John Boufford

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John Boufford

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 Boufford received on September 15, 2001 via e-mail

Subject: Comments on Copyright Reform

PDF Version

e-Privacy

Management Systems Inc.

Address,e-mail address, telephone and fax numbers removed

 

September 15, 2001

Government of Canada Copyright Reform
c/o Intellectual Property Policy Directorate
Industry Canada
235 Queen Street
5th Floor West
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0H5

 

Subject: Consultation on Copyright Reform

 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the options that are under consideration to reform the Copyright Act. As noted in the document titled "A Framework for Copyright Reform", there are compelling economic and cultural policy reasons to undertake reform at this time and we welcome this initiative.

Intellectual property rights are complex and we do not pretend to have a full understanding of the nuances of the some of the issues. Notwithstanding that, there are two issues where we can contribute to the discussion.

 

Digital Issues

Like most Canadians, we believe that there are commonly accepted "fair use practices" that should be preserved. It seems very peculiar that the public would be limited in their ability use legally-obtained copyrighted products in a variety of playback devices. For example, some of the initiatives proposed under the "Digital Issues" banner would seem to limit the consumer’s ability to use music and video media in a variety of playback devices, and also limit software developers from writing software that would allow new media to be played-back on personal computers. Had this proposal been implemented five years ago, we probably would not have DVD play-back capabilities on computers today.

Certainly copyright infringement is not a trivial issue. But the development of software to leverage the use of digital media is seldom as monolithic as an attempt to circumvent copyright protection. It appears that software that is developed with a view to providing some new service will fall prey to legislative provisions intended to "prevent the circumvention of technical measures aimed at limiting access to or reproduction of works".

 

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Specializing in Privacy and Information Technology

Web: www.e-Privacy.ca

 

Page 2

Subject: Consultation on Copyright Reform

September 15, 2001

 

Liability of Internet Access Providers

The "Framework" call for discussion on liability of Internet access providers (IAP) raises significant issues. One wonders about the practicality of such measures. We would not want to speak on behalf of their industry association regarding the practicality of this proposal. But one does wonder, for example, how an IAP would determine that web content infringes copyright when the IAP has no first-hand knowledge of whether the website owner has obtained permission or paid royalties to use the copyrighted material.

We certainly acknowledge that misuse of copyrighted material is a significant issue. We also acknowledge that promotion of racism and hatred is a blight upon the landscape. While racism and hatred are inconsistent with Canadian values, these issues appear unrelated to copyright and would be better addressed, in our view, under the Criminal Code.

From our perspective, there is an unidentified public policy issue.

If IAP's are legally responsible for content, they will be forced to give themselves (via contract) greater latitude to conduct surveillance on their customer’s web sites. This is a significant invasion of privacy when you consider that some sites and virtual communities contain sensitive personal information about educational, medical and psychological matters.

While it would be unusual to deal with policy issues of surveillance and privacy in a Bill aimed at copyright reform, Industry Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage have opened that door for discussion purposes, admittedly without taking a position. Perhaps this provision should be reversed. For example, one option could make it illegal for anyone not authorized by the site owner to access NON-PUBLIC areas of a web site for purposes of monitoring content, without a subpoena or search warrant. The Bill could also prohibit contractual arrangements that allow the IAP to conduct surveillance and nullify existing contractual provisions.

This provision would benefit the application service provider (businesses that host out-sourced computer applications on behalf of other businesses) by supporting the framework in which they operate. Under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, businesses are required to implement privacy protection and they cannot do so if a third party (ie., an application service provider) can arbitrarily conduct surveillance on content.

 

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Page 3

Subject: Consultation on Copyright Reform

September 15, 2001

 

I hope that this letter provides constructive input in the dialogue.

Sincerely,

 

J.G. (John) Boufford, I.S.P.

President

 

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