Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats on the "Contact Us" page.
1.How do Canadas copyright laws affect you? How should existing laws be modernized?
As a software developer, copyright laws are essential to ensure that the end product is sufficiently protected to justify its investment. Without copyright law my chosen profession would be unsustainable in its current form. As a consumer, copyright laws affect my day-to-day experience by regulating how I experience and share the constant barrage of media and other works proliferated by the digital age.
Copyright laws should be modernized to strike a balance between whats fair for both copyright producers and consumers. This includes provisions to protect the consumers right to transfer media between personal devices and convert it to new formats (when its original format becomes obsolete). The DMCA has failed in this regard by making it illegal to circumvent copyright protection such as DRM. This short-sighted provision means millions of Americans are breaking the law when they convert a DVD for use on an iPod.
2.Based on Canadian values and interests, how should copyright changes be made in order to withstand the test of time?
I believe we are in a bit of a feeling-out period right now. The explosion of the internet, social networking sites and portable multimedia devices has left distributers experimenting with digital methods of distribution and testing out DRM with varying degrees of acceptance. Digital media is in its infancy and it would be naive to suggest that we understand it enough to draft prescient legislation. If Canada is to enact new copyright laws, they should come with an expiry date and require constant renewal.
3.What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada?
The single most effective way to foster innovation and creativity in Canada is to reduce the duration of the copyright of a work to 25 years from the date of publication (ample time to make a reasonable return on investment). The current duration does little to encourage successful artists to produce additional works and effectively locks up every work for a period longer than the average life span of a Canadian. This prevents anyone from authoring creative derivatives of the original work.
4.What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster competition and investment in Canada?
There are many provisions in the DMCA that lend themselves to abuse. Anti-circumvention provisions allow companies to limit interoperability with competitors by introducing DRM (effectively locking consumers into their products). Take down provisions allow companies to abuse their competitors by forcing them to remove non-infringing content or face burdensome litigation. If Canadian copyright law is to foster competition and investment, it must explicitly protect interoperability and squelch vendor lock-in, be equally burdensome to both parties when copyright disputes arise, and punish those who seek to abuse the law with anticompetitive behavior.
5.What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy?
We are at a crossroads. Many countries before have circum to the pressures of lobbying groups with vested interests while their people stood idly by ignorant to the dangers of overreaching copyright laws. Fortunately, the advent of the digital age has exposed these laws for what they really are and the people are starting to notice. They want to know why they cant listen to the music they legally downloaded on their home stereo. They want to know why they cant watch the DVDs they legally purchased on their iPod. They want to know why the audio they used in a personal video they posted on YouTube was removed. And they are starting to ask themselves if it is really worthwhile ruining the financial wellbeing of an individual with excessive punitive damages just because they shared a few songs on the internet. They ask these questions and they are outraged by the answer. Canada must learn from these mistakes and take the high road. We must lead by example. We must enact sane copyright laws that strike a fair balance between protecting both copyright producers and consumers.