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My Name is Paul Tichonczuk and I'm a programmer and photographer from Mississauga, Ontario.
Copyright is an important part of my everyday life. Without it, I would not be able to make a living, use software to do my job or enjoy the music I listen to throughout the day. I am not represented by a corporation or a trade industry group. As a creator of works protected by copyright, I have had my work used without permission and understand the frustration that a lot of creators feel with what is happening in today's technology driven world. However, I have never felt that the current laws do not protect me as a creator. If anything they restrict me. I cannot stand behind most of the voices calling for draconian copyright enforcement through new legislation as the way to go.
Much has been said about ratifying the WIPO treaty that Canada has signed. A treaty that is already shown its age and was backwards looking when it was created. The USA has been one of Canada's largest critics. Yet the DMCA has been for the most part a huge failure. It has not saved the music industry from its eventual demise. It has resulted in stifling of competition, user choice and instead has created an industry revolving around suing the consumers of media instead of actually creating and innovating. Recently, one of the creators of the DMCA has publicly stated "Don't do what we did". I hope Canada listens.
Creativity is not the creation of new things in a vacuum. It is the consuming, learning and re-creation of our culture. At their core, most creative works are a mixture of something borrowed and something new. We cannot move forward as a society with laws that will restrict competition and creative growth by imposing artificial locks, through things like DRM technology. This is most true if DRM technology is used to restrict the rights we do have simply because it is breaking the lock. It is also important to limit the term of Copyright. I find it mind boggling that I cannot build upon the works of someone who has passed away because their copyright is still held by family or some corporation. How does extending the copyright term past someone's death foster innovation? It doesn't, it just makes a few people more money. This does not help put food on struggling artist's tables. Maintain the agnostic position of ISPs is very important to maintain innovation and competition in Canada. As the telephone companies that most of them are, they should not be responsible for what is done over their pipes just as they are not responsible for the conversations that happen over their telephone lines. Turning ISPs into gatekeepers would be the slippery slope towards the halt of Internet innovation in Canada. Having ISPs police the net just to satisfy one small part of the creative community, while harming everyone else doesn't make sense and would hurt Canada's future. Canada has enough of an issue with the lack of competition in the telecommunications space harming innovation online.
When developing the new Copyright bill, it is important to keep in mind that technology, and how people use media, and creative works in their everyday lives will change at an ever increasing pace. If we get a copyright bill that appeases a few industries that were not able to change with the times to protect their outdated business models, we will have stifled creativity and innovation for generations to come. It is important to create a flexible and well balanced and future facing copyright bill and not one that will lock us down in the past.