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1. How do Canada's copyright laws affect you? How should existing laws be modernized?
2. Based on Canadian values and interests, how should copyright changes be made in order to withstand the test of time
3. What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada?
4. What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster competition and investment in Canada?
5. What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy?
1. a As an educator and an administrator in a post-secondary institution, copyright is an issue that requires daily monitoring. Each staff member has his or her own interpretation of fair dealing when it comes to photocopying mountains of material. Much of what they copy is their own, copyrighted by the institution or in the public domain. But there are continuous questions around what constitutes fair dealing. Several instructors believe that it is OK to copy a class set of no more than a chapter of a book. While this is certainly research on the student's part, it does fall within the grey area. The instructors are also quoting American copyright laws on many occasions as a justification of fair dealing. In addition, we encounter many out of print publications that do not have a second edition and we are often forced to copy whole books to support the programs where the materials have been used as an integral part of the instruction. One area that is most confusing is the ever shifting sands of communication technology. Just when you believe that things are worked out, Facebook, twitter and a multitude of e-infringement possibilities raise their heads. Camera phones, hand scanners, USB data capture devices, MP3/4, all add to the myriad of possible ways to breach copyright. Unfortunately, the legitimate copyright holders should feel assaulted. I am reminded of a Three Stooges bit where they attempt to wallpaper a wall and just when they get one piece up and halfway through the next, the first one comes crashing down — not, incidentally, from any grand conspiracy but from its own weight.
1. b I have felt the helpless feeling shared by our hapless stooges when my intellectual property has been seized and resized by an overzealous educator.
Existing laws and all laws were crafted in a time of paper, pens, real live hard goods. Lawyers and judges were teaming with mounds of paper. Law clerks scurried about fetching bits of paper to hold and read and render upon. Legislators, also, were crushed by the paper. Each word of the Constitution Act has been poured over and stretched as to its meaning. Such discourse is enshrined in judicial decisions in dusty books catalogued and categorized by book-meisters. Now, every scrap of paper has been scanned and digitized and stored in ultra-charged quarks shuffling at the speed of light throughout the globe, leaking beyond to the cosmos. We, in Canada, are but bit players in the play of words. Can we isolate ourselves within a fortress of law? I believe that Canada should sponsor and promote the first international law on copyright. It has been done before. The international law governing the open seas, while flawed, works. In order for Canada and the world to stop the wallpaper from falling yet again, we need every nation to help hold it up until it dries and can stand on its own.
2. Canada values cooperation. What better way than to work to coordinate an international copyright law?
3. Canada can lead by example and develop a law that could easily be adopted by the international community. We invented the soldiers for peace. Could we not invent fair use software that will specify what can or cannot be used?
4. An international law would level the playing field for all.
5. If Canada is to be a leader, we need to craft laws that are models for the international community. We also need to use our collective smarts and develop digital responses to digital copyright issues.
Note: These are my thoughts only and do not represent in any way the position of SIAST or Basic Education.