Lew Pitcher

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Lew Pitcher

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 Lew Pitcher received on September 15, 2001 via e-mail

Subject: Comments - Government of Canada Copyright Reform

Intellectual Property Policy Directorate,

Industry Canada

Gentlemen,

A little while ago, it came to my attention that the Government of Canada, through the Intellectual Property Policy Directorate of Industry Canada, was considering extensive revisions to the Copyright Act (C-42). While I am not an expert in Copyright Law, I have an interest in copyright, both as a member of the audience to copyrighted material, and as the creator of copyrighted materials. I submit this document to you as a response to your request for submissions regarding the Consultation Paper on Digital Copyright Issues.

I have read through the current Copyright Act (C-42), the "A Framework for Copyright Reform" document, and the "Consultation Paper on Digital Copyright Issues". I have also read of the effects that the implementation of similar recommendations has had in the United States of America, and I cannot support the implementation of these provisions in Canada. While it was my intent to present a larger, more detailed submission in response to these documents, time has not permitted me to complete this task. Instead, I give you this submission, short as it is.

I believe that the provisions discussed in the "Consultation Paper on Digital Copyright Issues" do not represent the best interests of either the creators of copyrighted materials or their audiences. The measures discussed, which are intended to enforce the terms of the WIPO Copyright Treaty, shift the net benefits of copyright to the publishing industries, and away from both the creator of the copyrighted materials and the public good. In recent months, we have seen by example (in the U.S. prosecution of alleged DMCA violations) how these provisions can be used inappropriately to suppress the legitimate free speech rights of citizens and foreigners alike. My greatest concerns centre around the use of and legal protections for "Digital Rights Management" and "Content Protection" facilities that are provisioned for as part of Canada's commitment to the WIPO Copyright Treaty. Nowhere in the Consultation Paper is there an expression of the specific rights that "Digital Rights Managment" or "Content Protection" facilities would enforce. The distributors of material protected in these manners could effectively deny or ignore the rights of both the artist and the audience without legal or physical recourse by either group. Additionally, physical recourse would (by the proposals presented) be made illegal; in this manner, the distributors may put themselves above the law, with the support of Canadian government, to the detriment of the Canadian people.

I believe that, in this dawning of the "digital age", information will become Canada's greatest asset, and I believe that it is foolish and irresponsible to voluntarily permit those who would benefit most from the scarcity of this asset to be in sole control of the availability of this asset. Authors and Artists do not create works in a vacuum, and although there is big business in publishing, there is greater benefit to humanity as a whole (and Canadians in particular) when the priveledges of big business are made secondary to the rights of the people. Here, we have a right to information that will be lost to the people in favour of the businesses that would profit most from it's scarcity.

In closing, I urge you to abandon the draconian measures promoted by the "Consultation Paper on Digital Copyright Issues" and reconsider the value in participating in the WIPO Copyright Treaty. The issues are too important to be decided solely on the commercial concerns of those who wish to monopolize the availability of these resources.

Yours,

Lew Pitcher

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