News & Notes on Bill C-61 (AKA Canadian DMCA)

London Ontario’s David Canton has written a column in today’s London Free Press on Bill C-61. As Michael Geist was quick to point out, David minces no words in describing his opinion of the proposed legislation:

“…the bill is flawed and should not be passed in its current state…”

“Canada had an opportunity to set an example for what 21st-century copyright should be but, instead, has subscribed to the traditional views of certain entertainment industry proponents.”

You can read the full column here.

Michael Geist has provided links and analysis to one of the versions of the official Liberal response to constituent concerns, Jame’s Bow’s open letter to Industry Minister Prentice, and a few other notable presentations and opinions on the matter.

It’s interesting to see the big issues coming forward, most eloquently put by Mr. Bow:

“Our justice system demands that we be considered innocent until proven guilty. It is shameful to have companies assume that because we want the ability to format shift or time shift or cut and paste, that we will misuse it.”

While he cites several examples (some of which are actually incorrect) of format shifting that would become illegal under this bill, it’s this statement that rings the most true and is the absolute log-line of the problems with this bill:

“Furthermore, the lack of protections offered by this bill to quote from, parody or criticize copyrighted material disturb me… The new legislation makes it much more difficult to quote supporting material in academic essays… This is a significant imposition on academic freedom in this country, and it could potentially restrict our freedom of speech.

As you run for a party which has argued in favour of personal property rights, I’m surprised that you no longer see fit to protect the right of Canadians to watch what they want, when they want, and how they want after they have legally purchased their song, video or software.”

Again, the full letter can be found here:

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