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How do Canada's copyright laws affect you? How should existing laws be modernized?
First, I am not yet convinced such laws need to be changed. Canada's copyright laws affect all Canadians. We all read books, visit web sites, enjoy music, films, and so forth. If laws do need to be changed in any way, it should be though feedback from Canadian consumers (as with this survey and other forms of feedback); artists, and authors, as well as experts on copyright, such as Michael Geist (www.michaelgeist.ca). Copyright law should not be written or changed according to any demands from CRIA, the RIAA, MPAA, or the US government but rather exclusively according to the best interests of Canadian consumers.
Based on Canadian values and interests, how should copyright changes be made in order to withstand the test of time?
Unfortunately it is likely impossible copyright laws can be written to still be relevant many years from now. Times change and legislation needs revisiting from time to time. Thirty years ago, who could have predicted the mass adoption of technologies present today such as the Internet (in its present form), digital media, and MP3 players, and the capabilities they bring to people?
What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada?
I believe an open and flexible system with an emphasis on Creative Commons (or similar) (http://creativecommons.ca/ , http://creativecommons.org/) licensing. Prices should be kept low, restrictions on material, such as DRM should be discouraged or outlawed, and consumer rights such as fair use should be tantamount.
What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster competition and investment in Canada?
We must create a climate where information is easily and cheaply available and available in the forms consumers would like to use it in. Technology should be embraced — not fought — as the new, efficient medium for storing and transmitting media such as music and film. Thanks to the power of the Internet, artists no longer need to be discovered and "get signed." They can now publish their own music themselves and keep more of the proceeds than if they entered a contract with a record label. Most importantly, artists retain all the rights to their work when they publish content themselves instead of turning ownership of their material over to a record company. If the entertainment industries are permitted to continue on their current trajectory as I suggest, artists will earn more money and rights, consumers will have better quality, cheaper products and more rights, the marketplace will have much needed healthy competition, and there will be many small yet successful businesses involved instead of a few giant ones. Corporate record and film companies know this and that is why they are fighting tooth and nail to eliminate competition and innovation as much as they can. Their continued dominance depends on continued use of an obsolete monopolistic system where they hold all the power. The major record labels have run into problems lately not because of a lack of tools available to them but because of a failure to leverage the ones they had. The market fundamentally changed and they failed to act and meet market demands. When they did act, they did horribly — how could a practise of suing your customers (as was done by the RIAA in the US) not end badly?
What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy?
To be a leader in the global, digital economy, we must embrace current and innovate new technology; completely embrace freedom for individual people and operate according to their best interests (not those of corporations or their interest groups); and we need to be in touch with consumer needs and trends so we can continue to lead in the future by accommodating those needs.