Many Canadians started the new year with an unwelcome surprise as they learned that Canada had extended the term of copyright by additional 20 years with no mitigation measures or efforts to limit the harmful effects of the policy. That the extension did not get much attention was seemingly by design as the government buried it in a budget implementation bill and posted no news releases on it. Mark Swartz is a Scholarly Publishing Librarian at Queen’s University and has been an active participant in copyright reform issues for many years. He recently published an op-ed in the Toronto Star and Hill Times identifying both the harms of term extension and potential mitigation measures. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to talk about Canada’s approach to copyright term extension, the impact on the public domain, and what could come next.
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The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 155: Mark Swartz on the Harm Caused by Canada’s Copyright Term Extension
The Internet community has been reeling for the past week as it grapples with the suicide of Aaron Swartz, a prominent digital rights activist who left a remarkable legacy for a 26-year old. Swartz’s contributions are used by millions of people every day as he played a key role in developing the specifications for RSS (which makes it easy to syndicate online content), Creative Commons licences (which makes is easy to make creative works freely available), and the popular website Reddit.
My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that while much of the immediate focus has centered on mental health issues, draconian computer crime laws, and the bewildering prosecution of Swartz for downloading millions of academic articles – a U.S. prosecutor was seeking as much as 35 years in jail despite the fact that Swartz did not benefit from the downloads and the source of the articles did not want to pursue legal action – the more notable legacy was his effort to make information more openly and freely available.
Appeared in the Toronto Star on January 20, 2013 as Internet Activist Death Places Spotlight on More Open Access to Information The Internet community has been reeling for the past week as it grapples with the suicide of Aaron Swartz, a prominent digital rights activist who left a remarkable legacy […]