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As an active researcher, teacher, and an individual who regularly uses the Internet and computing technologies in both professional and individual terms I would like to ensure that my view is heard.
First, I believe that the interests and rights of Canadians, both consumers and producers, need to be protected in a balanced fashion. This means that legislation must tread a solid path between the rights of these two groups with neither under nor over-compensation for the producers of content. It also means that the right of fair use, regardless of device or format, must be granted to the consumer once content has been purchased.
Second, the government should not be in the business of protecting one group over another – as it currently is proposing via legislation similar to DRM in the United States. The formulation of copyright legislation in Canada must be a Canadian solution for Canadian's – not a poor and more restrictive copy of US DRM, nor dictated by the ongoing ACTA negotiations. The future well-being of Canadians as the world moves to a globalized knowledge economy will only be enhanced by a made-in-Canada solution.
Third, the legislation must be 'technologically neutral'. That is, non-restrictive regarding format shifting of content, including tools to manipulate that content from one format to another. It is not the government's role to determine where, how, and in what format and on what device I use content that I have paid for. That is my choice and any legislation that restricts my right of choice is not protecting my interests. Technology consistently outpaces government and legislation – so the legislation should be principal based – not technologically bounded.
Fourth, It is time for the government to protect my rights – as opposed to those of business who are solely interested in the opportunity of extracting more and more money from me. Why am I paying a tax on blank media, and then being restricted from using it? Why should the legislation take a lowest-common-denominator perspective and assume that the status quo is illegal copying? Why should the legislation over-protect producers and under-protect users, when producers are simply motivated by increasing profit margins? This is why a balanced approach, a net-neutral approach is needed.
Terrance G. Weatherbee, PhD
Fred C. Manning School of Business Administration