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Canada is NOT falling behind in intellectual property protection.
In spite of negative (and completely false) propaganda by media conglomerates, about Canadian copyright laws and copyright protection being "outdated", this great country of ours was ranked higher than most Western democracies in the 2009/2010 World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report. This report was compiled by the leading economists from all around the world.
We are ranked HIGHER in intellectual property protection than United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Belgium, and Italy, and most of those countries claim to have "better IP protection" than Canada, and some of those countries have passed draconian laws to allegedly "protect intellectual property rights".
For more details, check out the full report at
Historical precedent repeatedly shows that when there are fewer restrictions on the exposure, apprehension, distribution, and redistribution of public intellectual manifestations, competition and investment bloom. There are multifold examples of this in Lawrence Lessig's book "Free Culture" (http://www.free-culture.cc/).
When intellectual manifestations are understood in the context of our living society, the notion of ownership becomes entirely awkward and anti-social. To really allow the notion of ownership contained within the phrase "intellectual property" to function, we apply it as though speaking of discrete physical items. Consider that the moment an intellectual creation is manifested in our society it irrevocably enters the living loop I describe society as. So, followed to its ultimate ends, in order for ownership of "intellectual property" to be practically implemented, we eventually would require that creators be isolated from society. The only way that what is intellectual can really be owned is to isolate its creation entirely from influence contributed by our living society and from likewise influencing our society. Once it's loose, it propagates in idea if not physical forms. But such an implementation as isolation makes the notion of ownership useless and the concept of "intellectual property" both nonsensical and untenable.
None of that however, means that we cannot recognize, attribute, and celebrate those people who originate or otherwise manifest their ideas and creations in our society. Nor does it mean we cannot harness those manifestations and the energy behind creating them in interesting and lucrative ways. I think it's essential to distinguish between ownership and creation, which current copyright laws do not seem to do effectively.
Competition and investment with respect to our intellectual manifestations ought to be considered as a separate issue from most of the other questions in this consultation. We have to recognize that competition and investment are wholly dependant on a living society. They require new inputs to society from creators as well as desire from those in society that would apprehend the intellectual manifestations. In order to foster competition and investment, the focus of modern copyright should ensure the well-being of the living loop of society I described previously.