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I am grateful for this opportunity to add my comments to the dialogue on copyright. As a university educator and digital consumer I feel that copyright issues impact me directly every day. I have been following some of the issues that have arisen in the consultation, but in the interest of keeping it simple, I will only comment on one of them.
I feel that it is necessary that any new Canadian copyright law avoid including a blanket anti-circumvention clause. These kinds of protection have been tried in other countries and have been shown to be ineffective at combatting piracy but extremely effective at restricting the legal rights of legitimate users of their purchased content. This type of law puts the power to determine fair use of copyrighted material completely in the hands of the copyright holders, rather than respecting consumers' fair right to archive, tiime-shift, and format-shift their data. As well, it makes it extremely difficult for educators of all types to use even legally licensed material. (For an excellent example we need only to look at the MPAA's suggestion that in order to avoid circumventing digital locks, educators should videotape a DVD playing on a screen. http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/05/mpaa-teachers-should-video-record-tv-screens-not-rip-dvds.ars)
While I strongly support the need for content creators to be fairly recompensed for their work, this cannot come at the cost of all rights for legitimate users. In order to strike a balance the copyright law needs to focus on infringing behaviour that is *actually damaging* to the copyright holders, rather than simply decoding digital protections for legitimate use.
Mathew "Sandy" Martinuk
PhD Researcher, Physics Education
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of British Columbia