Yesterday Macleans.ca posted an article on copyright reform that calls attention to the growing public interest in copyright, last year's Bulte fight, and the prospect that Canadian Heritage Minister Oda could face similar opposition if the Conservatives introduce DMCA-like legislation in Canada. The story arose in light of a BoingBoing posting that picked up on a Canadian Press story on "imminent" copyright reform.
While it is great that the article notes the public concern with copyright, I think it actually misses the mark in a couple of respects. First, it argues that consumers "who have grown accustomed to the lax standards currently in place would see further regulation as an infringement on their rights." I don't think that is quite right. Canada does not have lax standards when it comes to copyright. Our laws are compliant with our international obligations and indeed are far more restrictive in certain respects (ie. fair use) than laws found in the United States. The outcry from the public won't happen because they're used to lax laws, but rather because if we're going to get reform, Canadians want the reform to reflect their needs rather than those promoted by the U.S. Trade Representative.
Second, by focusing on the role of bloggers, I think there is a danger of missing the bigger picture.
I obviously think that blogs and grassroots efforts are exceptionally important, but politicians should appreciate that this is far bigger than just the blogosphere. Over the past year, there have been a remarkable number of new groups emerge representing artists, musicians, film makers, and the privacy community who have all spoken out on copyright and rejected DMCA-style legislation. Moreover, the corporate community is starting to pay attention with the likes of Telus and the Digital Security Coalition focusing on the copyright balance. Beyond advocacy groups, the NDP is clearly onside on the issue and Oda's fundraising blunder in the fall demonstrated that these issues do make their way onto the floor of the House of Commons.
Copyright reform isn't likely to generate a copycat campaign in the form of the Bulte fight. My guess is that the next copyright campaign will be far louder and even more effective.