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1. As a graduate student, I occasionally photocopy the contents of books and academic journals for future reference. I see no difference between doing this and checking the book itself out of the library, save that 1. it's easier to compile and find, and 2. It means that the book will remain in the library in case another student needs it. I see nothing unethical with this behaviour since I buy the books I use most often. I am concerned that new copyright laws, if improperly written, will make this practice illegal: It is my opinion that the tuition fees I pay, in part, grant me access to the information held within the library however I wish to store it.
Additionally, I have an iPod (a portable music storage device), which I use to listen to the music which I have purchased legally. It is my understanding that our updated copyright laws will make it illegal to download music from my compact discs to my computer, and then to transfer the music to my iPod. That sounds like pretty sloppy lawmaking to me. Canadian policy, with regard to other writable media (re-writable cd, dvds and even cassette tapes) have up to this point added a surcharge to the prices to offset potential losses in sales. That seems like a pretty fair setup to me, and I wouldn't object to paying an additional fee when purchasing digital media to offset potential losses in sales that record companies are complaining about. I'm terrified of being sued by record companies for transfering the music which i have purchased from one media to another. what's next? will they sue us for listening to music in the wrong ear?
2. Frankly, Canadians are a digital people. The internet is to modern canadians what the railroad was back in john A's time. Our country is so inconveniently large, that the efficient communication tools which the internet offers fits canadian's needs like a glove. at least 85% of canadians are online! It seems like the biggest issue online these days is copyright. If the new copyright laws are improperly drafted, it runs the risk of shackling our use of the internet.
So, what are canadian values and interests? It seems to me that canada, at its core, is all about communication, progress, justice and synthesis. Synthesis is when many pre-existing elements get combined to form something new. Of all the values I mentioned, our ability to synthesize is what makes us a wonderful country. We believe that the solution to new problems can be found by exploring a variety of viewpoints and explanations, and it has served us very well.
I am emphasizing synthesis because it is also the strongpoint of the internet. If Synthesis is metaphorically the making of a collage, then the internet is an endless Eaton's catalogue. This applies to engineering, science, public discourse, politics and even art. So much modern music and visual art is based around reusing and remixing source material. It shouldn't be any more illegal for a kid to digitally replay or remix movies or music than it would be for a kid in my generation to cut up a catalogue or book to make a collage for a class.
I also mentioned how canadians value progress. Whenever a new technology becomes popular it is because peoples lives are made easier and canadians appreciate this. I realize that this government has come out staunchly in favour of the position of the record companies, and wants to apply strict copyright legislation hindering the use of current technology. Would you force a farmer to farm with a horse instead of modern equipment? One hundred years ago, before records were common, the sheet music industry was the cock of the walk. Where are they now? Look at how the recording industry changed its business plan when radio became common! If music smuggling is common, then we should tax the use of the tools that smuggle it: but it's the record industry which needs to modernize.
That said, canadians are fair, we believe in justice. We are willing to pay a reasonable amount for goods and services, even if they are electronic. Consider how well the Apple itunes store has done! Canadians want their information to be convenient, but that doesn't mean they want to smuggle music or movies. As far as I am concerned, this has been proven through direct experience.
3. If academic (independent) studies find that a company is losing money due to digital use, then the government should reimburse the claimants. The less, and less often the citizens of canada need to pay for information; and the more and freer access they have, the more creative they will be. If you shackle our internet use, and let the RIAA (or a canadian equivalent) sue us individually; all the creative energies which could be used to boost the economy will be used instead to find new ways to steal from them.
4. The government should add a surcharge to digital media which would be used to reimburse the companies claiming piracy up to 40% of the claimed amount (the rest should go towards NSERC which would drive future innovation). This loss of income will foster innovation in the companies to figure out how to sell their products in ways compatible with the new marketplace. Did you know that the recent glut of 3-D movies is because 3-D movies are more difficult to pirate?! Innovation! In the united states, there's a company called 'netflix' which you pay a monthly subscription fee to join; and you can download movie rentals onto your XBox! You don't even need to drive to the video store anymore.
5. Canada needs faster, cheaper internet. It needs cheaper, more reliable, more energy efficient computers.