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Sep. 8, 2009

The Honourable Tony Clement
Minister Of Industry, Science & Technology
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

The Honourable James Moore
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Ministers,

I am a free lance illustrator. My income depends on royalties from the sale of my books and illustrations. This income pays for food, shelter and clothing for my family, and allows me to continue. Copyright should exist to protect creators like me. When others use my work, it should ensure I am compensated.

I am concerned that new exceptions and expanded fair dealing could significantly undermine my income while at the same time damaging the market for books, magazines and newspapers published in Canada.

Canada must ensure that its copyright framework for the Internet is in line with international standards. The Copyright Act should foster innovation in an effort to attract investment and high-paying jobs to Canada.

Canada's Copyright Act needs to be reformed because new digital technologies have made it cheap and easy for anyone to copy files and make money from them, or to copy and distribute works without recognizing my need to get paid for these uses. It is only fair that we protect creators' investments of time, money and creativity. We need rules to discourage the unauthorized taking of other people's property without compensation.

Canadian copyright law should be technology neutral. It should be based on general principles rather than specific technologies. The ability of a creator to get paid for the use of his/her work should not depend on the technology used.

Canada's creative community has proven it can win accolades and achieve greatness in the global marketplace when the conditions are there for it to flourish and thrive. To flourish and thrive, creativity and innovation need to be rewarded. Canada can be a leader in the digital economy by ensuring that copyright laws protect the livelihoods of creators and provide incentives to produce compelling, professional content that draws international audiences.

New exceptions and extensions of fair dealing that are being called for will be done at the expense of creators like me, eliminating with a stroke of the pen revenue streams that are fairly earned and on which I and my family depend. A clear commitment needs to be made in order to preserve the current term of copyright.

Thank you for the opportunity to express these views and help ensure Canada's copyright laws match international standards and reward innovation and creativity.

Sincerely,

Barbara Spurll