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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 Daryl Warkentin received on September 14, 2001 via e-mail
Subject: Copyright Reform
Sept 11, 2001
Comments - Government of Canada Copyright Reform
c/o Intellectual Property Policy Directorate
235 Queen Street
5th Floor West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5 Canada
Dear Sir or Madam,
Effects of Copyright Reform on Canadians
I have read through, “A Framework for Copyright Reform”, and as a citizen of Canada, have major concerns with regard to the social impact of the changes you propose. Copyright law is fundamental to Canadian society and culture, and as such, changes to it should be approached with caution.
As an engineer, I can see that enacting law to, “prevent the circumvention of copyright protection”, and “prohibit tampering with rights management information” would be a grave mistake. These two measures would essentially remove the ability to reverse engineer products. Without the ability to reverse engineer products, the Canadian public would be completely at the mercy of corporate interests. Ideals like “fair use” would be overridden by the illegality of ensuring their existence.
Another major concern is policing the reforms. A portion of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the US, outlines penalties for providing assistance in the circumvention of a cryptographic device. Already, without the DMCA being tested in the US courts, this has caused the IT industry to become a police force of its own. The mere threat of litigation has prompted Internet Service Providers to monitor their user's traffic, and to disable accounts upon finding activity that has the possibility of being found illegal. While cost effective, this circumvention of the legal system strips the rights of US citizens and allows corporations disproportionate control over their products. We can not allow the same situation in Canada.
My last and largest concern is the philosophy of the reforms. If these reforms were to be enacted the lives of Canadians would change dramatically. Due to the unprecedented control corporations would have over their products, simple rights like being able to read a book when, and how many times we like, would disappear. The dissemination of knowledge would require a monetary transaction, and would remove further the “haves” from the “have nots”. When dealing with copyrighted material we must consider what is best for Canadian culture rather than the benefits to the profit margins of corporations dealing in those materials.
It is important to me, as it is to most Canadians, that we find ways to ensure artists receive the just rewards of enriching our culture with their work. The measures proposed for copyright reform in Canada have come about due to the lobbying efforts of large international corporations, and are designed to tighten corporate control over the Canadian public. Without proof of the threat the internet, and technology pose to copyrighted material, these corporations have used government's fear of the unknown to convince them of the need for these reforms. Canadians need to show the world that profits come second to the health of our culture. We need to see that these reforms can and will be used for much more than ensuring the integrity of copyright. We need our government to have the strength to consider what is right for Canadians, not international corporations.
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