ARCHIVED — John Janmaat
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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 John Janmaat received on September 11, 2001 via e-mail
Subject: Brief submissionSubmission concerning digital copyright in Canada
The purpose of copyright protection, a for patent protection, is to provide those who create with a justifiable opportunity to gain from their creative efforts. Without such protection, the incentive to create and innovate is reduced. The need for such protection has been recognized for a long time. In the modern economy, with its reliance on innovation to fuel economic growth and gains in the standard of living, incentives to innovate must be strong.
However, an excessive emphasis on rewarding the innovator can reduce innovation. Why would anyone invent a better mousetrap when the one they are selling is the only game in town. Thus, when considering protection for innovators, we also need to ensure that competition is not reduced to such an extent that the overall public interest is not served. Further, knowledge based innovations can have tremendous positive spillovers, which strict copyright protection can interfere with.
Finally, when it comes to digital media, we need to consider whether copyright protection interferes with communication, or simply provides just compensation to the innovator? Is digital data encoded in a particular pattern best thought of as a transmission signal, like a particular frequency in the radio or television portion of the electromagnetic spectrum? We licence the right to transmit on certain frequencies, but we do not provide exclusive protection to those who build the transmitters and receivers. If this is the appropriate analogy, then providing protection for particular digital media encoding technologies is tantamount to requiring all television manufacturers to buy the right to receive a television signal from RCA, even if they have developed this ability independently.
We do need mechanisms to reward those who are creative. However, we need to be cautious when protecting the innovator may interfere with communication. I encourage you avoid rushing to adopt a policy that is analogous to the American effort before the social benefits and costs have been evaluated.
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