Canadian Copyright Run Amuck

posted Jul. 15, 2008

For the past couple of years we have seen the music and film industry taking legal action on anyone they felt fit to accuse of copyright infringement but unfortunately they are not the only ones doing this. As I said before in the last few years we have seen Dentists and Hairdressers who utilize music quite frequently being asked to pay for the right to play music in their businesses,.urging them to pay a licensing fee or face legal action. Cinemas who aggressively search some of its patrons for camcorders in the name of Bill C-59, the new anti-camcording law in Canada. The Royal Canadian Mint demanding almost $48,000 in compensation after the City of Toronto used the image of a penny in a prominent ad campaign, without proper authorization and now Jennifer Wright, the owner of Green Shift Inc., a company that helps businesses adapt to more environmental friendly products and practices, has launched a lawsuit seeking $8.5 million from the Liberals because she believes the name for the party's tax plan to curb greenhouse emissions "Green Shift" infringes on her company's name. I don't know about you but this makes me feel very uneasy and I fear, Yes Fear! In fact I'm terrified of the direction we as Canadians are heading. As some of you might know, if not all. On June 12, 2008, Bill C-61 was tabled by Industry Minister Jim Prentice with the promise of a Canadian approach to copyright. I would have to admit that at first glance I was happy, it allows the recording of webcasts, TV and radio programs to be enjoyed at different times; music to be copied on devices such as MP3 players; and the copying of books, newspapers, videos and photos into different formats. It also limits statutory damages at $500 for individuals if they infringe copyright for private use, provided the material is not protected by a digital lock. (this is when my happiness faded away) After reading the fine print I quickly came to the realization that the legal protection against the circumvention or hacking of digital locks that copyright owners may use to prevent unauthorized use of their works takes all that was given away. Not only did I find this disturbing but I was completely OUTRAGED!!! What was our Government thinking? Although the proposed "education and research" provisions would allow teachers and students to make multiple copies of articles found on the Internet and distribute them to classmates.I want our Government to define what constitutes a TEACHER and what constitutes a STUDENT because I always thought we were all Teachers and Students being that we teach and learn from each other. For those of you who might feel differently about what constitutes a TEACHER and what constitutes a STUDENT. What is a TEACHER anyways? A TEACHER is a person whose occupation is teaching! Okay, well that was simple! Whats an occupation? Well An Occupation is any activity in which a person is engaged. Now wouldn't it be safe to say that a PARENT is also a TEACHER and their CHILD is also their STUDENT?? Think about it! Not only did they teach us how to use a toilet and to dress ourselves but our Parents also taught us how to speak. Hypothetically what if Sarah decided to take her childen Mike and Julie and two of their friends to a Art festival that is showcasing music, art and food from around the world. A week before the festival Sarah decides she is going to perpare them for the art festival and downloads a few recipes and prepares several tasty dishes for which they can sample. She also downloads various pieces of music, that they may hear and burns them onto a CD to give to her children and their friends. Now I ask you should this be a crime? Unless it is recognized that a parent is also a teacher, under Bill C-61 this would be considered a crime. Does this make sense to you??.Of course this is only one of many hypothetical situation that could have a tremendous impact on many peoples lives in a negative way. Now don't be fooled, theres more to this issue then being able to download music.In fact the implications of such a law could have many unforeseen consequences. As it opens the door to the the potential uses of digital locks on all information including works found in the public domain. Imagine getting up to a $20,000 fine for curcumventing a digital lock on a digital copy of the HOLY BIBLE! Sounds crazy i know but with such a law in place it would in fact be illegal. I've said this before but I'm going to say it again! In My Humble Opinion the amendments to the current Copyright Act has nothing to do with Artists nor does it foster creativity and innovation. I believe it's a ploy to extend the life of outdated 3rd party business models of large Corporations in order to increase profits until such time that these old 3rd party bussiness models can be implemented in the digital realm. SAY NO TO BILL C-61!!! -R.h.oZ