Copyright Consultation Launches: Time For Canadians To Speak Out

The Canadian copyright consultation has launched with a site that offers Canadians several ways to ensure that their voices are heard.  As expected, there is a direct submission process, an online discussion forum, and a calendar that includes information on roundtables (by invitation only) and public town halls (the public can register for the town halls to be held in Montreal and Toronto).  The site features an RSS feed, there will be audio/video transcripts of the roundtables, and there is even an official twitter feed.

The consultation features five key questions:

  1. How do Canada’s copyright laws affect you? How should existing laws be modernized?
  2. Based on Canadian values and interests, how should copyright changes be made in order to withstand the test of time?
  3. What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada?
  4. What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster competition and investment in Canada?
  5. What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy?

In a nutshell, the government is asking Canadians to describe why copyright matters, how to ensure that reforms remain relevant, and what reforms would best foster innovation, creativity, and competition.

There has been some criticism over the past week about perceived "A" lists for those invited to roundtables and those excluded.  My view is that the only list that really matters is the list of people who take the time to make a public submission.  That process is open to everyone and this is the ideal opportunity to ensure that Canadians voices are heard.  The government has not consulted on copyright since 2001 and this consultation represents both a crucial opportunity and a potential threat.  While Canadians can ensure that the government understands that copyright matters and that a balance is needed, some groups will undoubtedly use the consultation to push for a return of Bill C-61.  Indeed, the recording industry has already said that that bill did not go far enough. That means we could see pressure for a Canadian DMCA, a three-strikes and you're out process, and the extension of the term of copyright to eat into the public domain.

Countering those calls will require broad participation. To help foster that participation, tomorrow I will be launching a new website geared specifically to the copyright consultation along with my short form response to these questions.  I plan to blog a long form response throughout the summer.


  1. Stephen Pate says:

    I sent all my comments by Twitter – copyright will die or everyone is going to jail. It’s dead – we need to act like blues musicians -share the magic.

  2. Curious
    It’ll be interesting to see how many, if any, shills submit “their” thoughts. Seems fairly ripe for the picking in my book.

  3. Yet more stupid comments
    To Stephen Pate – Act like blues musicians? You mean we should all have our property stolen and end up dirt poor with nothing to show for our hard work and talent? I suppose you work for free do you?

  4. Darryl Moore says:

    Actually Peter, Stephen Pate is quite right. When the means of production (as it were) are entirely in the hands of citizens it is very difficult to restrict how they are used.

    He may be exaggeration a bit by saying it will die, but the breadth of what copyright protects will have to be reduced dramatically if we are not to make everyone to be a criminals.

  5. Chris Brand says:

    Nice to see
    From the FAQ: “Moreover, Canada’s regime for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights is fully consistent with its international obligations.”. Apparently, they didn’t get the memo from the CRIA…

  6. Only two Town Halls?
    I’m wondering why there are so few town hall consultations. I was looking forward to attending (at least to observe) such a meeting in the Vancouver area, and assumed that being a large city with an especially large technology industry, we would have a public soap box out here.

    Submitted a response to their questions and will attend the webcast of the two town halls we are having.

  7. I don’t know about stephen, I don’t work for free, I work so the poor, honest, hard working, completly incorruptable copyright overlords can feed their starving private jets. Doesn’t everyone?

  8. Flood them with no C-61
    I’ve made my submission:

    I mention you and C-61 in it.

    I suggest a copyright limitation of 18 years, and that Canada raise a middle finger to other countries who might not want to trade with us if we don’t have WIPO style copyright law.

  9. Why do they need to use such a god-awful discussion system? The free stuff that came out 10 years ago is better than this garbage.

    Seriously, what did they pay for this dumpy software that they could’ve paid some unconnected co-op student $19/hr and get a more stable better performing system in 2 weeks?

  10. So where is the guarantee that they won’t just say “We did our due diligence and consulted the public, now here’s an amendment that’s entirely the opposite of what they suggested”?

    Every dollar spent by big media on regulatory affairs should have to be matched as donations to groups that represent consumers.

    That would level the playing field.

    Asking ordinary people who have regular jobs that aren’t in regulatory affairs or copyright law to have to represent the entire public is just a recipe for failure. It’s like a loose-knit group of people trying to shut down the mafia. Good luck.

    MG, have you been invited to the roundtable? Who even decides who gets invited, the people that drafted C-61?

  11. “Why do they need to use such a god-awful discussion system? The free stuff that came out 10 years ago is better than this garbage.”

    I would guess there’s an internal government unit responsible for this kind of thing, and this is just how they do it. It may have nothing to do with the particular consultation, the departments involved, or even the Conservative government. These organizations have their own authority – you can’t just ignore them and do it your way, even if that’s better. It might well be equally frustrating for Moore and Clement.

    Go ahead and tell them to improve it, but I wouldn’t link it to any motive around copyright.

  12. 9289sa907023adfsd9032323 says:

    I signed up for the Toronto Copyright Town Hall
    Now I’ve got a few weeks to really summarise what has to change and then to submit. I may not win (I’m not a lobbyist or a corrupt politician), but I’ll have the right to complain afterwards and can claim to be a copyfighter (Yeah:)).

    Any-ways, people, SIGN-UP, they will flood the building with shills and looters; we really need to take this seriously.

