direction, which would set up different priorities than the Liberal government set up. The priorities set out in "Supporting Culture and Innovation: Report on the Provisions and Operation of the Copyright Act" the past government was using may be quite appropriately rejected by the Conservative government.
Tom Flanagan, past manager of the National Campaign of the Conservative Party of Canada, co-authored articles that have discussed how he sees file sharing as an asset, not a problem. This article concluded by saying:
Canada signed the 1997 World Intellectual Property Organization Internet Treaties, but we have not yet ratified them by enacting their provisions into our domestic law. There is still time to draw back from a step that would create a new class of lawbreakers and impose censorship on the Internet, without doing anything to foster genuine cultural vitality.
We need both a citizen and parliamentary debate on what will be the priorities in copyright revision.
There are many things I consider very backwards in the previous government's report, the most egregious being, "clarifying and simplifying the act" was offered the lowest priority. Simplification of the act should an overlapping policy that must be adhered to in any other copyright policy changes. If copyright is to be respected in Canada by private citizens, it needs to be respectable (ie, understandable, and reasonably able to be obeyed), which the current act is not.
Simple questions like whether or not unauthorized downloading of music is an infringement causes great debate among lawyers. It's unreasonable for the government to expect citizens to obey a law which even specialized lawyers don't understand and can't agree on.We need to ensure that all parliamentarians hear from constituents. They must be told why the direction advocated by the previous government was a bad idea for Canadian creators, and the rest of Canadian society.
Please go here and select the option to "send a letter to your member of parliament". If you have the time to customize the letter, please do.Or for even greater effect you could print your letter, sign it and snail-mail it to the parliamentary address of your member of parliament (free postage).
If you haven't yet signed the Petition for Users' Rights, please go here, print out the petition, sign it (and get some friends to sign), and send it to us.
We want to make sure petitions requiring an answer are tabled in the new government.
Russell McOrmond, the editor of Digital Copyright Canada, is an independent author (software and non-software) who uses modern business models and licensing (Free/Libre and Open Source Software, Creative Commons).
The 4GB iPod Nano is available on Amazon
Other MP3 stories:
Acer MP-500 Announced
Samsung YP-Z5 iPod nano Competitor
Great Indy Bands Struggle to be Heard