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COPYRIGHT REFORM PROCESS
SUBMISSIONS RECEIVED REGARDING THE CONSULTATION PAPERS
Documents received have been posted in the official language in which they were submitted. All are posted as received by the departments, however all address information has been removed.
Submission from the Board of Directors of the British Columbia Library Association (BCLA) received on September 17, 2001 12:59 PM via e-mailDear Sir/Madam,
I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of the British Columbia Library Association (BCLA) to comment on the recently released Consultation Paper on Digital Copyright Issues and the Consultation Paper on the Application of the Copyright Act's Compulsory Retransmission Licence to the Internet.
The British Columbia Library Association (BCLA) is a non-profit, independent, voluntary association and a charitable organization. Our membership includes over 700 librarians, library employees, library trustees and other interested individuals. The BCLA encourages library development throughout the province, coordinates various library services, and promotes the mutual interests of libraries, library personnel and library users through education, research and co-operative efforts.
Our association supports the efforts made by the Canadian Library Association to educate and inform all stakeholders on the impact that digital copyright issues have on the library community, through representation on the CLA's Copyright Committee. These issues were put forth in the Discussion Paper on Digital Copyright Issues, published in June of this year by the Copyright Forum, which the BCLA has endorsed. We join with others in the library community in expressing our disappointment that the Government has not identified the recommendations outlined in the Discussion Paper as requiring prompt attention.
Of particular and continued concern is the lack of balance between the rights of users and creators/owners as shown in the consultation papers, and language put forward regarding the criminalization of the circumvention of copy-protection measures, whether or not such circumvention is for purposes of unauthorized access to content. To quote the CLA response to the Framework document, "from the perspective of libraries and the users they serve, it would be unacceptable if the copyright reform process were to disrupt the balance by moving ahead on introducing new and enhanced levels of protection for copyright owners without addressing at the same time the impacts on user access. In order to ensure balance in the process, every proposal under consideration that would provide copyright owners with a new right or redress mechanism must consider at the same time the appropriateness of limitations and exceptions that may be necessary to ensure reasonable access". Additionally, the threat of sanctions has the potential to override the legitimate rights of users to access protected materials.
We join the Canadian library community in reaffirming our longstanding support for writers, creators and publishers. We do not wish to see, however, the legitimate needs of learners, libraries and educational institutions to be shunted to the background. Any changes to Canada's copyright legislation must include support for the fundamental right for Canadians to access information for research and private study. Copyright legislation must provide exemptions that permit use for research, private study and reproduction for preservation purposes.
The British Columbia Library Association calls on the Government to ensure that the concerns and recommendations as outlined in the Discussion Paper on Digital Copyright Issues are acted upon. Libraries must play a role in the reform of copyright legislation, and we look forward to the development of guidelines that respect both the owners of digital content and the needs of a participatory society.
Carol Elder, President
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