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Under the current laws, and under the proposed changes, innovation and creativity are being stifled. Consumers are no longer in control of what they purchase. I have the legal right, under fair use, to create a back up, in the medium of my choosing, of any works I legally own. I do not have the right to break copy protection, and copy protection has been implemented on all media, stealing my fair use rights.

Every Canadian that purchases blank media already pays an illegal tax to help reduce the losses due to "piracy" and this has been the case since the days of VHS tapes. Digital copies on the internet do not represent as loss. People who would have otherwise paid, will in fact pay. I am one of those people. I am an Internet pirate that downloads movies and tv shows for various reasons, which I will summarize now:

  • Ease of use. Cable signals go in and out constantly with rogers, my only cable provider option. I live in an apartment and satellite is not really an option. Time shifting. I do not like my life being determined by shows I enjoy, so I will download and watch at my leisure.
  • Quality. The broadcast quality, even for HD, in my province is pathetic and a crime in itself to charge prices and call it "hd" internet downloads follow a specific quality standard
  • Commercials. I can no longer use my VCR to remove commercials, as the companies pushing for "reform" have made that illegal, internet downloads have no commercials
  • Product Quality. Would you buy a car with out driving it? I don't want to s pend 80$ at the theater to find out the movie was a piece of junk. Movie reviews are paid reviews, and as such, are meaningless

That said, if I like it, I buy it. I have one of the largest movie/blueray/cd collections you will ever see. I own more shows on DVD that most people have watched. The only reason I bought most of them is because I downloaded them first, found I enjoyed them and would like to own them, and also support the producers.

Music piracy is a joke and is in no way destroying the music industry. The music industry has turned out manufactured crap for decades and it's catching up with them. The refuse to adopt a new business model, and instead, push dated deteriorating plastic upon us. When CD's first appeared, they promised us 1000 year storage life. Which would be true, if they didn't plan obsolescence into the media by using plastics that they know start to decay immediately. The average lifespan of CDs according to some studies is 5 years. 5 years before it starts to become unreadable.

Digital copies last forever. And when we ask for digital copies, we ask for copies we can use however we see fit. DRM software has restricted this to the point of uselessness, and in some cases (Sony BMG) actually installed spyware and security holes into peoples computers. Now they say merely making a back up digital copy of my legally purchased cd for my ipod is piracy, and that is insanity. Moreover, the RIAA and it's Canadian counterpart in no way help the artists, the money they win goes back to them so they can launch more pointless lawsuits and threaten more music fans.

They tell us music sales are down because of piracy, but Itunes has shown them if they adopt the new digital model, that wouldn't be the case. They still use Cassette tape sales numbers to "prove" the decline. As does the movie industry with VHS sales drops. They claim piracy has killed the movie industry, while the numbers tell another story. X-Men origins: Wolverine was released on the internet in Workprint quality (better than VHS, lower than DVD) long before it released to theaters. It broke box office records. The same numbers show the same truths for most other movies, and anyone can google that to see them. If piracy is hurting, why are they breaking records with each new film?

We are at a turning point. My country, our country, is about to allow foreign interests to draft our laws. We can not allow this. Obviously, artists must be compensated for their work. Money from lawsuits funds new lawsuits and does not trickle back to the artist.

If my government really cares about my opinion, the follow my advice. Instead of listening to the corporations, and foreign interests, that have a vested interest in changing our country, listen to the people, or better yet listen to the artists. Various famous artists have come out against proposed anti-piracy legislation in the UK that is very very similar to what they are pushing for here. Elton John, Paul McCartney, and many others.

The people of Canada want fair copyright. The artists want fair copyright. The copyright lobby wants a monopoly.

If the voice of the Canadian people is ignored yet again you will see change. The laws will change, but our country will change as a whole, people like me, the generation about to inherit this great land, will lose trust and faith in our government. We will see, clear and plainly, that our government is greedy and corrupt and bows to corporate interests, wholly ignoring the wants and needs of the population.

Some call piracy the digital revolution. Call this the manifesto. If the people go unheard, there will be a revolution and we will throw each and everyone one of you out of office and take our country back.

We demand to be heard. We demand that our government listen to it's people before listening to foreign lobbyist interests.

If the Canadian government ignores us, we are no better than America.

Thank you for your time

Rob MacDonald
New Brunswick Department of Education
Dedicated Notebook Project
Fredericton, NB