Subject: Canadian Copyright Bill AKA CDMCA
Dear Minister Prentice
It is believed that on Tuesday, the 11th of December 2007 you are expected to introduce new copyright legislation without public consultation. I would like to inform you of my sadness that you are letting a great opportunity to lead the Canadian people fall by the wayside. In my work as a scientific researcher I am intimately associated with the use and creation of copyrighted works and patented ideas so I consider myself to be both knowledgeable in the area and directly affected on a daily basis by any new law. The obfuscated process used to create our new copyright law is of great concern to me. It is also a disservice to your stature as a senior politician, to the people of the Calgary riding whom you represent, to Canadians at large, and to Canadian industry – cultural, technical, or otherwise. The anticipated contents of the bill lead me to believe that the benefits of international copyright cartels were considered to the exclusion of many Canadian copyright content generators and Canadian copyright users.
If, as the public suspects, you are intending to introduce, among other things, a Canadian version of the DMCA, you would do well to consider the fate of the original American DMCA: Bruce Lehman, it’s architect, has stated publicly that the results of that have not been those that the crafters of the legislation wished. In addition, 2 of the 4 major international music labels are beginning to abandon the DRM technologies that the DMCA was created to protect.
Does Canada really want to follow in failed footsteps or do we want to follow the lead as described in recent Canadian Supreme Court rulings that speaks to the necessity of balance in any copyright policy? Does Canada really want to create a law designed to aid local talent where this talent has explicitly and vociferously rejected such aid?
Prime Minister Harper in his recent throne speech included copyright reform as being one of the priorities of the Canadian government in the coming year but no public consultation has been carried out on digital technology – the area most likely to be addressed by new legislation – for more than 5 years.
Ordinary Canadians such as myself have many issues that we would like addressed in such legislation. I wonder if fair-use, time-shifting, device-shifting, personal and public archiving, free and open educational use, unhindered academic research, notice-and-notice safe harbour provisions, parody, satire, criticism and library access will be addressed with the care, fairness, and balance that they deserve.
You stated on the 6th of December that you would hold consultation and review of the law after it has passed. How can this be logical or sensible? Given the speed with which mature consideration of such complex issues is undertaken we cannot expect any revisions or changes to the law for many years. Canada and Canadians deserve forethought from their government – this new law puts that at risk.
I would therefore hope that you would respond to the recent outcry over this bill by referring it to a committee where its content and merits will be debated in an open and transparent process so as to benefit all Canadians.
Genome Quebec and Montreal Heart Institute Pharmacogenomics Centre
CC: The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Josee Verner, James Rajotte, Thierry St-Cyr