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For your consideration are my opinions on how Canada ought to approach copyright reform with foresight that will provide customer protection and come to terms with the reality that the internet has created regarding the dissemination of information.
As a primer let us discuss the terms of reference laid out on your submission websites FAQ.
"Updates are needed to ensure that Canada’s copyright laws are modern and so that Canada can regain its place as a leader in the global digital economy."
This statement is complete and utter foolishness, if we begin our consultations with this being how the discussions are framed then we are speaking two completely different languages.
Truth #1: Canada is a leader in the buzz word "digital economy", statistics of broad band access and usage in Canada are leaps and bounds above the majority of the planet. The vast majority of the country owns and uses a computer and has likely used said computer to download legally or illegally some form of copyrighted material.
Truth #2: Copyright legislation is being reopened at the request of a lobby group protecting the interests of a very specific group of business related interests, the changes that are to be made are attempt to mend an oversight in legislation created by the massive rise of a particular form of communication and information sharing tool in the internet.
Now that we are speaking truthfully we can get down to brass tacks. First realization and hard pill that needs to be swallowed if Canada would like to be at the forefront of digital copyright law is that content distribution as a business is either dead or needs to evolve complete in order to survive. This is plain fact, distribution companies were necessary in a time when content producers had a product that they could not bring to peoples homes on their own. This is no longer the case and in a supposedly free market economy it does not make sense that the government should have to step in with laws to protect a business model that has been rendered irrelevant.
Realization number two is that copyright law in the past has done much more to protect the interests of the business surrounding content rather than the producers or the consumers. Consumers demand protection from copy protection law. Consider this scenario, in the 1970's you purchased the seminal Dark Side Of The Moon on vinyl LP for 15 dollars, you had a great time with it played it to death, and eventually the LP became useless. This was okay however, because the cassette of Dark Side was just released so you decide to purchase that for 10 dollars, a few years down the road you buy a new CD player so you purchase the CD for 25 dollars. You've now paid a total of 50 dollars for the same 10 songs, yet don't let them catch you downloading those same ten songs off the pirate bay or you are a criminal! This is the insanity that needs to end, fair use needs to extend across all formats and any usage that is deemed fitting. The logic is simple content producers want to apply a tangible characteristic to the intangible e.g. give it a price, claim ownership over it etc. If this is the case then in ownership when I purchase something from you it is now mine as if it were a tangible object, to keep for ever, cut up, re-use, destroy, sell, paint etc.
In closing, what I am proposing for this reopening of copyright laws is as follows:
That the government look at the reality of digital media, that is that the systems in place previously is fundementally broken by the internet. That current laws favour broken business models, rather than consumer advocacy, and that the model will continue to be broken further as technology progresses further. All this goes to say we cannot keep patching up a sinking ship every 5 years, instead we need a plan on how we can scuttle the boat and save the crew so to speak.
Thank you for your time.