    Also of note, I suspect that things this big (government & industrial collusion) take about 30 years of continuous struggle to change so we’re just past the one-third mark. However, mass movements in the past weren’t based on Moore’s Law, were they now? Time is on our side and we can win this.

  13. cndcitizen says:

    Well it has started,,,,please don’t let the dino’s inherit the earth…
    Whatever your view please make it known

    Otherwise you won’t be able to leaglly copy your VHS videos to DVD…

  14. Grady Booth says:

    Abolish copyright
    If I like a film, documentary, book, article, or song, I will copy it to my library. When I find that someone I know would be particularly interested in something I will send them a copy. That is fair use, and a most valuable new technology. I already get most of my media that way, on the recommendation of friends, even if those “friends” are diggers or slashdotters. What may not be fair use, people who host vast repositories of “free” pirated material, I have no use for anyway because I don’t go out looking for “free” media: if I had a title in mind it would be because somebody would have recommended it to me, in which case they would have just sent me the media, too. Anything less than this scenario is just a temporary state where we can’t fit a film in an email, or keep all of our films on our hard drive, or it takes too long. But not in the future it won’t. Modern technology is the technology to copy and to share those copies and so copy restrictions are no longer feasible, or desireable. On the other hand, modern technology is also the technology to create and to share, and with this great explosion of creativity there is no longer any need for copy restrictions to provide incentives to create.

  15. Cameron Evenson says:

    As much as this bill will change things, I believe that the Majority of Canadians just do not care. Statistically, they say most canadians exchange music and I know some that do not even know that they shouldn’t be, and have hundreds of Gigs of MP3s. And I think paying for music should be the norm. However, I think Canada and Canadians in general have this world image of just not caring. And you do not get this image unless the majority pretty much do not care.

    There is just such a vast history of bills in canada that get past with little or no opposition by the public. Which is evident that the minority gets a say and the majority turns a blind eye to values, morals, and what they actually want. Canadians use to be known for their say, and many men died for this country to make it free and keep it free. But I believe that if that request came today to sacrifice for Canada, We would have to impose a mandatory draft to get participation. There just is no unification of Canada.

    Do Canadians every oppose tax increases? Not certainly to the extent of the tea parties in the US.

  16. If canadians don’t care how come they keep having to withdraw their attempts at ridiculous copyright legislation due to public uproar?

  17. Good date…
    The consultation date in Montreal is July 30th.

    Way to ensure nobody is there.

    *clap clap clap*

  18. We already pay for it !!!
    Hey Pete:
    “…Yet more stupid comments
    To Stephen Pate – Act like blues musicians? You mean we should all have our property stolen and end up dirt poor with nothing to show for our hard work and talent? I suppose you work for free do you?….”

    Most of my friends average around what $60 -> $80 a month to Bell/Rogers -THAT is Just for Internet man !!!!? – we already PAY !!! to listen to your “Blues” through our (2)ISP’s in Canada. Go to them for your pay as a musician online -they are ones taking it $$$ from you, not us. Its there.

    Get me some REAL quality Internet with REAL competitive FAIR ISP rates in this country and sure we’ll pay you for “Blues” thankyou.
    You better string-it like Clapton though. 😉


  19. Stay vigilant because the fight has just begun
    5. What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy?

    We could start by ripping from existence the Canadian version of the DMCA (Bill 61) and fighting for the citizens wishes instead of the corporate government wishes.

    Then we could invest as a country in the next generation in communicating technologies instead of our government spending that same money for better ways to spy on us (NSA and ATT in San Fransisco) and restrict our interactions (throttling).

    PS… One solution I really like is for the Canadian government to create millions of free WiFi hot spots all over the country allowing all of us to have free internet anywhere we go.

  20. Drew Wilson says:

    My Response to the Consultation
    Hey Michael,

    Nice posting. I made a 10 page response to this consultation and posted it online here:

    It might take a while to wade through what I had to say, but I’ve done my civil duty regardless. I hope others are able to weigh in with their own intelligent responses. 🙂

  21. Broad consultation?
    So the consultation was announced on the 20th, and the Vancouver/Calgary sessions were held on the 20th and 21st. How was anyone supposed to attend with that kind of notice? And now the feds can say that the West was consulted?

  22. Copyrights
    In my opinion, copyrights should solely mean that no one can change, modify, someone’s creation and protect the original author against usurpation. This mean no one can take my song or my poem and claim it is his own creation, and no one can take parts of my song and make another song with it. It shoulkd be a law that protects the creator.

    Actually, it is a law that only protect a privildged few to make money with it. When people share the creations (by any means, it has no importance which one), the companies complain that it hurts the creator while they are the one making money with the creator’s works!

    To illegalize the sharing of certain information is hypocrisy, and to implement control of that sharing is faschism.

    That is my opinion, thank you for reading!

  23. D. Hugh Redelmeier says:

    online townhall excludes Linux users
    I just got around to registering for the online Toronto town hall meeting. (I tried earlier for a seat in the actual town hall, but they were full.)

    They claim to require a PC with MS Windows or a Mac with OSX. The “system test” fails my system for running Linux.

    Nice open government we have.

  24. Vanessa Rodrigues says:

    my answers to the 5 main questions
    I’ve published my answers to the questions in a Facebook note (in addition of course to sending it in to the gov’t via the consultation website). You can read it here, and feel free to use any or all of my ideas in your responses if they reflect your views as well. We only have 2 days left, let’s speak up!: