Courtesy of Steven Chase of the Globe and Mail from a post-Question Period scrum this afternoon:
Chase: Do you intend, with your copyright legislation, to introduce any restrictions on the way consumers use intellectual property?
Prentice: Well, of course I can't speak to the specifics of the copyright bill because the bill hasn't been introduced in Parliament yet and that will be forthcoming in the time ahead. But it's an important piece of framework legislation. It's important to balance consumer interests, the interests of creators and users and all of that, you know, those questions will await what's in the bill so you'll have to be patient a little bit longer. The bill is coming.
Reuters: Will the bill be tabled before Christmas? It's on the notice paper.
Prentice: It depends on how long the House is here. It'll be tabled once I'm satisfied that the legislation is something that we can take pride of and put in front of the House of Commons for consideration. . . I put on the notice paper that the bill will be introduced. I haven't given a date and I'm not giving a date today, but it will be coming.
Note that the House is scheduled to conclude on Friday and not resume again until January 28, 2008.
Why should a bill be secret before it’s introduced to the House of Commons? I assume that’s standard practice, but what’s the reasoning behind it?
“It’s important to balance consumer interests, the interests of creators and users and all of that…”
No kidding. The problem has been for a long time though, that creators have the power to sue consumers into the ground, even when the consumer has done nothing like selling the artist’s work to others as their own. The “balance” has been realized, I’d submit. We still have multi-millionaire musicians, and authors are presumably making a living here too. Our television industry seems to be doing well, at least in Regina it’s apparently thriving off of Corner Gas. What more do artists want from consumers?
Access to Information
With respect to the reasoning behind draft legislation, look here: [ link ]
Specifically, it’s based on our government’s cabinet system:
“The Canadian government is based on a Cabinet system. Thus,
responsibility rests not in a single individual, but on a committee of
ministers sitting in Cabinet. As a result, the collective decision-making
process has traditionally been protected by the rule of confidentiality. This
rule protects the principle of the collective responsibility of ministers by
enabling them to support government decisions, whatever their personal
views. The rule also enables ministers to engage in full and frank
discussions necessary for effective functioning of a Cabinet system of
government.” (from above linked document, 4)
Perhaps the Minister could simply not introduce the bill. What is the urgency? The Conservatives did not get elected on a platform of restrictive copyright reforms. Hopefully they can be made to understand that the unpopularity of the bill makes it not worth while.
Need for a copyright bill
With respect to HWong’s comment, I don’t think it would be a good idea to simply have no copyright reform at all. If our copyright law is updated with a *good* law we won’t have the prospect of a bad law hanging over our heads. (A good law would of course protect fair use, device shifting, time shifting, and the right to crack & locks encryption legitimate purposes). I don’t want the people who would like a CDMCA, just waiting for their chance. I want that chance eliminated by putting in constructive copyright reform. This is an opportunity for the Conservatives. We need to make them see it.
Regarding the Secret comment above, the very minimum of artists are fairly renumerated for their work in any real way. There is a huge writer’s strike taking place in the US right now for the very reason that internet content is being disseminated by major communications companies who gain ad revenue from them but do not pay.
In Canada, very few authors and artists make a good living selling their work. The people who are likely to sue you for illegal downloading are media companies and publishers who get 90% of the revenue. Also, most authors and artists get nothing like 10% of the revenue from their work, that is a huge coup and mostly only happens once your career is up and running. Bands do shows and create their music at a loss, they fund their own tours, they do promotional appearances for free. This bill will deeply affect those artists who need people to share and discuss their work before they get off the ground.
There is a reason why artists get very little from their work. Most of the money goes to the record companies who do publishing and all sorts of pr work. With the invent of Itunes and others artists now have a chance to make more money, but in order to do that they need the marketing power of the record companies. Chicken in the egg. Now that the ISP’s are getting into content substitution an artist could potentially make a deal with ISP’s instead of the record companies publishers.
[ link ]
Now that you’ve successfully called the gov’t to the mat for their wrong-headed approach to copyright, maybe you could try to do the same thing about their wrong-headed approach towards climate change?