Leendert van den Berg
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COPYRIGHT REFORM PROCESS
SUBMISSIONS RECEIVED REGARDING THE CONSULTATION PAPERS
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Submission from Leendert van den Berg received on September 9, 2001 via e-mail
Subject: Consultation Paper on Digital Copyright Issues
To Industry Canada, the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Intellectual Property Policy Directorate and other related agencies:
After reading the CPCDI (Consultation Paper on Digital Copyright Issues, http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSG/rp01099.html ) I feel that I must express my concern with the intellectual property provisions raised in this paper.
It appears that this paper outlines legal issues very similar to those dealt with by the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA itself already offers far too much power to publishers while reducing individual's rights, not to mention the fact that it is currently being challenged as unlawful under the US Constitution.
At this very moment the RIAA and other related industries have already abused some of the additional power they gained by the DMCA. For example a number of prominent US computer security researchers have been threatened to be sued under certain sections of the DMCA. This simply for their desire to publish a paper on the security flaws in watermarking schemes designed by members of the Secure Digital Music Alternative (SDMI). The threat of a lawsuit solely for the researchers' desire to improve future developments in this area have gravely chilled other scientists' freedom of expression, not only in the US but worldwide.
As a computer engineering student myself I have an interest in computer security and may consider a Canadian university for future graduate research in this area. However, the introduction of laws shaped after the DMCA cause me to fear legal prosecution simply for investigating digital security schemes (in particular those shemes that intend to protect copyrights).
In my opinion the CPDCI provisions only serve the copyright interests of (largely American) corporations, whose main goal is the generation of the largest profits possible rather than individual rights. These CPDCI provisions would amend the Canadian Copyright Act to ban, with few or no exceptions, software and other tools that allow copy prevention technologies to be bypassed. This would violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantee of freedom of speech, and similar guarantees in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, since such tools are necessary to exercise lawful uses, including fair use, reverse engineering, computer security research and many others.
I urge you to keep in mind the rights of individuals rather than the profit incentives of large corporations. I therefore pledge you to remove these controversial and anti-freedom provisions from the CPDCI language. Although the US government's overly large interest in corporate well-being rather than individual rights has been well reflected in the DMCA, the flaws present in this act should not be imported and forced upon Canadians.
Leendert van den Berg
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