The Copyright Consultation's twitter feed has indicated that the first consultation responses will be posted on Friday. In the meantime, Frances Munn has provided an update on the discussion forum, which has now topped 500 comments in a matter of days.
Copyright and You
How do Canada’s copyright laws affect you? How should existing laws be modernized?
Thursday, July 23 (330 responses)
The general sentiment remained overwhelmingly in favour of increased consumer protections.
New posts expressed more reservations with copyright laws, with posters calling for an expansion of fair use, shortening copyright terms, leaving WIPO, avoiding an American DMCA, and being able to use their legally purchased products for private use any way they want. Several people also expressed a desire for legitimate alternatives, pointing out that consumer culture now favours on-demand TV and movies through the Internet and that Canada lacks a legal alternative to torrents and file-sharing.
- Several posters pointed out that pirating is generally done by teenagers or the less advantaged. One person argued that claims of loss are exaggerated since the wealthy generally still purchase their media and that people who pirate could not afford to buy anyway. Enacting laws that target Internet piracy would therefore largely be draconian and a waste of resources.
- One poster argued that the American DMCA allows companies to use copyright protection devices to hurt consumer freedom. The poster pointed to the Microsoft X Box which only runs software recognized by Microsoft and to printers that will only recognize their own cartridges.
- Several posters pointed out that Canada lacks affordable alternatives to Internet piracy such as a Hulu or Last.fm.
- Many posters argued that people should have the right to make backup copies of their media for “personal use.”
- One discussion revolved around the right to access information, pointing out that laws should not be used to stop information sharing.
- One debate surrounded whether consumers should have to pay more to “upgrade” their content (e.g. from DVD format to blue-ray format).
- On the subject of music, several posters, including a musician, expressed frustration with the method of targeting single mothers (e.g. the Thomas-Rasset case in the U.S.) and college students and argued that musicians should aim to widely distribute their products in order to make money off shows and touring.
- A few people said changes had to be made to the business model itself, suggesting some sort of monthly fee for creators on top of Internet subscriptions in return for unlimited downloads.
Test of Time
Based on Canadian values and interests, how should copyright changes be made in order to withstand the test of time?
Thursday, July 23 (73 responses)
There was little change in this discussion. Comments once again advocated for the abolition of DRM. The most recent post cautioned law-makers against tailoring laws to fit specific technologies (such as DRM or the Internet) since popular technologies will likely change over the coming years. Further, the poster argued that consumers should have the right to change and modify their devices after they purchase them.
Innovation and Creativity
What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada?
Thursday, July 23 (148 responses)
Recent posts largely argued that DRM and laws that criminalize do more to stifle innovation than to encourage it. One poster pointed out that time shifting promoted innovation. The most recent poster argued that culture was something that should be shared and proposed that copying media for non-commercial use benefited society. There was also more discussion on reducing the length of copyright protection.
Competition and Investment
What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster competition and investment in Canada?
Thursday, July 23 (22 responses)
Many people criticized this question, arguing that consumers needed more protection for private use and not the industry. Most posters argued that DRM and copyright laws that limited choices would be a detriment to the free market.
What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy?
Thursday, July 23 (97 responses)
Like the other topics, the discussion focused on protecting consumer rights. Many posters advocated for clearer fair dealing guidelines, an end to DRM and digital locks, and protection for private use and copying. One poster brought up the issue of locked cell phones, arguing that this practice is no longer necessary to protect cell phone carriers and that consumers should have the right to use their cell phones on any network that supports the technology. Another poster argued that following the example of the United States would not position Canada as a leader. Instead, Canada should create a vibrant public domain, push for reducing copyright terms, and make the issue of counterfeit goods about protecting consumers, not harming the producer.