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Regarding the question: How do Canada's copyright laws affect you? How should existing laws be modernized?
Today I took four elementary-school photos of my now-thirty-something daughter to a WalMart store to have single copies made, in order that they could be included in a wedding album for her. To my amazement, out of over 500 photos that were copied, the photo department clerks advised they could not print for me any copies of those school photos, now over 25 years old. They said existing Canadian and international copyright laws prevented their doing so, despite the intended personal use of the photos and despite the fact that I had purchased the photos from the school / photographer. [Note: because of the age of the photos, I have no way of either knowing whether the school commissioned the picture-taking or whether the photographer took the photos on speculative-potential-sale basis, without a commission. Nor do I have any way of even finding out who the photographers might have been or whether they still even are in business.]
These photos were for personal use and not for commercial resale. If the clerks were correct — such a law is completely ludicrous and a spurious abuse of the purposeful judicial systems that those of us who live in a democracy endorse. Such a ridiculous law undermines the very roots of democracy — our confidence in the ability of community members as a whole to make reasonable good judgments and decisions when required.
When I purchase a creative work of any sort, whether it be photograph, book or song, I actually am trading money for the ability to enjoy that work where and when I wish, as opposed to doing so only in the presence of the photographer / writer / composer. When I purchased those school pictures, I bought the right to use them when and where I personally want to experience them. By selling them to me, the school photographer transferred their right of personal use for those particular photos to me.
And it is important here to distinguish between personal and commercial use. The photographer, when selling me the photo, did not transfer the right for me to replace the photographer's ability to sell that same photo I bought for additional profit — he/she was free to sell those same pictures of my children to any other parents who wished to buy them as well. Nor did the photographer authorize me to make money off their sale in any other way that would interfere with the photographer's rights. But by taking my money, the photographer did transfer to me the right to experience the photos when and how I would like to experience them personally.
If copyright laws undermine the very premise of the exchange between creators and consumers, then such exchanges will cease to occur. Neither creators/artists or consumers want ludicrous restrictions on how art works are experienced. Artists want and beg for their works to be experienced — or else what they produce is not art — it is mere excretion, like spittle or other body effluvia. A sculpture unseen in a closet is merely a coat-rack. Creative works are tangible forms of communication. The creator tries to send a message that must be received by someone for the communication to occur. Writers tell stories. Composers link notes in different ways to make new experiences of sound. Photographers — like writers and composers — use images to refresh the memories, emotions and imaginations of whoever views their photographs. A photograph unseen by anyone but the photographer is just a personal reference document, whether paper or digital. [And I do have many such photographs.]
Please revise Bill C-61 in order that poorly considered, unrealistic constraints are not placed on the use of photos or any other work of creative communication. For a civilized society to survive and grow, as many people as possible need to experience creative works that do refresh their minds, hearts and spirits.
Please do what you can to make this easier, not harder. Our civilization deserves and needs it.