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Don’t throw the Conservatives a life jacket on copyright bill

Apparently, Industry Minister Tony Clement realizes he and the Conservative government are going to get a rough ride on their 2nd attempt at coming up with a new Copyright Bill, and he’s literally begging the opposition parties to help him and the government pass this.

If the new copyright bill is as draconian as it’s rumoured to be, there’s no way the opposition parties – particularly the Liberals – should aid the Conservatives passing this bill. There will be probably another massive public campaign as there was last time the Conservatives tried to modify copyright law, and the opposition parties should stand out of the way and let the Conservatives […]


Is Bill C-61 the right copyright law for Canada?

I’d say the answer is no:

Under the Prentice bill, transferring music from a copy-protected CD to an iPod could violate the law. So, too, could efforts to play a region-coded DVD from a non-Canadian region or attempts by students to copy-and-paste content from some electronic books…The need to read the fine print does not end there – a new statutory damage award of $500 for personal-use infringement applies to music downloading that many believe is legal, while it does not cover uploading files onto peer-to-peer networks or even posting videos to YouTube…their self-described “made in Canada” solution actually looks an awful lot like the much-criticized U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Once Canadians read the fine print on this bill, many may demand that the government go back to the drawing board.

That comes from an article Dr. Michael Geist wrote in the Toronto Star today. Anyone who has followed this issue know that Dr Geist has been a leading critic of the Conservatives proposed copyright reforms. At his own blog, he goes even further, calling this bill a betrayal:

..Because the Conservative Party of Canada promised to Stand Up for Canada, yet the Canadian DMCA is quite clearly U.S.-inspired legislation, the result of intense pressure from U.S. officials and lobby groups. Because the interests of individual Canadians – including those calling for more flexible fair dealing – is completely ignored. Because the Canadian DMCA was introduced without consulting consumer groups, education groups, civil society groups, or the Canadian public. Because Jim Prentice knows better. He saw first-hand the passion of Canadians calling for balanced copyright and has received thousands of calls and letters on the issue. Yet rather than genuinely working to craft a balanced solution, he opted to release a fatally flawed bill.

I will say that I don’t expect this legislation in its current format go anywhere fast with the Cons. being in a minority government and with the opposition parties all apparently opposed to this bill. If Prentice and the Cons. refuse to listen to the demands of thousands of grassroots Canadians to make this bill much more balanced toward the rights of consumers and not just an American DMCA re-run that gives in to the American copyright lobby, then the opposition parties should heavily amend this bill to make it reflect more balance and pass it in the House over the protests of the bleating Cons.

If the Cons withdraw the bill so as to not allow that to happen, then an opposition party who chooses to campaign on Fair Copyright Laws has an instant issue and platform plank in the upcoming election campaign.  I’ve checked out the Fair Copyright For Canada Facebook group since Bill C-61 was introduced. There were about 40000 members of that group, give or take a thousand, prior to Jim Prentice’s release of the proposed Bill C-61. Since his announcement, the group had gained 5000 members and is up to 46 319 as of this blogpost.  For a Canadian based Facebook group,  the large # of members and the amount of new members coming in a matter of a couple of days is pretty amazing. This could be the sleeper issue of the next general election, and it’s going to bite Jim Prentice and the Cons. hard if they leave this fatally flawed legislation in its current format.

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