Copyright Reform Op-Eds From Coast to Coast

There are two very important op-eds today on copyright reform in the Canadian media.  Charles Moore, a freelance writer from Nova Scotia, argues in the Moncton Times and Transcript that the "Government is Wrong-Headed on Copyright." The article characterizes the DMCA as "one of the most regressive pieces of legislation ever enacted by the U.S. government" and urges Canadians to speak out against a Canadian DMCA.

At the other end of country, electronics retail giant Best Buy has a noteworthy op-ed in today's Vancouver Sun called Copyright Quagmire.  The piece warns against importing "proven policy errors from other countries" and sets out Best Buy's five principles:

  1. No private copying levy
  2. No multiple payments to collectives for the same transaction
  3. Protection from DRM rather than protection for DRM
  4. Flexible fair dealing
  5. No lawsuits for private, non-commercial activities

Best Buy concludes by urging "concerned Canadian consumers to join with us and write to their members of Parliament, Industry Minister Jim Prentice, Heritage Minister Josee Verner, and to Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself.  They should join the tens of thousands already using Facebook and YouTube to make their voices heard."

The Best Buy op-ed highlights the mounting concern within the corporate community about a Canadian DMCA.  While Prentice claims that the CEO's he speaks to want copyright reform, it has become pretty clear that he did not take the time to talk to leading telecommunications companies or big retailers.  Those entities not only stand against a Canadian DMCA, but appear ready to urge their enormous customer bases to do the same.


  1. Ray Jenson says:

    Administrator, Pirate Party of Utah
    There is a distinct difference between protecting copyright and enforcing copyright. The two are not necessarily in one anothers’ best interests, and when copyright laws change to reflect an ideology of enforcement rather than protection, it serves to erode consumer protections and liberties. Simply levying a tax on technological devices does not really solve any issue, it merely serves to polarize the issue of copyright further, which damages both the authority of the law and society as a whole.

    Please, please, PLEASE, Canada: learn a lesson from us here in the United States! A lack of balance in the copyright laws designed to protect creative rights leads to an erosion of civil liberties and the creation of a chasm between “for” and “against”. Protect independent artists from monopolies who seek to control access to culture. I would encourage all Canadians to speak out against anything that resembles a Canadian DMCA, as well as things that might lead into it, such as this new tax.

    Thank you, Michael, and I hope that your readers are wise enough to realise that it’s only by peaceful political action that this issue will be resolved. Breaking the law is not a good option, as it only further reinforces the polarization that exists between the pro-copyright “regime” and the anti-copyright “anarchists”. There is a legal and ethical solution to this, but it will take convincing MP’s and the PM to listen.

  2. All this said, Best Buy’s agenda is to make bigger profits

  3. All this said is for stressing the fact that there are out there a large variety of stakeholders who are worried about a copyright reform which would mimic the infamous American DMCA. A disputable reform pushed by foreign corporations against what now it seems the be the general Canadian public opinion. What Prentice has to decide now is if listening to the Canadians citizens or listening to the American lobbies knowing that all those variety of stakeholders, the Canadians citizens and the media are watching him.

  4. So…we should let this be influenced instead by Canadian corporations out to maximize their profits? And although there may be citizen support for this, basically it’s a bit like asking who wants a free drink, right? Of course people prefer not to pay. Most people also think teachers are overpaid and underworked, and that we should bring back the death penalty. Sometimes politics is about doing the right thing, not the popular thing.

  5. The guy from Best Buy is right. Yes, Best Buy’s “agenda” is to make bigger profits, so is *any* company’s. Best Buy knows, though, that a happier Best Buy customer comes when that customer doesn’t have the DMCA-styled crap forced down their throats.

    While Bev Oda is off “cooperating internationally”, whatever the hell that is, be sure to mail your local MPs about this. Be relentless.

  6. Never thought i would see the day where big business would look out for our Interests more then our own government. I can understand how American lobby groups can have so much power over the USA government since their main interest is to sell out, but last i checked Canada was a sovereign nation not a slave nation to American corporate interests.

  7. But that’s my point, they are not looking out for your interests. This is 100% about Best Buy selling more ipods! if they really thought they could do that with tougher copyright laws, do you really think they wouldn’t switch direction?

  8. “Of course people prefer not to pay.”

    Please not again. I’m pretty tired of this cheap anti-fair copyright propaganda. Michael Geist and the Fair Copyright of Canada group have produced hundreds of links to articles written by productive and intelligent Canadians against a restrictive copyright reform. For the last time this has nothing to do with promoting “piracy” or getting things for free.

  9. But what they haven’t said is what they think is an appropriate limit on fair dealing. And if you want sny chance of getting the kind of legislation you want, it has to be clear and specific. I really doubt you will get parliament to OK a copyright law that swaps one series of generalities for another.

  10. Ulterior motives or not, this is great news that Best Buy is speaking out like this.

    If the federal gov’t is so corporate minded, it pays to have a few corporations in your army.

