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Dear Minister Clement:
As a long-time member of The Writers' Union of Canada and a university professor I would like to indicate support for the Union's position on the need to strengthen the Copyright Act.
I have made part of my living from writing for most of my adult life and until I became a faculty member of a university, rather late in my career, I can tell you that writing wa a tough way to earn ones keep.
The creative output of Canadian authors is one of the country's great assets. When a millionaire gives a donation to an art gallery or a successful business person makes a donation to a school, we applaud them and honour their generosity. But consider this, almost every writer in Canada, as well as other artists, earns perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars less over a life time than an industrial worker, a government official and certainly less than other professionals with comparable education. The difference between what they earn and what they could have made in another walk of life is their donation to society not to mention their irreplaceable cultural offering.
Copyright laws protecting creative work and offering some financial compensation for the gift writers give is the minimum that a government can do in return for the contribution writers make to society. To subsidize big international business such as Google at the expense of creative Canadians would be a gross moral failing on the part of any government. But perhaps worse, from a fiscally conservative government, it would be a bad business decision. When there are no more writers because they have been driven out of productive business there will be no more fodder for internet parasites.
As a university teacher I often use material for courses which is reproduced using the services of Access Canada. In this way students: a) pay a small fee for the material, b) authors receive a small remuneration and c) students come to understand how to behave responsibly when using other people's work. University students understand and respect this process… I hope the government is as wise and honest when they consider the strengthening of the Copyright Act.