ARCHIVED — John Sled
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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 G. Sled received on September 15, 2001 via e-mail
Subject: Comments on proposed changes to copyright law
John G. Sled
To Industry Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage:
I am writing to express deep concern at the prospect that Canada may adopt new copyright legislation similar to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the USA. As a scientist working in medical research and making extensive use of information technology, I anticipate that such measures will have a direct impact on my work in terms of lost time and opportunity. Specifically, I am concerned that such legislation will transform the nature of copyright from a set of principles limiting the use of copyright material to a system where one's rights are defined by the uses that the software administering them allows. Given that software is inherently unreliable, generally tied to specific hardware with a limited lifespan, and dependent on operating systems with even shorter life cycles, trusting the latter to ensure the former is naive.
Even without new legislation, many materials are distributed in encrypted or encoded forms that prevent one from using the material in a variety of legitimate ways. When such systems fail to decode the material or the procedure to do so is lost due to software and hardware obsolescence, the material is lost. If decoding such material, no matter how trivial, becomes criminal, then I anticipate that corporations with significant financial interests will make such encoded formats the standard for dissemination of material and in the process severely restrict the place, time and form in which one can use such material. While one could argue that market forces should limit the spread of egregious software enforced license agreements, in practice information technology is prone to network effects which encourage the adoption of uniform standards irrespective of their technical merits. I implore you not to encourage this phenomenon by supporting it with restrictive legislation.
John Sled, Ph.D.
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