Buried under the avalanche of holiday-related product placements that
hit once every year for about, oh, _three months_, a major change in
Canadian copyright legislation is about to take place, and -- despite
Minister of Industry Jim Prentice's claim that this change will "put
consumers first," there's little enough of that to be seen in the
Now, I'm not going to parrot the analysis here, because one of the
biggest friends that this type of law has is an uninformed populace.
What I'd ask instead is that you (the two of you still reading this
after my long silence) spend a morning informing yourself about the way
laws like this will affect your freedom to consume and produce art in
the Canada we'll live in for the foreseeable future. If you need a
starting point, as I'm sure that you do, I can offer a couple:
If you're more inclined for a local perspective, you can do far worse
than [Michael Geist](http://www.michaelgeist.ca/)'s [Canadian DMCA
articles](http://www.michaelgeist.ca/tags/canadian+dmca). Geist is a
lawyer specializing in the internet -- specifically issues with respect
to privacy and e-Commerce, and he's one of our best early-warning
systems for dangerous copyright legislation.
And, in the end, if you come to the end of these links -- and _please_
at least skim them -- and you want to do something, there's an article
on [what you can do](http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/2431/125/),
too. I, for one, am going to be contacting Laurie Hawn and Jim Prentice.
Hopefully on some level they listen.
> Good day, Mr. Prentice;
> I am not one of your constituents in the strictest sense, being from
> Edmonton. I do live in Laurie Hawn's constituency, and I am a
> Conservative voter in both the capital- and small-c- senses. It is
> the latter capacity -- as a philosophical conservative -- that I
> you today.
> I believe that Canada's future as a vibrant culture and an economic
> powerhouse can be better assured by removing barriers to innovation
> and reducing the challenges with which creative persons must contend
> to produce their art. Coming into the earlier parts of the 21st
> century we have an unparalleled opportunity to take the fruits of
> technological process at this early stage of their development and
> them to broaden our collective horizons in ways that you and I
> possibly imagine at this time. This will not, however, happen if we
> as a nation do not protect the freedoms necessary to create new art
> from old, a process which has been ongoing for almost all of human
> history, with a lull only in the early parts of the 20th century
> the costs to create new media prevented all but the largest
> corporations from participating. That imbalance has now righted
> itself, and the technology of creativity is now democratically
> available again. The question is, with what will these newly-enabled
> artists create? What will be their raw material? Moreover, how will
> others see their work? The restrictive legislation that is to be
> tabled later this month lacks critical provisions for fair use and
> reverse engineering, both of which are driving forces of invention.
> Make no mistake, I am not a 'copyleft' fanatic; I am a software
> developer by trade and I make my living on copyright and the
> protections it provides. I do not wish to see a regime wherein my
> work is freely available without compensation to any Tom, Dick, or
> Harry who decides that they want it. Moreover, my friends who are
> artists run the gamut from the "give it away" to the "it's mine and
> should be paid for it" on the spectrum. What is true, however, is
> that the legislation that you are expected to introduce this month
> will hurt _all_ of us in ways that are eminently predictable,
> have the immediate example of the United States to see.
> In conclusion, I ask that you reconsider your stance on consumer
> consultation before introducing this bill. When creating content has
> become so trivial (witness YouTube, although perhaps you'll share my
> sense of disappointment with most of that content) it's important to
> realize that the only difference between a 'consumer' and a
> in this century is likely to be in the size of their wallet.
> Thank you for your time.