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Submission from Aric Cyr received on July 29, 2001 9:44 PM via e-mail

Subject: Copyright vs. Fair use

To whom it may concern,

In a recent online news article it came to my attention that the Canadian government is attempting to modify copyright laws such that they will be similar to those upheld by the inherently unfair and unreasonable US DMCA.

Changing the copyright laws to enable the creators of works to maintain control of those works is perfectly legitimate and perhaps even noble. However, as stated in the "Government Rationale" section, the reasons that the Canadian government is changing the copyright laws is to appease a "number of copyright stakeholders". The majority of these stakeholders are undoubtedly large corporations pushing the government to protect their own interests. The individual people in our country should, without a doubt, be the ones whose interests are protect, not those of large corporations. Most large corporations are not Canadian based. Does our government prefer to uphold the rights of foreign multi-national corporations over those of it's own people. I should hope not.

In the "Technological Measures" section, the mention of effectively outlawing reverse-engineering of the technological measures seems to violate all fair-use provided by existing copyright laws.

For example, suppose I purchase a work of art (song, movie, etc.) but I do not have the software or hardware to play my legally purchased product. The proposal would totally outlaw my creating a device to play my purchased work, regardless of how trivial or inane that device is to create! That most certainly is NOT fair use.

As a more realistic example that demonstrates the dangers of such copyright laws please consider the following. I am a Canadian citizen, however I have a current job assignment in Japan. While I was in Canada, I accumulated a collection of DVD movies all legally purchased. However, DVDs are encrypted similar to how you propose to uphold the new digital copyright laws. Because of this encryption, which is "region" specific, I cannot in any legal way watch the contents of my many purchased DVDs in Japan. What purpose does this encryption serve other to ensure that the large corporations who manufacture DVD movies and players get more than their share of profit? If it was legal to reverse-engineer, for ones own fair-use purposes, such technologies, I would not have any problems viewing my legally purchased material. As it stands, I can only watch my Canadian purchased DVDs sit on a shelf unused.

The consulation paper correctly points out that circumvention devices and legitimate devices are basically indistiguishable. The point that must be made is that it is the WORK that is copyrighted not the device used to view or hear it. Preventing people to use a work which was fairly purchased is very wrong, and I hope our government doesn't follow the quite mistaken paths of other countries such as the US and Australlia.

I realize that Canada must be a contender in the new digital age, but I hope for our country's sake, it is not at the loss of the individual's freedom. There is no equal, in my opinion, to the country of Canada. I just hope that when I return it will be the same country that I have enjoyed all my life.

I look forward to any reply that you may have.

    Aric Cyr

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