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I am a professional writer. Here are my responses to the Copyright Consultations:
1.How do Canada¹s copyright laws affect you? How should existing laws be modernized?
I am a writer who makes a living from books. My income depends on royalties from the sale of my books as well as from the reproduction of my books under collective licences. This income pays for food, shelter and clothing for my family, and allows me to continue.
Copyright should exist to protect creators like me. When others use my work, it should ensure I am compensated.
Collective licenses exist to allow universities, schools, corporations and governments to make copies of my work and the works of other creators while ensuring that we are fairly compensated. This is a system that works well, but is in peril.
I am worried that new exceptions and expanded fair dealing could significantly undermine my income while at the same time damaging the market for books, magazines and newspapers published in Canada.
2. Based on Canadian values and interests, how should copyright changes be made in order to withstand the test of time.
I want Copyright Act reforms to follow the principles outlined by the government for Bill C-61:
3.What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada?
Canadian copyright law should be technology neutral. It should be based on general principles rather than specific technologies. The ability of a creator to get paid for the use of his/her work should not depend on the technology used.
4.What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster competition and investment in Canada?
Creativity and innovation will thrive only when they are rewarded. Fair compensation for creators provides the resources and incentives they need to continue to create and innovate.
I want my work to be distributed as widely as possible. But I want to be paid fairly when my work is used.
Fair dealing already allows for substantial free use of copyright works. With a system of collective licensing in place, there is no need to expand fair dealing.
Instead of resorting to exceptions and expanded fair dealing which do not offer compensation to creators, the government should facilitate an expansion of the existing system of collective licensing which provides users with easy access to copyright materials through one-stop shopping and creators with fair remuneration when their works are used.
Collective licensing helps consumers obtain access to works while ensuring creators are fairly compensated. It is a "win-win" for everybody.
5. What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy?
Canadian creators and publishers are actively pursuing new business models and opportunities. Expanded fair dealing, new exceptions in the Copyright Act, and a weakening of collectives and collective licensing rules would undercut these models and the sustainability of our Canadian cultural industries.
The copyright reforms advocated by creators and publishers are reforms that have been successfully implemented in other markets. In many countries that have modernized their copyright laws, digital marketplaces are flourishing, consumer choice far exceeds that in Canada, and illegitimate file sharing is declining. The result? Legal online activity is skyrocketing among teenagers and illegal behaviour has plunged.
Question 6: What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy?
Canada's creative community has proven it can win accolades and achieve greatness in the global marketplace when the conditions are there for it to flourish and thrive.
To flourish and thrive, creativity and innovation need to be rewarded. Canada can be a leader in the digital economy by ensuring that copyright laws protect the livelihoods of creators and provide incentives to produce compelling, professional content that draws international audiences.
Summary and Thank You
Thank the Government for the opportunity to provide input on these issues of critical importance to you, your colleagues, and your family. Reiterate how these issues are directly important to you because they affect your livelihood. For example:
I am a professional, and I produce professional quality products. Like other professionals, I expect and deserve to be paid. No-one suggests that teachers should not be paid, or that the suppliers of computers and other materials used in the classroom should give them away for free. Canadian creators and information producers need the same respect if we are to continue making an important contribution to Canadian culture and society.
New exceptions and extensions of fair dealing that are being called for will be done at the expense of creators like me, eliminating with a stroke of the pen revenue streams that are fairly earned and on which I and my family depend.
Thank you for the opportunity to express these views and help ensure Canada¹s copyright laws match international standards and reward innovation and creativity.
September 4, 2009