ARCHIVED — Tim Mitchell
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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 Tim Mitchell received on September 12, 2001 via e-mail
To the Intellectual Property Policy Directorate:
Re: Comments - Government of Canada Copyright Reform
I am a Canadian writer and computer game designer who has created a number of works protected by copyright. I oppose the expansion of copyright-holders' power put forward in the Consultation Paper on Digital Copyright Issues.
The consultation paper suggests that Canadian law could be changed to prohibit the circumvention of technologies used to protect copyrighted material. This change would be a terrible mistake, because technologies that prevent illegal copying also prevent legitimate copying.
Material in a protected DVD or e-book cannot be included in an academic essay. A song on a protected CD cannot be added to a mix CD for the owner's personal use. A protected work that has passed into the public domain cannot be distributed or edited. Copy-protected software cannot be backed up, making it impossible to quickly recover from damage.
If it becomes illegal to circumvent copy-protections, then legitimate forms of copying will effectively be outlawed.
It should also be explicitly legal to analyze, discuss and circumvent copy protection technologies for research reasons. Much freedom needs to be given in this area to avoid the situations now occurring in the United States, such as the silencing of Professor Edward Felten or the shameful arrest of Dmitry Sklyarov.
Publishers may argue that there is no way to prevent illegal copying without preventing legitimate types of copying. If so, copy protection must yield. Canada can find different ways to reward artists and publishers without giving them absolute control over all types of copying and distribution. The blank CD levy and the Canada Council are two existing steps in this direction. Giving up the freedom to use and enjoy the copyrighted works that we have purchased is too high a price to pay to protect a business model.
I am also concerned with the proposal that copyright owners could have the exclusive right to make their works available online to the public. I would like to ensure that this right does not interfere with the limited use of copyrighted material by fan sites or in satire, review, and other legitimate undertakings.
Finally, it would be an unfair burden on Canadians ISPs to make them responsible for copyrighted material transmitted or stored on their servers. ISPs should have no more responsibility than a phone company for the content of phone calls or a bus company for material stored in its lockers. Material that may infringe copyright should be removed by court order only, not by a third party's request, as now occurs in the United States under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Canada must not repeat the painful mistakes of the United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act. While the rights of a copyright owner are important, they must not override the legitimate enjoyment and use of art and software in Canada or burden Canadian ISPs.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on these proposed changes.
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