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I am writing today to express my extreme concern regarding copyright legislation in Canada. I found the original Bill C-61 to be ill-conceived and seemingly pandering to U.S. media interests without considering larger implications to the public and Canada's learning institutions. In addition, it seemed that Canada was hoping that technology will just go away if we forbid people to use it, rather than looking for solutions that support the producers of content in an inevitable future. This is very disappointing in a country where we have traditionally pursued reasoned solutions over pure controlling discipline. I understand there is now pending legislation that looks very much like Bill C-61, and I am concerned.
To understand the concerns of Canada's Universities, for example, I strongly encourage you to read the Open Letter to Alumni of Athabasca University from the President, Frits Pannekoek, which I have pasted below. I had many concerns before reading this letter, and Dr. Pannekoek has illuminated some that I hadn't previously considered. I am particularly concerned with restrictions on format shifting, which make no sense and convolute reasonable use, backup and access for those with legitimate rights to content. I believe you will find that the majority of Canadians object to any restriction that makes criminals of people who have purchased content and simply want to enjoy it using a variety of available technology. The world today demands that fair use include this option. What would be the cost and benefit of enforcement?
I am glad that the government is taking responsibility to talk with affected Canadians to really understand the far-reaching implications of its legislative choices before enacting any legislation. Protecting copyright remains important for many reasons, and unreasonable laws will only undermine these efforts while putting Canadians at a disadvantage on the world stage.