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Dear Sir or Madam,
I am a student in my final year of studies at the University of British Columbia, completing a dual degree in General Psychology and Engineering Physics, specializing in Electrical Engineering. I also have many hobbies, and so it seems that copyright laws in Canada affect me deeply in several different major areas of my life.
I have worked as a mechanical engineering intern, and as a software developer (both open source, as a hobby, and commercially). And in the following year, I will be graduating and be thrown out into the world of engineering, where I will be likely designing and creating many new things, and as such, were there to be new copyright laws, it will very likely affect the work I have to do.
Let me first make a statement about software patents. Software algorithms and programs are, in their most basic form, mathematical equations, and as such, may be discovered, but should not be patentable. They are not a process, but rather a product of a discovery. Imagine if Newton was able to patent his equation governing the fundamental laws of gravity — perhaps every engineering firm out there would have to pay royalties to Mr. Newton (although, some would argue he would deserve it) just to use this most basic of laws. It would be absurd to do so. Although this example is a tad extreme, it would be the exact same argument back in his day, if the issue of copyright was a bigger deal in those times.
On the note of Digital Rights Management (DRM), let me just say this first hand: they do not work. They create trouble for only two types of people:
This is a simple cost-benefits analysis, the former group is vastly smaller than the second group, who encumbers the burden from digital rights management. This is a drain on people's time in general, and will be a drain on the economy as a direct effect of this. People will find ways to circumvent these kinds of technologies, it is _completely_ pointless (and is a complete drain on our economy!) to have this sort of "arms race" with the public. Instead of just listening to the commercial industries that are saying that "pirating things drives down sales", try to sponsor some studies that prove this rather than just put in money and effort into legislation that tries to enforce digital rights management, as it does not work.
I do consider enjoying things such as music, movies, and books without the author's permission (i.e. not paying for them when the author wants one to do so for their product) stealing, but DRM is not the solution. In the digital age, it is just something that we have to deal with, we have to convince the "pirates" of the social dilemma that if they do not support what they like, there won't be anymore. Education is the key here, not enforcing rights and annoying (and wasting the time of) loyal paying customers such as myself with DRM.
Also, I feel that copyright terms should not be extended past what they already are now, as it definitely stifles creativity.
The last few paragraphs on DRM come from the side of me that enjoys the arts. The next few will be the engineer side of me.
As an engineer, I have to use many tools to get the job done in the most efficient way possible. Sometimes, the case is that things like patents and copyrights keep me from doing the job the best way I can. Laws that prevent the circumvention of DRM will inevitably deny me access to tools that would make it more effective to get things done in the future. This is bad from my point of view, and the clients' point of view, so in the end, everyone suffers needlessly. There needs to be a clause (at least) that allows the use of these tools for legitimate purposes. It makes no sense not to.
Privacy is not a big deal to me (I do not care too much about privacy if I can trade it for things such as convenience, and I do not plan on doing anything that would get me into trouble if released into the public), but I do believe in a free (as in freedom) and open world, and as it seems, the best way to do this would be to put some type of restrictions on those who control the internet, as it is currently the most effective communication medium.
The promotion of the use of free open source software for these purposes will ensure that no commercial entity can control things like this. Reliance on commercial software inside the government also may open up the gates for the companies who own this software to have some leverage inside the government, which is less than desirable, as we are the ones who fund the government; we should be the ones who have the say. This is a democracy, after all. Companies should be able to provide the support for the software, but the software itself should be open so the government (our government) does not have to look toward companies such as Microsoft or Apple to ensure our bureaucracy is functional.
There is likely much more I have to say, but the date for submission is up. If any parts of this are unclear (as it was written somewhat in a hurry), please do not hesitate to contact me. Copyright is something that affects my greatly, and will continue to do so, so I feel I have to speak up, and thank the Government of Canada for providing this opportunity for meager citizens such as myself to speak up on this issue.
From a lifelong concerned Canadian citizen,