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Dear Elected Officials,
Copyright law's raison d'être is to both encouraging citizens to create works to build a more vibrant and diverse culture while protecting citizens rights to benefit from that culture and to build on previous works. Due to the fact that the needs, often of the same groups of citizens, are often at odds, copyright must strike a balance between the two in order to maximize the incentive for creators to create while not undermining fundamental rights of users. This concept should be obvious to those looking to modify current law but the benefactors of copyright law seem to be getting clouded these days.
What copyright law is not about is mandating particular business practices or guaranteeing profit. It has never been about that; nor should it ever be. However, US lobbying groups have been pressing Canadian legislators very hard to enact changes to bring these other mandates into Canadian copyright law. Mandates regarding preventing circumvention of digital rights management (DRM), reverse engineering and non-profit personal sharing of information are all in the best interests of corporations and industry groups. It is the equivalent to a blacksmiths union, to avoid being rendered nearly obsolete, lobbying the government to use transportation safety law to mandate horseshoes be put on locomotives
These new mandates being focused on do not encourage the creation of new works and tread very heavily on citizens personal rights and freedom to create based on the works of others. They undermine the concept of copyright law and harm both parties that copyright was brought into being to protect and would render the majority of Canadian citizens (both creators and consumers) criminals. DRM technically circumvents any fair use/fair dealing rights reserved for citizens. Restriction of non-profit personal sharing of information impedes freedom of speech and restrictions to reverse engineering activities stunts citizens rights to learn and create.
These lobbying forces are struggling to control the distribution of content to maximize profit. While copyright law makes heavy use of distribution restriction as a tool, it would be wrong to conclude that the spirit of the law ends there. The changes in the laws that these lobby groups propose do much to restrict and control the distribution of information so that, through false scarcity, more profits can be reaped. They are corrupting the tools used in copyright to act against the spirit of copyright; that of promoting the creation of new works.
So if you do anything to copyright law, please keep in mind that it is created for citizens (both creators and consumers); it is not enacted to benefit corporate (either foreign or domestic) distributors. Please ignore the free samples, the fund-raising dinners and the dire warnings coming from the lobbyists. Please listen to the Canadian citizens who have more of a stake in the outcome than plain profit margin. Your job depends on it.
So in summary:
Thank you for listening to the public you are serving.