Ever since I can remember I've heard the comment that there is "no difference" between Canadians and Americans. I respectfully beg to differ as there is a difference on so many levels! We have unique Canadian culture consisting of Canadianisms, a Canadian perspective on world events, Canadian cuisine as well as products and foods only available in Canada. This blog is dedicated to celebrating all things Canadian from "my perspective" as a Canadian. Please enjoy your visit and be sure to visit often.

Garden Gnome
Americans should never underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the mere presence of the United States has produced. We're different people from you and we're different people because of you. Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is effected by every twitch and grunt. It should not therefore be expected that this kind of nation, this Canada, should project itself as a mirror image of the United States.
- Pierre Trudeau

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Anti-Consumer Copyright Bill

According to University of Ottawa expert Michael Geist and confirmed by Andrew MacDougall, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister's Officea new reform legislation will be introduced in the House of Commons likely in June that may be the most anti-consumer copyright bill in Canadian history.  The bill would mirror the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) preventing the breaking of digital locks put on electronic devices and content as well as eliminating the notion of fair dealing.  This bill will detrimentally affect all consumers including institutions such as schools and the media have copyright exemptions.

Two previous attempts to update Canada's copyright legislation were met with fierce opposition from the public.  The first attempt in late 2007 was met with a Facebook protest group and demonstrations at the Calgary office of Jim Prentice, former industry minister after Geist leaked details of a plan to introduce similar American-style laws.  Bill C-61 was introduced to Parliament in June 2008 in a second attempt to update Canada's copyright legislation.  This bill contained several anti-consumer measures including a clause that made it illegal to break digital locks on devices and content.  The bill died when Prime Minister Harper prorogued Parliament in December 2008.

It will be interesting to see the outcome of the new attempt to update Canada's copyright legislation.  There are two sides to the issue with the first goal to protect the rights of artists and authors so they are paid fairly for their content.  Obviously every time a free copy of their content is made available they are not getting paid for it.  Their rights supercede the right of consumers to use their content under fair usage.  Current copyright allows fair usage for personal use. If the new bill is worded the same as Bill C-61 consumers will still be able to record a movie for personal use but will only be able to keep the recording for a limited amount of time.  However, the new laws are trying to enact legislation that will allow digital locks designed to prevent you from making even personal use copies.  Under the new legislation the consumer will no longer be able to buy a CD, make a copy for personal use and an MP3 then transfer it to an MP3 player or to their computer without paying for each copy.  Now the real problem becomes if a new copyright bill passes how is it going to be enforced?  A digital lock will only be effective until a hack is found for it.  Another thing to consider too is just because a bill is introduced doesn't mean it will be approved.  As I said it will be interesting to see the outcome if and when the bill is introduced. 


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