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Although circumstances at the moment have prevented dealing with this subject in the depth that I think it merits, I did want to comment briefly, just for the record. Legislation such as the American DMCA and similar acts that have been proposed and sometimes enacted in other countries have far reaching flaws that are sometimes not easily documented or quantified, but are nonetheless significant. No-one disputes the need to give creators a chance to benefit from their efforts, but when laws appear to have been written by corporate lobbyists and rubber stamped by government, the ripple effects on society are very real and troubling. Staggering fines meted out on the basis of very badly flawed logic and arbitrary assumptions, such as the notion that every download in violation of copyright represents an actual lost sale, serve to breed cynicism and contempt for government at a time when problems of energy supply and climate change are already starting to place ever more strain on society and it saddens me to point out that these stresses will only increase as time goes by.
I began my professional career in music retail and consulted in that field as far back as 1973. I can furnish names on request, but suffice to say that my approach has stood the test of time. I deal with artists, writers and business people and many who are both, so I would not adopt a highly partisan position even in the absence of the greater concerns I have already cited. For the sake of concision, I suggest that Michael Geist has done an admirable job of researching the nuances of this subject and has articulated an appropriate and workable approach to the relevant issues. I hope that he receives the attention that his efforts merit.
In closing, I would like only to mention three strikes laws as a striking example of what no government should contemplate when a threat of violence does not exist. Such a policy could easily render a citizen unemployable, thus casting the government in the role of a very heavy-handed corporate enforcer, which is to say that it carries the disturbing connotations of "mob enforcer." A democratic government must not appear to be an arm of any corporate or private entity or group if respect for the rule of law is to be maintained. Of course no civil war will follow on the heels of a one-sided copyright law, but social problems build incrementally and are exacerbated by many factors, some of which can, on the surface, seem subtle or unrelated. There is a Canadian tradition of intelligent and civilized innovation that we can follow and build upon. I look forward to seeing that noble tradition of leadership adhered to once again.