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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 Chris Palmer received on September 15, 2001 via e-mail
Subject: Consultation on Copyright
I would like to thank you for inviting me and all Canadians to consult with you on this topic of Copyright reform.
I have looked at many of the submissions that have been sent to you, and I agree that legislation similar to the DMCA is dangerous, poorly constructed, and not in the best interest of Canada.
When I think of copyright, two images come to mind:
The first is from the earliest days of motor cars, when, so as not to frighten the horses, cars were prohibited from going more than 5mph, and had to be preceded by a man waving a red flag.
Lawyers appear to be obsessed with the fact that computers work by copying, instantly, perfectly, infinitely, around the world in seconds. The very way in which computers work is hopelessly illegal to the copyright obsessed mind. I see the legal profession as boldly walking along waving the flag in front of the car, impeding all progress.
The literal interpretation of copyright leads to the "pay per view" scenario. Let me explore at least one consequence. Suppose that the wife of the late Mordecai Richler despised her husband's novel "Duddy Kravitz", and did not want it reprinted. In the current situation, there are thousands of copies in circulation, his novel may be harder to find in libraries and used bookstores, but it is not lost.
By contrast, in the "pay per view world" when Mrs. Richler ceases to grant copyright, Duddy Kravitz is gone, wiped forever from the Canadian culture, the master copy is gone from the server, the copies on home computers are no longer readable when the server refuses access to them. "Duddy Kravitz" exists only in scraps of quotations in critics reviews. Should you try to read the story, the police will chase you down and criminally prosecute you for the horrid crime of making a copy without permission. You cannot read anything without permission of the copyright holder.
Perhaps a clean copy will exist in the National Archives, but no one alive today will be allowed to read it.
That is not the way to preserve Canadian culture.
Please note that this copyright extremist view is not compatible with at least one of your principles:
"The framework should be technologically neutral, to the extent possible."
The other image is from the days of the old Soviet Union, when we laughed at the idea that photocopiers had to be licensed with a serial number on them... yet today laws are proposed to license, register, and encrypt every computer, program, hard drive, monitor, cd writer, floppy drive, worldwide ... in a draconian attempt to save Hollywood films from dangers that do not exist. We all know what such laws did to the Soviet Union.
My last comment is that copyright does not only apply to books, films, and similar literary expressions. Increasingly embedded computer systems are used instead of mechanical or electronic components.
For example, cars have computers running the ignition systems, abs braking, automated (versus automatic) transmissions, radios with computer aided tuning, and so on. You would laugh at a sticker on your transmission saying: "Servicing Only by dealer personnel - $500,000 fine and criminal charges for removal of this access plate" yet you contemplate making this the reality for computerized transmissions.
Please take care to ensure that software does not receive greater protection than the electronic or mechanical equivalents.
I hope that my comments are of some use in improving a new Canadian copyright law.
Chris Palmer, B.A., M.B.A., C.G.A.
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