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I would like to share my feelings about why copyright matters and what changes I would hope to see happen in Canadian copyright law.
Having just finished reading Lawrence Lessig's "Remix" I am feeling very urgent about this matter.
Copyright in Canada matters to me because I am an experimental filmmaker, an lover of music, and a software developer who lives and breathes the internet all day. As a filmmaker I often use scenes from existing works to re-interpret those scenes or to create new ones in derivative work. It is important as an emerging artist to be able to use the materials that surround and inform you in your work to develop your artistic voice. The creation of media (specifically digital media) should not exist in a Read-Only method, it should spark a conversation and the work I do using existing work is a conversation with that work.
As someone who loves music I have a vested interest in being able to access and share music created and distributed online. I do not want to see artists stiffled by copyright law or having their remixes and mixed tapes removed from the internet. Remixes further the culture and often remixes can introduce the listener to bands that they otherwise might never have heard of. I really like the input of Dr. Lessig in "Remix" where he suggests a copyright system that only interferes on behalf of professional, commercial use of materials — instead of suppressing all amateur, non-commercial work.
Please consult the Creative Commons (creativecommons.org) for more information.
Finally, as someone who is on the internet all day and who contributes to Canada's technical, intellectual work force — I am fed by and feed the internet with media every day. Whether that is by sharing links to videos, blogs, or music that I stumble upon or whether it is creating my own work and putting it out to people for dialog and re-use — I am a part of the community that makes the internet as great as it is. If the internet is going to live up to what it CAN be, we need the Canadian government to set a good example of letting its citizens use it to the full extent which means allowing non-commercial sharing of digital datas as openly as possible.
As Dr. Lessig also points out — our future generations need to be able to grow up feeling empowered by the technology that is coming down the pipe — we can't treat them like criminals when they try to use the tools that exist for doing amazing things with digital data. The data is there, we should have unfettered access to it as much as possible without hurting the creator.
As little control as possible will also free corporations and creative persons from having to worry about what happens with their material. Protect strongly the original work for a limited amount of time and then allow it to go into the public domain as soon as possible so that it can feed the creativity of those who come next.
Thank you for you time,