ARCHIVED — Alan Hodgson
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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 Alan Hodgson received on September 15, 2001 via e-mail
Subject: Canadian copyright reform
Comments - Government of Canada Copyright Reform
c/o Intellectual Property Policy Directorate
235 Queen Street
5th Floor West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5 Canada
To Industry Canada, the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Intellectual Property Policy Directorate and other concerned agencies:
I write to express my concern with the extreme intellectual property provisions of the Consultation Paper on Digital Copyright Issues (CPCDI).
The measures proposed within these provisions, based on the US Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), give far too much power to publishers, at the expense of individual right. The DMCA is under legal challenge in the US for violating the 1st Amendment. Any similar law in Canada would undoubtedly violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights by prohibiting free speech for the lawful purposes of fair use, reverse engineering and computer security research (among others).
The proposed measures benefit no one except large (mostly American) content producers, at the expense of our freedoms. Copyright protection is itself a special restriction of our rights designed to maintain an incentive for publishers to produce original content. That restriction of our rights is supposed to be balanced by allowing individuals who purchase such works to do many things with those works (fair use), and by having those works pass into the public domain after a specified period of time for the use of all. By allowing companies to protect copyrighted works with copy-protection measures that are then given the force of law by preventing individuals from bypassing them to permit our normal rights, all benefits to the public are lost.
I would only be in favour of legislation of this nature if it was accompanied by strong measures to guarantee that any such copyrighted works were made available to all libraries at reasonable cost and that the copyrighted works were guaranteed to be put in the public domain with no copy protection mechanisms when their limited term copyright protections expire. This would have to be done through an escrow agency that the copyright holders should pay the costs for.
In light of the serious flaws in the current approach, I urge you to remove these controversial and anti-freedom provisions from the CPDCI language. The DMCA is already an international debacle, due to the arrest of a Russian programmer in the US for research work he published outside that country, and the accompanying chill that act has cast upon the computer security research field. Its flaws should not be imported and forced on Canadians.
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