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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 Lorne Salter received on September 14, 2001 via e-mail
Subject: Consultation PaperTo John McCalllum MP, my member I voted for, Industry Canada, the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Intellectual Property Policy Directorate and other concerned agencies:
I write to express my grave concern regarding the extreme intellectual property provisions of the Consultation Paper on Digital Copyright Issues (CPCDI). These measures, based on the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), give far too much power to publishers, at the expense of indivdiuals' rights. The DMCA itself is already under legal challenge in the US, has gravely chilled scientists' and computer security researchers' freedom of expression around the world for fear of being prosecuted in the US, and resulted in the arrest of a Russian programmer. The CPDCI provisions, which serve no one but (largely American) corporate copyright interests, are just as overbroad as those of the DMCA. These 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 dealing, reverse engineering, computer security research and many others. I urge you to remove these controversial and anti-freedom provisions from the CPDCI language. The DMCA is already an international debacle. Its flaws should not be imported and forced on Canadians.
(The above is the accurate text of a suggested letter by the terrific folks at the Electronic Freedom Foundation - You should check out their web site including brilliant analyses by Stanford Law Profesor Lawrence Lessig. I strongly believe in all the above and my own comments below.)
We must not expand the very limited historical legitimate copyright law into a vice constraining for scholars and all citizens and an unprecedented stranglehold by publishing and media conglomerates. For example, the law seeks to limit one's right to read an electronic book such that one could be charged again to read it twice, and to bill the taxpayers for enforcing such a radical extension of the traditional relationship of publisher and public. Hollywood lawyers are using legitimate concerns about copyright in the electronic age to change all the historical copyright rules in favour of their clients, the movie, record and entertainment industry against the public good, and that is why there has been so much lobbying and money around this isue. They are salivating at the prospect, hoping that we will swallow these radical proposals, I believe. Please reject the clauses, and EXTEND the response deadline by 6 months to allow public digestion of these complex issues.
Thank you for your generous consideration.
Lorne Salter MA (Criminology, University of Toronto)
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