Canadian Documentary Film Makers Speak Out on Copyright

Another enormously important Canadian group has spoken out on copyright.  The Documentary Organization of Canada, which represents more than 650 independent documentary film makers, has jumped into the copyright debate with a public letter to the Ministers, a background white paper that assesses the legal environment for documentary film makers, and a survey of its members on their experiences with copyright.

The letter notes the growing concern with the effect of copyright on documentary film makers, citing the survey results which found that 85 percent of film makers find copyright more harmful than beneficial and 82 percent find that the law is more likely to discourage them from making new films.  The letter notes that copyright reform could be used to address these concerns, yet there are fears that it will actually make things worse.  The film makers chief concerns include modifying fair dealing by expanding the current list of enumerated categories, providing film makers with the right to circumvent DRM systems if anti-circumvention legislation is introduced, avoiding a ban on devices that can be used to circumvent DRM systems, reform of the orphan works regime, simplification of copyright clearance, and providing stable funding to Canada's archives.  The letter is signed by 130 of Canada's most prominent documentary film makers including Oscar winner Denys Arcand (indeed, Quebec film makers represent the largest group of signatories).

So the list of Canadian artists concerned with DMCA-like copyright reform expands to include Canada's leading film makers, artists, and musicians.  There is now no doubt that the interests of Canadian artists and the broader Canadian public are aligned against a copyright bill focused on anti-circumvention legislation.  Moreover, an even broader array of groups – including major telecommunications companies such as Telus – are advocating for an expanded fair dealing provision.  Is the government listening?


  1. Dwight Williams says:

    I wonder…
    I truly do.

    I fear the answer, though…

  2. Alexandre Racine says:

    Good question, but the real question is.
    –Is the government listening?–

    That\’s a pretty good question, but I think that the real question here is : Does Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda have a hidden agenda?

  3. Dwight Williams says:

    Hidden agenda?
    Not sure. The agenda I can see from here may be enough to unnerve me, though.

  4. Link to the white paper
    The white paper link to the DOC site is dead, but the pdf is mirrored here: