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First off, thanks for finally holding a public forum on copyright reform. I hope this results in policies that value Canadian users, not corporations.
The simplest form of consultation I can offer you is complete support Professor Michael Geist's views and insight into the effects of copyright policy; however, I would also like to offer you a brief description of how technology effects my life.
My profession is a postdoctoral researcher in high energy theoretical physics, specializing in searches for new and exotic physics. Progress in this field relies on the sharing of information in order to build upon previous ideas, and the large majority of results are freely available at arXiv.org, an open access website. This model of competition — where the community shares ideas and builds upon them — has worked for several decades. Unquestionably, progress would be much slower if individuals kept their ideas to themselves. My personal research involves numerical computation of various physical phenomena, and I perform this work on computer clusters running on open-source software based on GNU/Linux. This software provides an infrastructure that I can build upon to perform my work, and it would be severely restricted with proprietary software owing to its financial barrier and undocumented, closed standards. In return, the open-source community benefits from my additions and alterations to the software so that other's may build off my work.
At home I run a media server based on GNU/Linux which acts as a personal video recorder, DVD backup device, music streamer, Asterisk telephony exchange, and file sharer. Several aspects of copyright reform that really concern me are the DRM anti-circumvention measures. Copyright and Canadian-broadcast regulations are limiting my choice as a user, and are restricting technological evolution since I cannot obtain movies through the internet; consequently I must break the DVD encryption in order to convert the discs to a medium I prefer. I am also concerned with CRTC regulations that allow internet service providers (ISP) to throttle traffic: this would allow ISPs to vandalise the functionality of my home VOIP. We should keep the internet neutral since, obviously, alternatives lead to anti-competitive behaviour and stifle innovation. Canada already lacks access to great online distributions of media such as hulu.com and pandora.com.
Thee are just a few of my concerns, but I hope you have gained some insight into how a regular Canadian interacts with technology. I can't emphasize enough the right to protect the public domain, which I believe strongly depends on the sharing of information in order to build a healthy community. I believe restrictions only limit this health, and slow the growth of culture.
Thanks for your time,
Aaron James Berndsen
Postdoctoral Fellow, SFU University