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I believe that our copyright laws are in dire need of reform especially due to the recent advances in technology and its use. As a student, my education is of the utmost importance to me and it should not be hindered due to cost of licencing materials. As a result, I believe that an educational exemption should be included in the new copyright law.
Another issue which deeply affects me is the ability format shift the media I purchase. I own numerous devices which play media ranging from mp3 players to cellphones to computers. Unfortunately, these devices do not all play the same format of file. If I purchase and download music from an online store such as the iTunes Music Store, I get it usually in a single format (aac/m4a from iTunes Music Store). Continuing with the iTunes Music Store example I can play the file on my computers, but I wouldn't be able to play it on my mp3 players nor cellphone since they don't support the format. If I don't have the right to format shift it would be akin to me going to a restaurant and purchasing a burger and having them tell me I can only eat the burger inside the restaurant and that I'm not allowed to take my burger outside/home with me and eat it there. There is no economic loss to them if I purchase the food and chose to eat it elsewhere. In the same way, I should have the right to format shift media so I can enjoy the media I purchased on what device I want and where I want.
A related matter to format shifting is digital rights management (DRM) and its circumventing. If I have the right to format shift, then I should be allowed to circumvent any DRM on the media to be able to format shift. Therefore, I believe that we also need a exemption which allows the circumventing of DRM for personal/legal use. Also, the possession and development of circumventing software should not be illegal. There are many tools which can be used to commit a crime, but also have legitimate uses like a lock pick set. Having one of these tools does not make you a criminal nor should having certain software make you a criminal.
Lastly, there is the issue of dealing with those who do commit copyright infringement. First off, internet service providers (ISPs) should not be liable for the actions that their users take any more than a phone company should be liable if criminals use their service to communicate and plan a crime. Despite living in an age of declining privacy, I still value the privacy I have left and I think that it should be preserved. Therefore, ISPs should not be require to spy on their users and attempt to prevent them from committing crimes since this creates an arms race between the criminals and ISPs consuming valuable resource that the ISPs would be better to invest improving its infrastructure and providing better customer service. It is also unknown if the ISPs could keep up and take the lead in an arms race against dedicated criminals.
In my opinion, the three strikes system tried by some countries is flawed. There is no real authentication on the internet. IP addresses which are commonly used to track those who commit copyright infringement online can be easily spoofed to make it appear that a packet was sent from a different computer. Spoofing is not just limited to IP addresses and almost ever (if not ever) identifier on the internet can be spoofed (which is why I sign my emails, to make it harder to spoof an email from me since anyone can verify that my message was sign with my private key and not tampered by anyone afterward with freely available software). An IP address does not tied back to a single individual. In the USA, there have been lawsuits against seniors who let their children/grandchildren use their computers/internet access and without their knowledge music was downloaded illegally. However, as the purchaser of the internet connection from the ISP, the seniors were the ones who got sued. There have even been mistakes where families without a computer have been sued for illegally downloading music from the internet, which they obviously could not have done when the matter was looked into in greater depth than just the IP and subscriber information from the ISP. The three strike systems generally require little to no proof that infringement actually took place and there is little to no chance for the costumer to appeal before they lose their internet.
Rather than the notice and takedown system used by the USA for dealing with copyright infringement, I believe Canada should adopt a notice and notice approach in which the company send the notice to the ISP/content provider and they forward it to the consumer who did (or maybe did not) commit the infringement. This provides a balance between the rights of the protection of intellectual property rights and the rights of individual and academic expression. Steps should also be taken to prevent cases such as those in the USA where people convicted of illegally downloading music as charged $80,000 per song which would have cost only $1 to buy legally. These fines are not inline with the actual damage which is inflicted to the music industry by this one person and the multimillion dollar debt that can be easily come from downloading only a few albums is harsh and outrageous. In Canada, the damages awarded per song/movie/other form of media illegally downloaded for personal use should be somewhere between $10 and $100. In addition, the law should differentiate between infringement for commercial and noncommercial use and damages should be awarded suitably for the different types of infringement.