  11. Financial Security Advisor
    From an (somewhat) ordinary Canadian who follows the tech industry and politics, yes at the same time, quite intensely, I welcome Best Buy’s anti-DRM message. Yes, of course it’s in their best interest to promote such a message, but does it really hurt to have them on our side (even if it’s only temporarily)? I don’t see how.

    Without a private copy levy OR monthly NET levy
    here is what you get
    10$ per music cd versus 5$ a month for all you can eat with your bandwidth.
    ARE YOU INSANE. Thats money in best buys pocket and the big mpaa / riaa / Cria
    The Proposed Internet levy by songwriters does a lot more revenue then most think, and i need to really look at numbers but if 2/3 of canucks are using p2p and 75% of us are on the net, thats 21 million people and 14 million or so doing p2p at 5$ per each thats 105million.
    And if you think fewer people will p2p after its legal…..

    This equates to 1.2Bill/yr almost 12 times the current blank media gets, and if we make it a system where like each tracker has to submit tracked downloads and movies get a double share compared to music you are getting close to a system that works.
    As to software goto and enjoy there just is no need to pay for any software anymore. Anyone that does is a fool. Games Do them like music or movies.

    Another consideration for software is that all this downlaoding is for: non profit personal use, if you use it commercially this already is against the law. Simple put use a small portion to create police that, by using existing money form a levy frees the actual cops to go after the bad bad bad guys, not a bunch a people wanting entertainment and enjoyment.

    Remember this. Technology SHOULD make our lives easier and cheaper, not hastles and make us poor.
    Like the hockey strike proved perhaps we ought to really be talking about placing a cap on what the artists can make after all is a hockey player much differant then a actor or musician , they all entertain us. And when you use the same arguments that the hockey players business owners use well looks good on them.
    20 million for arnold to go “I’ll be back” give me a break.

  13. While its in Best Buy’s interest to quash a levy that increases the price (without getting a piece of that pie) of the “hottest” item on the shelves, thereby potentially reducing sales, the inclusion of anti-DRM into the discussion could actually result in reduced future purchases as well. If DRM Content A only plays on Device A and DRM Content B only plays on Device B, etc it would force the public to purchase several devices to consume their media, which would increse revenue to Best Buy. If Device A can play Content A, B, C, and D (even if requiring a few tweaks to each), fewer device sale transactions occur. No doubt the latter three points were included by Best Buy to promote the “good guy” image, but they could have stopped after point 2 which, I’m sure, was the crux of the message they wanted to get out.

  14. Perceived vs Actual Value
    You know it seems quite apparent that it’s not just a bunch of underage teenies on Facebook complaining about Copyright anymore when big business takes time out of their pillaging schedule to defend fair use.

    Locking all this “valuable” content down and criminalizing civil matters is just a HUGE waste of taxpayers (that would be OUR money).

    I think the problem with all this talk about “intellectual property” is really about perceived versus actual value.

    The recording companies, movie and television studios all seem to be talking in terms of their “perceived” value that they attached to the IP they distribute which at times seems just north of Pluto while consumers seem to attach a more accurate value to similar IP.

    After all, John Steward said it best. Why would Viacom sue Google for a billion or so dollars for copyright infringement only to post the very same “valuable IP” on their own site for FREE?

    I’m sorry, if these companies and studios are making the same “valuable IP” available for FREE online or over air (radio) how can they possibly expect consumers to associate the same “perceived” value to their IP as they do.

    Mr. Prentice and Harper’s entire moralizing army of idiots should sit up and take notice to the gathering storm this legislation is creating and immediately commit to coast to coast public meetings and hearings on Copyright reform in Canada.

    That after all would be an appropriate step for a MINORITY GOVERNMENT to take now wouldn’t it! 🙂

  15. I like what Best Buy said. But they don’t go far enough. It’s not enough to say that we should get rid of lawsuits for non-commercial use. There should be no lawsuits allowed at all. They get in the way of our freedom to enjoy what we want, when we want. Consumers come first. The musicians are going to make music whether they get paid or not. They all work as waitresses or salesmen or car jockeys anyway so it isn’t as if they need our money. This is true and if you don’t agree you are in the pay of big corporations and Americans. You know I’m right. All this stuff about how copyright is an “incentive to create”. What nonsense. All the little artists give it away. Just like the Barenaked Ladies and those other guys. They are the trail blazers. Radiohead too. Musicians are showing us, by their own behaviour, that they don’t want or expect to get paid. Why should we insult them by offering them money? They like to work for free. They want to work for free. And anyone who disagrees doesn’t really have much to say about it. Thanks to the Internet, WE are in control and it’s all over. Goodbye, RIAA! Goodbye CRIA! You can go now. We are in charge.

    Of COURSE it should all be free. It should be free because we CAN get it for free. The Internet makes it all free. Rock on, Michael! You’re bringing us closer to that day when we won’t have to pay!