Pamela R. Patterson

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Pamela R. Patterson



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 Pamela R. Patterson received on September 10, 2001 via e-mail

Subject: Comments on Copyright Reform Process

To Industry Canada, the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Intellectual Property Policy Directorate and other concerned agencies:

I am concerned that the proposed Copyright Reform Process is overbroad and may serve corporate interests more than the interests of the Canadian people.

Some specific points follow:

1) Non-original databases

There is no doubt that there is considerable work that must go into any compilation of non-original works, but that is not enough reason to allow it to be copyrighted

Could the first developer of such a database forbid the use of a collection of *public domain* material for these purposes by others? Is "The Collected Works of William Shakespeare" copyrightable by those who make the collection and can they then prevent any other publisher from printing a similar book?

2) Term of protection

Increasing the term of protection serves neither the interest of the creator of the work nor the interest of the Canadian public. The only benefactors of such a scheme are the grandchildren of the creator of the work or (more likely) the business that owns the copyright. While I am sure that these grandchildren would enjoy receiving the income from works that they did not produce and the businesses would also enjoy the steady income resulting from the wise business decisions of long-dead executives, I do not see why the Canadian public is obliged to provide this to them.

3) Prevent the circumvention of copyright protection

This is perhaps the most alarming aspect of the proposed changes. I have closely followed the developments in the USA since the DMCA was enacted, and I have not seen the benefit of this legislation.

In the United States right now, there are compact disks being released which have been deliberately altered so that digital copies are seriously degraded (the CDs are not labeled with this "feature"). The purpose of this is to prevent illegal copying and trading of music, of course, but another effect is that the purchasers of these CDs cannot make legal copies (e.g. to play on their home computers or MP3 players). Anyone who finds a way to get a good digital copy of one of these is liable for prosecution under the DMCA. The anti-circumvention law effectively prevents the consumer from using the

product in perfectly legal ways. The argument of the music industry seems to be that they are not obliged to provide the means for the consumer to actually use the product in all the legal ways that the consumer may wish.

Another high-profile example of where anti-circumvention laws can be misused is the Linux DVD situation. I am typing these comments on a Linux machine which has a DVD player. There is no licensed DVD playing software for Linux (and there probably never will be, after the battles that have raged). To play my legally rented DVD on my legally purchased DVD player, I would have to circumvent the MPAA's feeble yet legally binding (in the US anyway) copy protection scheme. The MPAA's position is essentially "Buy one of our licensed DVD players if you want to watch a DVD". Perhaps the next step is to require me to buy MPAA licensed popcorn.

It may be that, to the lawmakers, people who want to listen to their music on their MP3 players or watch movies on their Linux computers are considered collateral damage in the war against copyright infringement. This would be very disappointing in a country that prides itself on guarding the rights of everyone.

Even more importantly, as a professional working in the area of Computer Security, I would be concerned that my effectiveness would be seriously hampered. Would I be legally prohibited from using software tools that the bad guys will be using against my clients? Make no mistake; laws against creating, owning and using so-called "hacking tools" and "copyright infringement tools" would not prevent criminals from using them, especially not criminals in other countries where our laws do not apply. These laws would, however, prevent legitimate research and testing, leaving Canadian computer security at a strong disadvantage.

Please consider these serious implications of this proposed legislation. The main argument put forward in favour of this Act (that technological copyright protection can never be made perfect, so there must be the force of law behind it) does not require the preemptive stripping away of the rights of Canadians.

Pamela R. Patterson, B.Eng.

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