I last posted an update on the copyright consultation discussion forum on August 4, 2009. Discussion has slowed since, but the total number of comments for the first question on how copyright affects you is closing in on 1,000 responses. Frances Munn provides a summary.
Copyright and You
How do Canada’s copyright laws affect you? How should existing laws be modernized?
August 17, 2009 (841 responses)
Over the last couple of weeks, posters were concerned that the government would act in the interest of big corporations rather than consumers. Posters mainly urged the government to expand personal use protections, fair dealing, and create a technologically neutral law. Others opposed following the American example on copyright where individuals are being sued by powerful interests.
- The most recent poster identified as a musician and urged the government to leave copyright laws alone, arguing that he was happy that the Internet allowed people to have easy access to his music.
- A writer pointed out that he or she only makes five to ten cents off every book sold, but took a consumer centred position. He or she urged the government to limit DRM and statutory damages.
- Other writers argued that they need to be paid for their work in order to continue creating and urged the government to create laws that would ensure writers are fairly compensated.
- Another poster argued that a three-strikes “graduated response” law was completely unreasonable.
- One poster argued that copyright should stop pitting creators and consumers against each other. The poster proposed that creators be paid by public-private partnerships that draw on taxes, corporate profits, license fees, government subventions, and educational budgets.
- One person began a heated debate when he strongly opposed a “something for nothing” system, arguing that it is unfair for creators to produce work for free.
- Another poster began a debate when he suggested limiting copyright terms to five years.
Test of Time
Based on Canadian values and interests, how should copyright changes be made in order to withstand the test of time?
Monday, August 17, 2009 (138 responses)
Posters pointed out that file sharing is almost impossible to stop and that the DMCA has had a “chilling” effect on innovation. One poster proposed banning DRM altogether, arguing that in the free market, industries should be left to adapt to new technologies. Others argued for expanded personal use and fair dealing rights.
Innovation and Creativity
What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada?
Monday, August 17, 2009 (292 responses)
- Several posters argued that anti-circumvention legislation destroys innovation.
- Another person argued that the law should protect the creator, not someone who wishes to use the creator’s work.
- One poster argued that copyright laws should be written in clear and plain language.
- A writer pointed out that they relied on book and article sales to make a livelihood.
Competition and Investment
What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster competition and investment in Canada?
Monday, August 17, 2009 (52 responses)
- One poster proposed lowering prices in order to sell more for less – e.g. 1000 CDs for $1 rather than 100 CDs for $10.
- Another person suggested differentiating between commercial, public, and personal use.
- One person cautioned the government against protecting a digital media monopoly that will stifle innovation.
- On the other side of the debate, one poster began a heated debate when he argued that Canada needs “iron-clad” copyright laws to foster innovation.
What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy?
Monday, August 17, 2009 (330 responses)
- The most recent poster cautioned the government against trying to control the spread of information on the Internet, arguing that it would fail in the long run.
- A poster argued for more freedom and privacy online and proposed implementing a levy on hardware.
- Another poster proposed differentiating between commercial use, non-profit use, and private use where private use is exempt from copyright restrictions.
- One person warned that crackdowns on P2P will only lead to increased usage and described a three-strike’s law as draconian.
- Another poster argued that anti-circumvention should not apply to locked cell phones.