The Canadian Federation of Students, which represents more than 500,000 university and college students across Canada, has released a public letter to Ministers Oda and Bernier on copyright reform. The CFS identifies five issues of concern.
- Anti-circumvention legislation – the CFS recognizes the dangers associated with DRM and argues that if the government is to legislate in the area, that it adopt a minimalist approach
- ISP liabiliity – the CFS supports the "notice and notice" approach
- Fair use – the CFS calls for an expansion of fair dealing toward a U.S. style fair use system
- Digital Loans and Learning – the CFS advocates for provisions that support the use of the network without the additional burdens imposed by Bill C-60 that would have turned librarians into digital locksmiths
- Statutory Damages – the CFS wants the statutory damages reformed so that educators and students are not forced into settlements due to risk of enormous liability arising from the statutory damages provisions
The CFS position, which I think hits on precisely the right issues, is noteworthy for two reasons. First, it suggests some differing perspectives from within the education community as the CFS does not touch the education Internet exception that the CMEC has actively promoted. I think this is a good thing as fair use combined with a minimalist TPM approach would be far better for the Canadian education community.
Second, the CFS notes that it wants a broad consultation on digital copyright since students did not previously participate in copyright consultations. Combined with the recent moves from the CMCC and privacy groups, this is yet another example of copyright stakeholders who are coming to the table for the first time. The CFS, representing 500,000 students who vote, deserve a prominent place in the copyright reform discussions.