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To Whom It May Concern,
As a consumer and Canadian citizen, allow me to outline my usage of current technology before I answer these questions.
When I purchase music, whether it’s on a CD or downloaded legally from an artists’ own website, I immediately copy that music to my Home Network. This is so I can listen to themusic either in my Home Theatre in the basement, or on the Computer in my den, or on my Laptop or MP3 Player while I am on business trips.
When I purchase a movie or TV show, whether it’s on a DVD, Blu-ray Disc, or downloaded legally from the internet, I also copy that video to my Home Network. This is so I can watch the video in the best possible quality in my Home Theatre, or casually in front of the TV in the living room, or at reduced quality on my Laptop or Portable Video Device when I’m traveling.
My wife has access to this entire media collection, as will my children in the future, for as long as they are living in the same household.
1. How do Canada’s copyright laws affect you? How should existing laws be modernized?
Canada’s copyright law needs to ensure that I am free to continue sharing the media on my Home Network with my household and among my various electronic devices. Specifically, I, a loyal consumer, should not be forced to purchase multiple copies of every song, album, movie, or TV show. In contrast, the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act does not allow this type of usage. Specifically, the DMCA states that I am free to have multiple copies, as long as the Digital Rights Management software on the originally purchased media is not bypassed or disabled. Well, it is impossible to make multiple copies, for my own use, without bypassing or disabling the DRM. Canada’s copyright law cannot have the same stipulation. When purchasing a piece of media, the consumer is actually purchasing a license to use the content contained on the media.
Therefore, Canada’s copyright law should explicitly state:
Digital Rights Management may be bypassed or disabled for the purpose of making multiple copies of media, for which a license has already been purchased, for fair use within a single household, including portable devices owned by one or more household members.
This allows someone like me to share my media library with my household, as well as copying the media to my portable devices, but does not allow me to make multiple copies and give or sell it to my friends and family.
September 10, 2009
2. Based on Canadian values and interests, how should copyright changes be made in order to withstand the test of time
The Canadian copyright law should not label specific types of media or software. It needs to use terms like Portable Media Devices, Digital Rights Management Software, Media Containing Copyrighted Material, etc.
In contrast, the Canadian copyright law should be specific about certain things like Households, Business, Users, and Persons in order to keep the focus on what constitutes Fair Use. In my opinion, the way I use my media should be covered completely by the Fair Use portion of the Canadian copyright law. Anything less would label me a criminal; a title that should be used sparingly. If I were to open up my Home Network to my neighbours and friends, then I would expect those actions to fall outside of Fair Use, and I would be charged/punished accordingly.
3. What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada?
Innovation and creativity come from freedom. Freedom to sample other copyrighted work. Freedom to access the Public Domain. The Canadian copyright law should allow citizens to implement other creations, provided that they are given permission, or they are not making a direct profit from the previously copyrighted material. For example, a Canadian musician releases an album containing 10 songs. A Canadian fan decides to rearrange the music in one of those songs, in order to make it a parody of the original work. He then posts it to his own website. As long as the fan does not receive money from the people who listen to the ‘remix’, the original musician should not be allowed to press charges against them. In contrast, if the fan rearranges the music and puts it on his own album, without explicit permission from the copyright holder, he has broken the copyright law.
This will foster innovation and creativity by giving Canadians access to ‘play’ with others’ work, but still keeping the rights to make a profit in the hands of the original copyright holder.
4. What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster competition and investment in Canada?
There are two things to focus on, no matter what the copyright is protecting:
September 10, 2009
Competition and investment will grow as copyright holders become more confident that their work is protected, and as consumers become more confident that they are free to use the work, based on Fair Use, for their own entertainment. This may sound like the two sides nullify each other, but they do not. The average consumer is completely respectful of the rights of copyright holders. They just want to be treated with respect as well. If Bill C-61 had been released as it was when it was first announced, then citizens such as myself would be targeted as copyright criminals. That is not acceptable, given the details I provided at the beginning of my letter.
5. What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy?
Changes need to be focused on fairness for the consumer and the copyright holder.
The law needs to protect consumers, specifically families, first. Scenarios need to be examined before the words of the law are finalized. My scenario is a perfect example. I share my music between 5 devices that 2 people have access to. But, when I have kids, there could be 10 devices amongst 4 or 5 people. Should I be forced to buy 4 to 10 copies of a single song or album, just because the copyright law states “material contained on media can be licensed to one user or device” as opposed to “a single license for material contained on media applies to multiple devices owned by Canadian citizens whose permanent address is within a single household ”? Sure, my preferred wording may sound more convoluted, but in a situation like mine, it’s the only way to ensure that I can use the material fairly without taking part in piracy or infringement.
Second, the laws need to protect individual copyright holders. Meaning, a single artist, musician, director, or photographer. These are the people who stand to lose their own livelihood if they cannot profit from their own material. They do not need protection from people like me, but they do need protection from anyone who tries to make a profit from their work without explicit permission.
The corporate copyright holders should be third. Not because of any ill feelings towards them, but solely because they tend to own the majority of copyrights for material created by the artists, musicians, etc. If the artists are not given priority over the corporations, then the artists are less likely to continue producing their art. That could drastically reduce the creative and innovative work by Canadian artists, therefore lessening Canada’s role in the global, digital economy.
Respectfully Submitted by,