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Monday, June 23, 2008

Reject Bill C-61.

I was passed a link today (thanks Obi!) that I think is worth passing along to any Canadians who read my blog.

Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice introduced a bill (Bill C-61), which would basically shut down Canada's IT sector in terms of small start-ups ability to innovate, erode away most of the consumers rights to use the media and content they own, and introduce an even more strict version of the dreaded DMCA (Digitial Millenium Copyright Act). I highly suggest that every Canadian tell the government how unwanted that legislation is. (I certainly won't be voting for any party that makes it illegal to listen to music I've purchased on my own MP3 player.)

This link gives you a template letter that you can just send along to your MP, but also provides you the opportunity to edit the letter if you'd like. Here's my version:


June 24, 2008

The Honourable Hedy Fry
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

These recipients will be CC'd on your email:
The Honourable Jim Prentice P.C, M.P.
5th floor, West Tower
C.D. Howe Building
235 Queen St.
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5

The Honourable Josée Verner, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Canadian Heritage
25 Eddy Street
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M5

Subject: Please Stand Against the New Copyright Bill

Dear Madam,

I'm a constituent who has been following recent developments in Canadian copyright law. As a worker in the high-tech/biotech sector, I'm concerned about the terrible economic cost such a bill would have on Canadian innovation, research and competitive ability to thrive in the knowledge based economy. Poorly crafted bills such as this are on the slippery slope towards "respecting intellectual property" such as Microsoft's patent for a single mouse click - which, if enforced, would prevent any non-Microsoft customers from being unable to use their computer without paying a Microsoft tax.

The American DMCA legislation has been throughly criticized by many leading innovators in the software industry and in other IT based sectors for it's ability to be exploited for commercial gain at the expense of the consumer. To enact legislation such as that outlined in the Copyright bill (C-61) presented by the government on June 12th would go far further in eroding consumer rights, and outlaw the lawful use of copyrighted material. It does not take into account the needs of consumers and Canada's creative community who are exploiting the potential of digital technology. Like many other Canadians, I'm disappointed that this bill adopts an American approach to digital copyright laws, instead of crafting a Canadian approach.

Copyright laws were designed to strike a balance between the needs of the consumer, and those producing content. When the content producers are able to restrict the rights of the ordinary consumer, such as preventing a user from unlocking their own cell phone, or copying the contents of purchased DVDs for use in video iPods, then the purposed of copyright is no longer being served.

The current bill outlaws the currently legal practices above. This bill paves the road to importing the consumer file-sharing lawsuit strategy that has failed so spectacularly in the United States. Canada deserves better.

Please ensure that C-61 really is made for Canadians by allowing all Canadian stakeholders a say in its final contents. That means meaningful consultation in the coming months, and opening up Canada's copyright policy to more than just the special interests that lobbied behind the scenes for this law. As my MP, I urge you to represent my interests in the copyright debate.


Anthony Fejes



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