R.G. (Randy) Goebel
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Submission from R.G. (Randy) Goebel received on September 10, 2001 via e-mail
Subject: Consultation Paper on Digital Copyright Issues (CPCDI)
Dear Intellectual Property Policy Directorate
No group better understands the potential danger of enacting legislation of the type you are considering, than those long-steeped in the discipline of computer science.
Those of us who have been immersed in this rapidly changing field since its existence, are painfully aware of the awkward and serious consequences of premature legislation in any area that is highly technical, and dynamically evolving.
For example, I have been involved with the development of the recent "Internet Sales Contract Regulation" under the Fair Trading Act, which will come into effect on October 15 of this year. My own belief is that the act has impact all the way back into the software architecture design stream, with potentially serious economic affects on modern e-business. In the development of this act, it is clearly the sincere intent of the government to protect consumers...but it clearly fails to address all the appropriate areas. For example, how can one determine whether an online business is an "Alberta business?" There is no method for doing so, and no legislation directed there at.
While legislation directed at protecting consumers does provide at least guidelines for online retailers that seek to play by the rules, your anticipated legislation regarding copyright protection is even more dangerous. The area of security and authentication is in its infancy, with a very unpredictable future, yet you are seeking to lay a framework which can't begin to anticipate that future. Worse yet, those with the strongest self-interest in expediting such legislation are those groups, like with the American Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), are those whose are simply in a conflict of interest. Your anticipation of the need to protect should be focused on your citizens, not corporate lobby groups.
Many organizations, including the Computing Research Associates who represent PhD granting computer science departments in North America, have supported the position of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, under the banner of free expression. The point I add is that it is difficult for the very best of the technology prognosticators to anticipate the future changes of this technology, so that such drastic legislation is extremely premature.
I hope you have the good sense to avoid the growing reaction to the American DMCA, and for once, provide Canada with some leadership of the kind that does not merely react to the over-legislated American culture.
Do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of help.
R.G. (Randy) Goebel
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