I will have news on a new copyright consultation website that I'm launching shortly, but I wanted to post my short response to the just-launched copyright consultation. The consultation asks five broad questions, each of which could lead to lengthy answers that mine the depths of Canadian copyright law. I plan to post longer responses to the consultation that expands on the issues raised by the government over the course of the next eight weeks, but as Canadians think about their response (and submission takes nothing more than email) I think a short answer that is accessible now is crucial.
My short answer would begin by noting that the five questions can really be grouped into three key issues:
- Why does copyright matter to you?
- How can the government ensure that copyright reforms remain relevant in the long term?
- What specific reforms should the government prioritize (having regard for creativity, innovation, competition, and the digital economy)?
Why does copyright matter?
The consultation’s first question is also the most personal since the answer will be different for almost everyone.
For me, copyright matters because I am a professor and my students need access to copyrighted materials and the freedom to use those materials. It matters because I am a researcher who needs assurance that as materials are archived they will not be locked down under digital rights management. It matters because I am deeply concerned about privacy and fear that DRM could be harmful to my personal privacy. It matters because I have created videos and need flexibility in the law to allow for remix and transformed works and do not want my content taken down from the Internet based on unproven claims. It matters because I am a writer and I need certainty of access to speak freely. It matters because I am a consumer of digital entertainment and I want the law to reasonably reflect the right to view the content on the device of my choice. It matters because I am a parent whose children have only known life with the Internet and I want to ensure that they experience all the digital world has to offer. It matters because I live in a city with a strong connection to the digital economy and we need forward-looking laws to allow the next generation of companies to thrive. It matters because I am a proud Canadian who wants laws based not on external political pressure, but rather on the best interest of millions of Canadians.